Architects Want Congress To Improve America's Schools

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - The American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Washington Tuesday challenged members of both houses of Congress to pass legislation that will fund school construction and modernization.

Hoping to catch the attention of key committee legislators in both houses of Congress, the group released a pictorial booklet entitled, "Good Enough for Congress? A Pictorial Representation of Why Americans Deserve Better School Buildings."

AIA President Michael Stanton said "the photos in the booklet and the sometimes startling information that accompanies them, will no doubt personalize the issue for these legislators and really drive home the need to do something to save our nation's schools. Our intention is not to blindside or embarrass anyone, but simply to demonstrate in a creative and provocative way why this is such an important issue."

Stanton added the AIA believes that America must upgrade and modernize its schools in order to create learning environments that are conducive to stimulating intellectual excellence. He cited a General Accounting Office (GAO) report showing that one-third of America's public schools, which house more than 14 million children, are need of extensive repair or replacement.

Two bills have been introduced in the House and one in the Senate calling for school modernization. In the House, the "America's Better Classrooms Act of 1999" was introduced by Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT). Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has introduced the "Public School Modernization Act of 1999."

In the Senate, Senator Charles Robb (D-VA) has introduced the "Public School Modernization and Overcrowding Relief Act of 1999." The AIA believes all three bills would boost the incentive for school construction by providing tax credits, as well as generating an estimated $25 billion in school construction activity.