Ohio lawmakers are taking a deeper look at the link between poverty and student performance, according to a WOSU story.
The House Speaker’s Task Force on Education and Poverty has been reviewing state data on achievement as well as health outcomes, such as asthma, obesity and access to healthcare.
One of the presentations for the task force focused on school-based health centers and partnerships with healthcare providers, and the group will continue to meet before releasing recommendations.
According to the National School-Based Healthcare Census conducted by the School-Based Health Alliance, there were 2,315 school-based health centers in the 2013-14 school year, and centers were present in 49 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Alliance is currently conducting data collection for the 2016-17 school year.
Advocates of on-site health centers in schools say that they improve attendance by keeping students from leaving school for appointments or going home for minor issues. In partnership with healthcare providers, many centers also offer dental and vision care and serve entire families, not just students.
In Chicago, for example, one high school is attributing improvements in student attendance and graduation rates to an on-site health clinic. And in Ohio, the Cincinnati Public Schools’ community learning centers serve as a model for providing comprehensive school-based healthcare. Twenty-one of the district’s schools have on-site centers. Controversies do arise, however, over whether the centers should distribute contraceptives. In Pennsylvania, for example, some community members are opposing a proposed health center at Reading High School that would be operated by Planned Parenthood.