Friday, July 15, 2016

Wishing I could disrupt a conversation about lead in the water

Listening this morning to the stream of WBEZ's report on, "Understanding The Risks Of Lead In Chicago’s Water". UIC Prof, Dr. David Jacobs from the National Center for Healthy Housing, ticks off half-a-dozen reasons why leaded drinking water is toxic, especially when it comes to young children's brain development. Then he floors me when he mentions this in passing...
"It's been well-established, with a path-breaking study here in Chicago, that lead inversely affects reading and math scores in schools."
I suppose he means this one or maybe this one.

The conversation moves on. I squirm in my chair, wishing I could jump in and disrupt the discussion right there. I would say something like...
Wait! You mean that all those tens of thousands of Chicago children who have been drinking leaded water from school drinking fountains and home sinks -- mostly poor and children of color -- have been disadvantaged by high-stakes PARCC and ISAT testing? Held back from promotion and graduation? College entrance? Their schools facing loss of funding or even closure because of lower test scores in comparison to wealthier, newer schools? Their teachers having their evaluations lowered and merit-pay-based salaries diminished, in large part because their students are exposed to leaded water?
And to top it off, told "no excuses" when they object?
But alas, I can't jump in. The informative conversation has already ended.

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