‘On Shaky Ground’ Shows Oversight Faults in California School Buildings

BY Lauren Knapp  April 11, 2011 at 4:15 PM EDT

A new report by California Watch found that hundreds of California’s public schools do not meet the legal construction codes for earthquake safety.

interactive-shaky.jpgIn the On Shaky Ground multimedia series, investigative reporter Corey Johnson and the California Watch team lay out systematic failures in the construction and inspection of public schools. The three-part series shows that lax oversight of school construction, poor judgment in hiring building inspectors and inability for schools to access renovation funds have all contributed to the tens of thousands of public schools that fail to comply with the Field Act, which laid out building safety codes after 70 schools collapsed in a 1933 earthquake.

An interactive map breaks down school building safety by county and city — displaying proximity to fault lines and landslide zones.

View a timeline of modern enforcement of the Field Act.

Download myFault, an iPhone app that helps users identify potential earthquake dangers.

On Tuesday, California Watch will be hosting a live chat on Twitter with the #quakeready hashtag.

Learn more about how Johnson turned a quick assignment into a 19-month investigation, gaining access to the state’s architecture office and obtaining previously unavailable documents.

You can boost your earthquake vocabulary with a glossary of seismic terms.

Tune in to the PBS NewsHour Monday night for a special broadcast from the On Shaky Ground series.

California Watch is a investigative journalism project by the Center for Investigative Reporting.