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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks on the Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools, As Prepared

As prepared for delivery.

Thank you for having me here today. Let me first congratulate our hosts, Stoddert Elementary, on being recognized as a Green Ribbon School, and on being the first full geothermal school in the District of Columbia.

I’m glad to be here to help the Department of Education recognize the extraordinary work that Stoddert and other schools across the nation are doing to create cleaner, healthier, and greener learning spaces for our children.

This marks another step in strengthening EPA’s work with the President’s Council on Environmental Quality and the Department of Education. We share some very important goals, and I’m glad that we have seized this opportunity with the Green Ribbon Schools.

The EPA has worked for decades to keep the air inside and outside our children’s schools clean and free of pollutants. Lower levels of harmful mercury, lead, arsenic and other dangerous toxins in the air mean our children will be able to breathe more easily.

They’ll be healthier – so they won’t have to take as many sick days. And when they’re in school, they’ll be able to concentrate and take advantage of their time in the classroom.

As the mother of a son with asthma, I know the toll that environmental challenges can have on a child’s health – and the toll that it takes on their education to miss days at school.

These Green Ribbon Schools are giving students and educators what they need to maximize learning and minimize risks like asthma and other illnesses, ensuring that no child is burdened by pollution in or around their school.

Every kid should have a clean and healthy place to learn – and every parent should be able to trust that their child’s health is not at risk when they send them to school in the morning.

Through efforts to make the air and water cleaner and schools more energy-efficient, the Green Ribbon Schools are making our schools healthier places to learn.

These changes will also teach children the importance of sustainable living and the vital role a clean environment plays in our own health. They are making “green” a part of everyday learning.

We just celebrated Earth Day yesterday. And every year, I’m reminded that – at the heart of our work – we have a simple goal of helping every person see the connections between their lives and the health of our environment.

These Green Ribbon Schools are helping our students make those connections from the earliest age. We can see that taking shape here at Stoddert, where the Student’s Green Team has established a recycling program that teaches the value of conservation and recycling to support healthy environments.

I want to personally commend all the Green Ribbon Schools for their commitment to nurturing America’s future leaders and laying the foundation for America’s prosperity. Today's winners are protecting our children's health and opening up environmental education opportunities for students.

The EPA is proud to help recognize today’s winners and will continue working to improve the environment of our nation’s schools. I applaud the efforts of Secretary Duncan and the Department of Education for all of the effort they put into this initiative, and I look forward to our continued work together.

Thank you very much.