Let's begin with a choice.
Say there's a check in the mail. It's meant to help you run your household. You can use it to keep the lights on, the water running and food on the table. Would you rather that check be for $9,794 or $28,639?
It's not a trick question. It's the story of America's schools in two numbers.
That $9,794 is how much money the Chicago Ridge School District in Illinois spent per child in 2013 (the number has been adjusted by Education Week to account for regional cost differences). It's well below that year's national average of $11,841.
Ridge's two elementary campuses and one middle school sit along Chicago's southern edge. Roughly two-thirds of its students come from low-income families, and a third are learning English as a second language.
Here, one nurse commutes between three schools, and the two elementary schools share an art teacher and a music teacher. They spend the first half of the year at different schools, then, come January, box up their supplies and swap classrooms.
Coalition for Healthier Schools, 2016.
Healthy schools help children grow and learn. But providing children with healthy places to learn is too often an afterthought—or not thought of at all. School facilities have been neglected for decades. Towards Healthy Schools: Reducing Risks to Children is the fourth in a series of triennial state of the states’ reports
from Healthy Schools Network and its partners in the Coalition for Healthier Schools, dating from 2006. Previous reports assessed state-by-state environmental health hazards at schools, offered compelling personal narratives from parents and teachers, and provided data needed to assess the subsequent impact on children’s health. The last report, Towards Healthy Schools 2015, went deeper into specific issues such as asthma, and fracking and well water, while also using federal poverty statistics—e.g., the number of children in a school eligible for free or reduced-price meals—as a proxy for poverty and to highlight essential inequities and injustices. It also highlighted how greener, cleaner, healthier schools promote attendance and achievement. Yet, no state publishes information regarding children at risk due to school and/or child care center environmental hazards. To drive home the national scope of the hidden environmental health crisis faced by children, this new report features published media reports on environmental conditions from every state in the nation. From Alabama, where Bay Minette parents threatened to keep their children home to avoid exposing them to asbestos, to Wyoming, where grass fires endangered students at South High, it is a disturbing summary, highlighting the fact that across the country teachers, parents, and guardians, and the children themselves, face numerous and serious unexamined and unaddressed risks to health and learning which are rarely acknowledged by public agencies.
David Henebry, AIA NCARB ALEP, 2016
The traditional process of locating schools has consisted simply of mapping attendance areas and meeting with realtors to discuss and choose an available property. Today, however, due to a stronger understanding of the socioeconomic impacts of the development of schools on communities, there is a desire to explore a smarter approach to identify sites for schools. The objective of this essay is to provide a comprehensive, long-term strategic approach for siting schools in growing communities. Now that we have a stronger understanding of the socioeconomic impacts of development on communities, we want to explore a smarter approach to identifying sites for schools. This paper is focused on a comprehensive long term strategic approach to identifying sites for schools in growing communities.
World Health Organization, 2009.
Diseases related to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene are a huge burden in developing countries. It is estimated that 88% of diarrhoeal disease is caused by unsafe water supply, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene (WHO, 2004c). Many schools serve communities that have a high prevalence of diseases related to inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and where child malnutrition and other underlying health problems are common.
Schools, particularly those in rural areas, often completely lack drinking-water and sanitation and handwashing facilities; alternatively, where such facilities do exist they are often inadequate in both quality and quantity. Schools with poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions, and intense levels of person-to-person contact, are high-risk environments for children and staff, and exacerbate children’s particular susceptibility to environmental health hazards.
Children’s ability to learn may be affected by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in several ways. These include helminth infections (which affect hundreds of millions of school-age children), long-term exposure to chemical contaminants in water (e.g. lead and arsenic), diarrhoeal diseases and malaria infections, all of which force many schoolchildren to be absent from school. Poor environmental conditions in the classroom can also make both teaching and learning very difficult.
California Department of Education.
Chapter 558 of the Statutes of 2010 (Senate Bill 1413, Leno) establishes California Education Code (EC) Section 38086, which requires school districts to provide access to free, fresh drinking water during meal times.
Making Free, Fresh Drinking Water Available to Students During Meal Times
Complying with California Senate Bill 1413 (Leno)
Chapter 558 of the Statutes of 2010 (Senate Bill [SB] 1413, Leno) establishes California Education Code (EC) Section 38086, which requires school districts to provide access to free, fresh drinking water during meal times in school food service areas by July 1, 2011, unless the governing board of a school district adopts a resolution stating it is unable to comply with this requirement due to fiscal constraints or health and safety concerns.