Monday, June 27, 2011

Military Base Schools: Deteriorated and Unsafe

Newsweek reports that the children of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq have been attending schools in such deteriorated conditions, they do not seem fit for use.

The Pentagon acknowledges it has a significant problem, as nearly $4 billion in needed renovations and new construction at its schools have piled up during a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military officials’ own reports to Congress in 2008 and 2009 show as many as three quarters of base schools the Pentagon operates are either beyond repair or would require extensive renovation to meet minimum standards for safety, quality, accessibility, and design.

The Defense Department’s education agency concedes it “cannot keep pace with the types of renovations and maintenance needed when a school building goes beyond its useful life and the age of the building becomes a barrier to using these dollars wisely.”

About half the military schools the agency operates are at least 45 years old. Nonetheless, the DOD education office insists “none of our schools is unsafe, and no school is a hazard to anyone.”

None unsafe? I wonder what termite infested and leaking buildings are for safe environments for working and studying.
"At Fort Riley in Kansas, students drink water tainted brown from corroding pipes, while at Fort Stewart in Georgia, mold that grew on walls and sprouted from floors was so serious at one school that the library had to be shuttered for emergency cleanup."

In spite of the The 1978 Defense Dependents’ Education Act that requires the military to provide “academic services of a high quality” to the children of soldiers on active duty, these problems go unaddressed. According the this Newsweek report, a 1988 Defense Department directive went further, broadly guaranteeing military families “a quality of life that reflects the high standards and pride of the nation they defend”—including education.

$10 billion a month is the cost of the war and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Billions more have been allocated for reforming the so-called education crisis through the development of national standards and a new generation of assessments. The war has gone on for ten years now and the obligation to military families is ignored for the last decade. Where's the accountability?

Soldiers and their families are sacrificing, while their children are going to schools that are falling apart. How can we talk about first class education in a first world nation with decaying infrastructure? Shouldn't we put the buildings in order before we plunk billions in a new generation of national tests? Who will speak up for these children?


1 comment:

  1. If this is the case then these military schools ought to obtain funding in order to rebuild or reconstruct the supposedly unsafe areas within their vicinity.