Why Johnny Can't Walk to School

This report examines public policy effects on historic neighborhood school expansion, renovation, and replacement needs. It addresses four basic questions:

  1. Are public policies inadvertently sabotaging the very type of community-centered school that many parents and educators are calling for today?
  2. Do some policies and practices promote mega-school sprawl at the expense of older neighborhoods?
  3. Why can't kids walk to school anymore?
  4. How have some school districts overcome policy and other barriers to the retention and modernization of old historic schools?

Included are examples of how some communities are addressing these troublesome policies, including several school renovation successes. Concluding sections provide recommendations for policy reforms to buttress neighborhood conservation and smart growth efforts that can help to retain and improve good schools that have served established neighborhoods for generations.

Authoring Organization: 
National Trust for Historic Preservation

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