BURLINGAME – Deepening its commitment to keeping children healthy and ready to learn, the California Teachers Association is launching a new, two-year project funded by a $400,000 grant to make teachers aware of the links between classroom air quality, learning, and triggers for asthma, a leading cause of student absences.
The California Endowment foundation also funds CTA’s “Teachers for Healthy Kids” project partnership – entering its fifth year – involving teachers and health plans educating parents about the state’s Healthy Families public health insurance program. Both CTA endeavors demonstrate teachers’ commitment to keeping public school kids healthy and able to learn.
“Our students are losing thousands of classroom days due to asthma and other problems linked to indoor air quality,” said Barbara E. Kerr, president of the 340,000-member CTA. “Our proactive new project to raise teacher awareness about classroom air quality builds on the strong commitment of CTA to better student health that was first demonstrated by the launch of our Teachers for Healthy Kids program.”
By teachers and others teaming up with the California Association of Health Plans for the Teachers for Healthy Kids outreach initiative, about 150,000 kids now have low-cost or no-cost health insurance offered by the Healthy Families or Medi-Cal programs. Nearly 800,000 California children are still uninsured. For more information: www.teachersforhealthykids.com.
The American Lung Association estimates that about 1.5 million of the nearly 5 million Californians with asthma are children. The CTA indoor air quality initiative will inform teachers about classroom asthma triggers and other air dangers. Teachers will work directly with asthma-fighting coalitions, such as the Community Action to Fight Asthma network, and with the federal Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 to implement the EPA’s “Tools for Schools” classroom air quality program in targeted California school districts.