Friday, March 22, 2013

Infrastructure Report Card: Schools: "D"

(WPA workers building a school on the eastern shore of Maryland in July of 1936. Image courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.)

The 2013 Infrastructure Report Card, by the American Society of Civil Engineers, gives American schools a "D", noting: "Public school enrollment is projected to gradually increase through 2019, yet state and local school construction funding continues to decline. National spending on school construction has diminished to approximately $10 billion in 2012, about half the level spent prior to the recession, while the condition of school facilities continues to be a significant concern for communities."

During the New Deal, the WPA employed the jobless to (among other things) work on schools. The WPA built about 6,000 new schools. They repaired and improved thousands more.

27 million Americans would like a full time job, but can't find one. Nearly 5 million Americans are considered "long-term unemployed" by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The current labor force participation rate in America is historically low. There is no WPA today. Few of our political "leaders" even discuss it.

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