WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON
We are working in several states to spread the word about federal funds available through the US Department of Energy’s Renew America’s Schools Program. The $500 million program promotes clean energy improvements at K–12 public school facilities, prioritizing high-need school communities. This first-of-its-kind investment, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), has a goal to help school communities make energy upgrades that will lower utility costs, improve indoor air quality, and foster healthier learning environments.
We are also working continuously in states across the country to encourage and support school districts making the transition to electric school bus fleets.
WHY WE CARE
Schools are places of learning, but that doesn’t make them necessarily healthy. Children spend a large portion of their waking hours on school property, where they can be exposed to mold, poor air quality, tailpipe pollution, pesticides, cleaning supplies, and other potential health harms.
Children are inherently more vulnerable to environmental hazards than adults, because of both physiological factors (their organ systems are still developing) and behavioral factors (they put their hands in their mouths more often, for example). Children with underlying health conditions, such as those with asthma, are especially vulnerable to environmental health threats at school.
Children are more vulnerable to
environmental hazards than adults.
The quality of public schools in the United States varies widely. Segregation still exists. Some districts are funded better than others. Communities of color and low-income communities are frequently underfunded. This exacerbates achievement gaps and can impact education as well as health. This is why the DOE’s Renew America’s School Program specifically prioritizes high-need school communities.
Over the years, Moms Clean Air Force has worked to enhance the environmental health of school buildings, which frequently suffer from dire infrastructure problems like leaking roofs or inadequate ventilation. Our focus on school safety has historically centered on indoor air quality concerns stemming from mold, an asthma trigger, as well as on keeping facilities free of toxic chemicals, including those found in gym flooring as well as the pesticides used around buildings and playgrounds.