National Coalition for Healthier Schools Partners
National Healthy Schools Day 2004
National Coalition Letter to Congress
MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2004
April 14, 2004
To All Members of the US Senate, Washington, DC
To All Members of the US House of Representatives, Washington, DC
We are writing to request your clear and unequivocal support for ensuring that all our nation's schools are healthier, greener learning places for all our children.
Our school facilities are the daily workplaces for 51 million children and six million adults, and sadly, today, half of the nation's 115,000 schools have preventable environmental health hazards that undermine test scores and attendance. This is not acceptable in 2004. We cannot compel children to attend schools that make them sick; we must provide the renovation and construction funds to ensure that every child has a healthy school. We ask that you:
- Demand that the US Department of Education submit to you the long-overdue National Priority Study on the impacts of decayed schools;
- Fund the Healthy, High Performance Schools program at $25 million a year;
- Expand funding for US Environmental Protection Agency's "IAQ Tools for Schools" and "Design Tools for Schools" programs;
- Support federal funds for repairing and for constructing schools; and,
- Pass the School Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) that requires schools to minimize the use toxic pest control products around children.
The National Coalition provides a forum for education, health, labor, parent, environment, and building sciences organizations and is committed to collaborative efforts to build and to advance the platform for environmental health at school. It has supported federal and state policies and funding to ensure that our schools are environmentally safe and healthy facilities. Healthier schools beneift children, staff, the environment, and local communities.
The National Coalition Position Statement 2004 and a list of its sponsors and endorsers, sources and message to Federal, State, and local officials and school boards is available HERE or [pdf].
We are counting on your support. Make sure your community has a healthy school!
State by State Events
Diversity of activities and groups reveal core issues and constituencies coalescing to solve long-standing issues affecting child health and learning. For more information about National School Building Week (April 19-23) and Healthy Schools Day, visit the Council of Educational Facility Planners at cefpi.org.
- Arizona: Tucson school hosts tour to demonstrate to parents, community, and students merits of nontoxic interior paints and healthy maintenance practices.
- California: Moraga parents praise local district for adopting green cleaning and for remediating arsenic-treated equipment to protect the well-being of Moraga children. The Healthy Children Organizing Project/Consumer-Action congratulates the San Francisco Unified School District for adopting 'high performance school' design standards to improve the indoor air quality in its schools as it allocates newly approved $295M for construction.
- Connecticut: Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools highlights connection between federal and state reforms with state General Assembly, urges careful monitoring of landmark school Indoor Air Quality legislation passed last year. Action Alert
- Illinois: Illinois Healthy Schools Campaign honors Chicago Public Schools for leadership in High Performance School design and other measures to promote healthier schools.
- Maryland: PTA Council celebrates successful introduction of the School Environment Team (SET) Program into 24 schools, looks forward to phase-in to all 65 county schools, and the program as a role model for improving school environments in other Maryland schools.
- Massachusetts: Mass. PTA and Mass. Committee on Occupational Safety and Health support legislation this spring that will reduce the toxicity of cleaning products used in schools, day care, and other locations.
- Maine: Sponsoring groups, including American Lung Association of Maine and state agencies, highlight a local school piloting the "Safe and Healthy School Team" as a new facility management system designed to prevent "sick" schools.
- New Jersey: The NJ Work Environment Council, with labor and environment allies, thank the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services for convening the first ad hoc healthy schools state interagency meeting this spring and urge continued cooperation by the NJ Schools Construction Corporation and the state departments of Community Affairs, Education, Environmental Protection, and Labor.
- New York State: Healthy schools groups send new science and policy report on how school facilities affect learning to policy-makers as State Legislators pass joint Resolution proclaiming April 19th as Healthy Schools Day in NYS; press conference in State Capitol to promote reform legislation to improve schools and maintenance practices; popular community workshops in Healthy, High Performance Schools extended to seven downstate locations.
- Oregon: Oregon Environmental Council praises the Oregon Department of Education and the local schools statewide for efforts to reduce diesel emissions by reducing idling, as well as retrofits and use of low-sulfur diesel; urges more resources to speed retrofits and up-grades.
- Virginia: "Green TC" and the community celebrate $80,000,000 High School renovation to begin this summer that is on track for a 'green' building rating.
- Washington State: Grassroot parents and state policy maker in environment and health urge Governor and agencies to correct school drinking water quality regulations to address lead and other contaminants. Washington Education Association becomes first in affiliate in the nation to form "healthy schools" caucus.