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Letter to the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies on Healthy Schools Initiative

May 24, 2011

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we would like to offer our views on an important environmental initiative as the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Issues begins consideration of fiscal year 2012 appropriations.  Specifically, we urge you to support maintaining current funding levels for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-led interagency Healthy Schools Initiative and to support continuation of EPA’s voluntary, cost-effective Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program. 

NEA believes that students and staff have the right to a great public school that fosters a safe and healthy learning and working environment.  But, poor indoor environmental quality (IEQ) caused by mold, poor ventilation, chemicals, extreme temperatures, asbestos, and other pollutants negatively impact the health and achievement of all building occupants. 

Each school day, 56 million children and 7 million adults—20 percent of the total U.S. population and 98 percent of all children—spend their days inside some 130,000 schools, too many of which are “unhealthy” buildings that erode health and learning.  Clear and convincing research shows that improving specific school indoor environmental quality factors can improve health, attendance, and achievement, and reduce health care costs and district operating costs. 

Additional information on this important issue is available at http://www.neahin.org/health-safety/environmental/

Helping schools prevent environmental problems results in savings for schools and taxpayers, as well as many benefits for students.  We urge your support for continued funding of this important initiative.

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson         
Director of Government Relations     

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy