March 01, 2010

The need is severe and immediate...

Bad air inside and outside schools escalate health care costs, increase absenteeism, and reduce test scores.  The new report from the National Healthy Schools Network, “Sick Schools 2009 ‐ America’s Continuing Environmental Health Crisis for Children” provides state by state assessments of the problems and opportunities for advocates.  Read more >>

Doreen Croser, Executive Director of American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a leader in advocating quality of life and rights for people with disabilities, said, “Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities need protection in America’s schools. Special education students are often more vulnerable to lead, pesticides, hazardous cleaning supplies and contaminated indoor air found in too many schools. An unhealthy school environment makes learning more challenging and staying healthy harder.”

Vernice Miller‐Travis, Vice‐Chair, Maryland State Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities said, “The fact that the poorest, highest risk children have the schools in the worst condition has been a civil rights issue going back to Brown v. Education of Topeka in 1954. Today, we know even more: that the impacts from toxic school siting to lead in drinking water to mold infestations and to chemical spills are damaging millions of children every year, taking away their health and their chance for a productive future.”

Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP said "Unhealthy conditions in our schools lead to failing grades and failing health." Benjamin is executive director of the American Public Health Association. He added, "Environmental concerns such as asbestos, mold, poor air quality and other hazards affect children's ability to learn and their health, and schools in low‐income communities are often disproportionately affected. We must close this gap and ensure that all of our kids are given an opportunity to learn, grow and play in safe, healthy schools."

Bill Orr, Executive Director, Collaborative for High Performance Schools said, "The time has come to stop mortgaging our children's health in the name of the status quo. A truly high performance school does not just protect the environment, but makes the health and well‐being of schoolchildren and staff the top priority. EPA has shown the scientific evidence and importance of investing in healthy schools, and now Congress must take heed of its counsel."

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