ALBANY, N.Y. June 15, 2007 - New York State United Teachers today praised the expansion of a program aimed at increasing access to health care for children through clinics in their schools.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said the $13.2 million in grant money awarded to health care institutions which agree to sponsor health clinics in schools "takes us one step closer to closing the achievement gap."
"Healthy children are absent from school less often and can focus better when in class," Iannuzzi said. "Offering children free access to doctors and nurses for check-ups and treatment as part of the school day is not only great for children, but great for their parents who are often unable to take time off from work."
Iannuzzi praised Gov. Eliot Spitzer for increasing funding for this program by $3.3 million and "recognizing that closing the achievement gap means addressing not only education issues, but other issues such as lack of health care and adequate housing, which can limit students' success in school."
NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira said the partnership between hospitals and schools is important because "we know that children living in poverty suffer more from asthma, diabetes and other chronic conditions and often do not have access to quality health care. These kinds of partnerships - with everyone working together to support children - are vital to our state's competitiveness and our efforts to close the achievement gap."
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 585,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges; State University of New York and City University of New York; and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers; National Education Association and AFL-CIO.