materials in underground storage tanks, and radon; or to meet other requirements. Based upon a GAO study of a national sample of schools, although two-thirds of the schools reported that all buildings were in at least overall adequate condition, one-third reported that the schools needed extensive repair or replacement of one or more buildings. Fourteen million students attend classes in these buildings that have leaky roofs, unsanitary bathrooms, and inadequate plumbing that make them unsafe and harmful to children's health (GAO, 1995).
The measure of the number of students in poverty in a school is the number of students who receive free and/or reduced-price lunches. In those schools that have 70 percent or more of students receiving free or reduced-cost lunches, the proportion of schools reporting unsatisfactory environmental factors greatly exceeds those schools with less than 20 percent of students receiving such lunches. In the highest-poverty schools, 19.1 percent report unsatisfactory lighting compared to 14.3 percent of schools with lower numbers of students in poverty; 22.6 percent report inadequate indoor air quality compared to 15.8 percent of low-poverty schools; 32.8 percent report unsatisfactory acoustics compared to 24.1 percent of low-poverty schools; and 30 percent report unsatisfactory physical security compared to 19.4 percent of low-poverty schools (GAO, 1995).
It seems especially ironic that the one institution within the community that requires attendance of all students, rather than serving as a safe haven, may be a dangerous and unhealthy setting for many of our children who are most at risk. The deplorable physical state of some of these schools sends a message to students about their own self-worth and about the importance of their education, further exacerbating the downward spiral of educational and health outcomes.
Involvement of the family is critical to a student's achievement. When schools involve families in meaningful ways to support learning, students tend to succeed not just in school but throughout life. Studies have found that the most accurate predictor of a child's success in school is the degree to which the family creates a home environment that encourages learning, has high expectations for the child's achievement, and becomes involved with the child's education. Students with supportive families are more likely to receive higher grades and test scores, have better attendance, complete more homework, have fewer placements in special education, attain higher graduation rates, and enroll more often in post-secondary education (Henderson and Berla, 1994).
Social and economic changes have reduced the support and nurtur-