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Helping Schools in Our Communities Create Healthy Learning Environments

2009 December 4

My organization, the National Education Association (NEA), has partnered with EPA for over a decade to help education professionals organize and implement comprehensive indoor air quality (IAQ) management programs.

Now, why would an organization representing teachers and education support professionals care about IAQ or the IAQ Tools for Schools Program? It’s simple: we know that IAQ is important to the health of our members – individuals central to the schools in which they work and the communities in which they live. Our members can spend upward of twenty years in one school, making IAQ a vital component of their long-term health and, according to the latest research, their job performance. In addition, our members see how IAQ directly affects students, who aren’t yet able to advocate for themselves. Our members speak for them, too.

NEA education professionals have an obvious stake in advocating for IAQ management, but I want to tell you why you should become educated about IAQ and advocate for IAQ management in your community’s schools. In addition to the role that many of us play as parents or mentors of a student, there are many other reasons each of us has a direct interest in the health of our schools.

Schools are the hearts of our communities; they represent the values we hold. Surely, environmental management and stewardship should start there. We all have a stake in how schools are being managed. We invest in them every day through taxes; we should be sure our investments are used wisely. Not to mention, schools are where our future leaders are being educated.

Through its Health Information Network, NEA offers many resources to learn about IAQ. In fact, in January, 2010, an online training for school environmental quality will become available for anyone to access. Of course, EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools Program is the definitive resource for school IAQ management. Encourage school leaders to download the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit and attend EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools Symposium. These resources will help school leaders develop their knowledge and put it into action to ensure schools continue to be healthy environments for teaching and learning.

Please join me, NEA, EPA and your neighbors in advocating for your community’s health. Take action to improve IAQ in your schools.

About the author: Jennie Young is the Senior Program Coordinator for the National Education Association Health Information Network (NEAHIN). Since joining NEAHIN, Jennie has become a staunch advocate of IAQ management and an indispensable partner of EPA’s IAQ Tools for Schools Program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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9 Responses leave one →
  1. Jackenson Durand permalink
    December 4, 2009

    There would be any better than add one environmental class for elementary school students and an introduction to the environmental science class for high school students that would allow our young growing new generations to have a better understanding on environment protective, and the nature beauty for conservancy.
    Unfortunately, we did not have such value program in high school. We would add this class as a universal student’s educative class like some language class.
    Also, I think that parents would teach their children beaux-arts and environment nature beauty in early age at home.

    – Note; the main some of Caribbean Island deforestation problematic is because, they are loosing their green high mountain admiration aspects in their new system educative

  2. armansyahardanis permalink
    December 4, 2009

    The Future (?!). The students are busy but enjoy to learn their lessons. They didn’t know what activities the people thousand years ago, because the parents didn’t tell them about that. All have will forget, except their open file inclusive stories again. By the way, in that time, there are no school building and also no teacher. So, only reporters, students, the parents, families and their communities……

  3. Tim Nyquist permalink
    December 4, 2009

    kudos to Jennie Young! IAQ MUST be addressed in all schools. Educational funding needs to include healthy classrooms.
    Of coarse energy efficiency and renewable energy go hand in hand with IAQ.
    I find that many of our older schools are complete energy hogs as well. Good lighting is a must for quality education so “daylight harvesting” has been implimented in schools for decades. However the use of massive windows made of steel and single pane glass has created huge energy bills and loss of much needed heat.
    I see an urgent need to use; a whole building approach to improve the educational environment.
    It’s time to open the can of worms and advocate for health education and welfare of tomorrows generation.

  4. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    December 6, 2009

    This is a good program. But the schools really need to take a whole new approach to environmental health. They need to move to a green building program that includes retrofits to current buildings and a whole new way of thinking on new construction, including the building materials, how the buildings are heated and powered, and how they use water and sunlight. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  5. Gary Iverson permalink
    December 6, 2009

    If the EPA is going to make CO2 a dangerous gas, wouldn’t that be a defense for murder, or even encourage it? It sounds like the EPA is the one that is dangerous, and should be disbanded.

    ClimateGate is everywhere, isn’t it?

  6. Al Bannet permalink
    December 7, 2009

    One of the ways a school district can protect indoor air quality is contract with a producer of air conditioning systems so the children breath that filtered air from the time they enter the school house to when they go home, which of course costs millions of education dollars that might otherwise be spent on better classroom programs.
    Of course,in the big cities air quality is poor and conditioning is necessary. But in smaller towns and villages there is no good reason not to simply open the windows. That would be a goal to strive for – a planet where everyone can open their windows and breathe the fresh air.

  7. Stupid permalink
    December 7, 2009

    What will happen to the planet after all the plants die from us removing all the CO2 in the air?

    How will the Government monitor our breathing? How much for each exhale?

    How much more do you think we’ll take from you corrupt elitists?

    This hoax is more transparent than the h1n1!

  8. John permalink
    December 8, 2009

    Good post, Jennie Young. With involving the students in your program are great program. But it need more than just to educated them. Nowadays, action are needed than talking! Good works EPA.


  9. Al Bannet permalink
    December 8, 2009

    How much garbage and sludge can the oceans absorb, how many mountains of landfill around our cities and towns? How many people can the Earth feed, clothe and house? There is a limit and we need to know what it is before it’s too late. Meanwhile, we need 100% safe recycling of all our trash and waste.

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