The Field Act is a good piece of legislation that requires California school buildings to meet high inspection standards. Too bad it isn't enforced.
When it comes to earthquakes in California, the question is not if but when the state will be hit by another big one. But just how prepared the state's schools? I wondered that after last month's 9.0 temblor in Japan, and wrote about statewide efforts through The Great California ShakeOut to teach kids what to do during a quake. I even wrote that California's schools are generally structurally sound thanks to "the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake, which resulted in the Field Act being passed, requiring 'schools to be built to higher inspection standards and construction standards.'"
Except, thanks to a major series launched this morning by California Watch, we now know that's not true. Officials in the Division of the State Architect, the chief regulator of construction standards for public schools actually haven't enforced the Field Act. Thousands of schools across the state have serious seismic issues—structural flaws and safety hazards that were reported during construction—and they could put student's lives in danger during a quake.