Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: School infrastructure makes a difference

Letter by Jim R. Dugan, Tacoma on Feb. 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm | No Comments »
February 8, 2013 1:13 pm

When it rains, the teacher in Stewart Middle School’s computer lab sets a garbage can between two desktop computers to catch the rain drops coming through the ceiling. Stewart opened in 1924.

At Wilson High School, the antiquated heating system has students freezing on one side of the school and sweating on the other.

It’s not only common sense that tells us if a kid is too cold or too hot or distracted by water dripping from the ceiling, then he or she is probably not focusing as much as possible on learning. Multiple research studies prove it.

In a 2012 University of California study, “by tracking thousands of students who moved…to new facilities, we discovered robust achievement gains…These results did not differ by ethnicity, reduced-price meal eligibility, special education or English proficiency level status.”

The U.S. Department of Education Excellence & Equity Commission found “compelling evidence of how poor quality school facilities are implicated in lower student achievement.”

In a set of 20 studies analyzed by 21st Century School Fund, all but one study showed poor school infrastructure “is significantly related to lower attendance rates and drop-out rates, even controlling for demographic factors.”

If you believe, like I do, that every child in Tacoma – no matter their ethnic background or their family’s economic condition – deserves a safe, secure, healthy learning environment, then vote yes on Proposition 1. Our kids need your help.

(Dugan is a former Tacoma School Board member.)

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