AFT Resolution

PRESERVING SCHOOL HEALTH SERVICES AND SCHOOL HEALTH PERSONNEL

WHEREAS, the nation's children could become the first generation to live shorter and less healthy lives than their parents (Healthy Schools Campaign, 2012); and

WHEREAS, there is a link between health and learning, and "healthy students are more likely to attend school, are better able to focus in class and are more ready to learn, ultimately earning better grades and achieving more in school (Healthy Schools Campaign, 2012); and

WHEREAS, rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma and other chronic health issues have doubled in children over the past several decades, and school nurses are vital to ongoing management of those issues, which exacerbate if not well controlled, often resulting in emergency room visits and lost school days; and

WHEREAS, the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program is the child health component of Medicaid; it is required in every state to improve the health of low-income children and is managed by school nurses; and

WHEREAS, children face growing economic, social and environmental stressors that require the expertise of counselors, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses and other school health personnel; and

WHEREAS, the lack of a distinct and protected funding stream for school health services, and the personnel that provide them, results in decreased services and the elimination of school health personnel in times of fiscal crisis (as currently exists); and

WHEREAS, routine billing for Medicaid services, and protecting those funds to support school nurses and other health personnel, would increase the likelihood that both services and positions would be maintained; and

WHEREAS, there is a national initiative led by the Healthy Schools Campaign, called "Health in Mind: Improving Education Through Wellness," that is designed to gain support from the U.S. Department of Education to provide leadership to states and school districts on the importance of integrating health into school policy and practice; and

WHEREAS, this same initiative is urging the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicaid insurance, to address barriers that schools currently face in funding for health services and to consider ways in which schools can play a larger role in disease prevention and health promotion; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers has already signed on to the vision statement for this initiative:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will work to ensure that all students in our schools are safe and receive the highest quality of necessary health services; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue its work in addressing child health and learning; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work with national organizations that provide resources, strategies and support for school health services and personnel; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will participate in the efforts to identify discrete and protected funding streams that would provide school health services and finance school health personnel positions.

(2012)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.