Contact: National – Claire Barnett, 202-432-7555 (m)
Ohio – Ginny Frazier, 513-541-4607
NEW REPORT: U.S. CHILDREN AT ELEVATED RISK OF HEALTH AND LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
THE ALLIANCE FOR LEADERSHIP AND INTERCONNECTION
URGES HEALTHY SCHOOLS FOR ALL
(Cincinnati, Ohio) - Leaders of the national Coalition for Healthier Schools convened today in Washington to present a new national, state-by-state report - Towards Healthy Schools 2015 - to the Obama Administration and Congress. This report outlines not only the need for more steps to reduce chemical exposures to children in schools, but also the urgency with which action must be taken to protect our children
In Ohio, more than 80 percent of its 3,852 public schools were once reported as having unsatisfactory environmental factors that could impact children. The state’s laws, however, require some green schooling practices such as grants for construction and a high performance green school design.
[Alliance for Leadership & Interconnection Executive Director Ginny Frazier said]
The Alliance for Leadership and Interconnection has worked diligently to address air quality in high risk schools. In 2008 Cincinnati Public Schools adopted a No Idling policy for all schools as a result of ALI’s efforts in the community.
Also co-released to Congress this week was a letter signed by more than… organizations calling for Congress to fund agency efforts, expand voluntary federal-state partnership grants, and fix school facilities.
Added Charlotte Collins, VP, Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, “Unhealthy school conditions put children in harm’s way, force parents to take time off from work, and cost the nation untold millions in health care costs. This is a justice and equity problem that must be fixed.”
Said Claire Barnett, Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network, whose office developed the new report, “Poor conditions are barriers to learning: noise, molds, toxic chemicals, and indoor air pollution will undermine the best intentions and aspirations of even the best parents. It is an unjust burden on vulnerable children and families when they must endure poor conditions without hope of recourse.”
The University of Cincinnati’s Environmental Health Department also contributed to the eco-initiatives in local public schools. A grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has allowed for vital research on the impact of traffic exhaust on children’s health as well as prevention training programs for school staff. ALI continues to engage with CPS school staff to reduce exposures to children but environmentally sustainable practices require the engagement of students and parents as well.
Towards Healthy Schools 2015 cites multiple studies documenting the benefits of healthy indoor learning environments on attendance and achievement, then presents state-level data and policy summaries It estimates “all school children should be considered at elevated risk of health and learning difficulties due solely to the unexamined and or unaddressed … risks in their schools and the lack of public health services for children at risk or with suspected exposures.” Previous reports had estimated 60% were at risk. See the report at www.healthyschools.org/
There are more public schools buildings in the U.S., more children enrolled, more children with health and learning problems, but fewer children receiving special education than there were in 2006. But eleven states have adopted policies promoting the use of green cleaning products that can help reduce asthma. Twenty four states promote high performance and/or green school design standards. Yet, in this fiscal climate some states have significantly decreased or even suspended funds for school construction, and schools have trimmed nursing and custodial staff.
See the letter to congress at bit.ly/VxzbEm
About the Alliance For Leadership and Interconnection (ALI)
The Alliance for Leadership and Interconnection brings individuals, organizations, civic leaders and businesses together to work in collaboration to design green, sustainable schools, ALI helped Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) to become the greenest school district in Ohio and in partnership with its Green and Healthy Schools Network, works with many partners on the following green initiatives: