Seeing Green at the Polls
Child advocates should keep the school environment – inside and out – in mind during this election season.
Study the candidates’ past records and ask them what their current positions are regarding school environmental issues, including the
current controversy over potential hydrofracking near school buildings in New York State. The Healthy Schools Network, which partners with NYS
PTA, has posted a
Back to School and Beyond Action Kit and Calendar
on its website
. The kit contains position statements, policy recommendations and general pointers for advocating to elected officials, with timely
tips on how to be a savvy voter for green causes in the upcoming elections.
Heading Towards the Cliff?
The threat of drastic cuts in federal spending builds as the sequestration deadline of January 2, 2013
approaches. Any Congressional action is on hold until after the November elections, but other groups have been busy projecting the impact on education if
sequestration does go into effect. Special Education programs and services face a possible $1 billion cut in federal funding. The EPA,
already underfunded for child-friendly programs like IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Tools for Schools and Green and Healthy Schools, could lose
another 8-9% of its total budget.
In August, Congress passed the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, which required the President to provide a detailed report on the
implementation of required spending reductions if sequestration occurs.
The resulting White House report can be read
Reform Commission Wrap-Up
After several months of testimony from education leaders and activists across the state, the
members of the
NY Education Reform Commission
have wrapped up their schedule of public meetings. Numerous NYS PTA representatives testified before
the Commission to share PTA’s perspective on increasing student achievement and readiness for college, career and active citizenship.
Education Coordinator Dr. Robert Aloise, Westchester – East Putnam Region Director Kelly Chiarella, Family Engagement Coordinator
Jamie Knapp, and Executive Administrator Rick Longhurst all stressed that meaningful family engagement is a crucial component in elevating the achievement of
all NY students. To review all speaker testimony, click
. The Commission will issue its preliminary recommendations to
the Governor by December 1, 2012.
Checklist for a Healthy, Safe School Environment
It is important to create a safe, healthy environment for children both in and out of school. Parents and PTAs must be proactive in this endeavor. Here is what we can do to educate ourselves and our kids about how to
stay healthy and safe:
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children recommends
, a website with
resources to teach all age groups about computer and technology safety.
Medications in School:
Each school has its own policies regulating what students can carry to school with written
permission from a physician and parent/guardian, and it’s important to know your school district’s policies on medications in school.
The National School Boards Association lists all state regulations and laws regarding medication management in schools
The NYS Department of Health has a publication entitled:
“Making the Difference: Caring for Students with Life-Threatening Allergies”
The US Environmental Protection Agency has
Tips to Go Green
in school, including what students, parents and teachers can do to reduce school waste. Click
for more information.