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Fifty Groups Tell Congress: Budget for Justice and Equity for School Children
Letter today to all members of congress calls for justice and equity to address children's needs for healthy places to live, learn, and play; new impact aid for schools in the path of severe climate events, such as Super Storm Sandy.
Signers represent parents, school leaders, environment and health groups, and include the National Environmental Health Association, the NEA Healthy Schools Caucus, Farm Workers Association of Florida, Alliance for Leadership and Interconnection (OH), Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American, School Business Officials, School Administrator, School Nurses, Earth Day Network, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and many more.
The full letter and list of signtories is below.
Children are 100% of our future. But because children do not vote, it all too often means that the needs of children are easily dismissed or put aside for later deliberations. Thus, we the 50 undersigned education, environment, health, and children's organizations, write to urge you to achieve a balanced, just, and equitable approach to the federal budget that protects programs and services for children, especially those in impoverished and high risk communities, and for children with disabilities.
Without your leadership for children now, due to the looming sequestration cuts, US EPA could have its ability to protect the air children breathe and the water children drink reduced by $700 million and further be restricted in the voluntary grants it offers states and schools. Education could lose $4 billion in funds targeting high needs children and schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will lose more ground in the battle against the epidemic of pediatric asthma and the tragedy of lead poisoning. And 100,000 public school buildings, more than two-thirds of which have at least one dire infrastructure problem, like leaking roofs or inadequate ventilation, will be forced to do without timely repairs to reduce the environmental hazards that are known to affect children’s ability to learn.
We support investing in the future of a healthy and competitive America; therefore we support investing in the future of children. This means sustaining and strategically expanding the public health, education, environment, and community services that children need to grow into healthy, productive adults.
At the federal level, the President and congressional leaders should restore full staffing and resources for U.S. EPA’s voluntary IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Tools for Schools program at greater than fiscal year 2010 levels, and fully fund its newer, voluntary Green, Healthy Schools Initiative, both focused primarily on supporting national and regional staff and providing grants to assist states and schools. Also, Congress should fund and staff federal agencies such as the Center for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency, Education, Energy, Labor and Homeland Security to develop a single, time-lined, coordinated federal strategy to promote healthy school environments for all children, including high performance school design, siting, construction, the greening of existing schools with preventive maintenance and retrofits that improve indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency.
Finally, Congress should help support desperately needed school construction/
Funding for education, environmental protection, health, and other nondefense discretionary programs have already been cut and are subject to stringent spending caps as a result of the Budget Control Act. It is shortsighted and inappropriate to keep cutting these programs that impact children and other Americans.
Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you towards a healthy future for all children – and for America.
Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Alliance for Leadership and Interconnection (OH)
American Academy of Pediatrics/District ii (NY)
American Association of School Administrators
American Lung Association of the Northeast
Association of School Business Officials
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Center for Health, Environment, and Justice
Citizens Environmental Coalition (NY)
Clean and Healthy NY
Clear Corps USA (MN)
Coalition for Environmentally Safe Schools (WA)
Coalition for Healthier Schools (GA)
Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools
Earth Day Network
Environmental Department, Russian Mission, AK
Farm Worker Association of Florida
First Focus Campaign for Children
Fort Belknap Indian Community (MT)
Green Schools Project (MA)
Health Research Foundation (AZ)
Healthy Child-Healthy World
Healthy Kids: The Key to Basics (MA)
Healthy Schools Advocates (WI)
Healthy Schools Collaboration (PA)
Healthy Schools Network, Inc.
Improving Kids’ Environment (IN)
Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Northern Arizona University
Kids for Saving the Earth Worldwide
Maryland Children’s Environmental Health Coalition
MassCOSH/ MA Healthy Schools Network
National Association of School Nurses
National Center for Healthy Housing
National Environmental Health Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
National Education Association (NEA) Healthy Schools Caucus
New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health
New York State PTA
PCBs In Schools (NY)
Reno Sparks Indian Colony (NV)
Safer Pest Control Project (IL)
Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, Emory University Pediatrics Department (GA)
SwiSwinomish Tribal Community (WA)
The Power U Center for Social Change (FL)
Toxics Information Project (RI)
Unite Our Kids (CA)
Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health