2007 GCLAC Annual Meeting: Lead Poisoning and Education... How Lead Poisoning Challenges School Performance

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 03/07/2007 - 20:59.
04/13/2007 - 07:30
04/13/2007 - 12:00

It is my greatest honor to invite all people of NEO who are interested in regional economic development transformation and education to attend the 2007 Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council 2007 Annual Meeting, titled "Lead Poisoning and Education: How Lead Poisoning Challenges School Performance". This will be one of the most insightful experiences of your life - spread the word and register immediately, as we will exceed the capacity of the Cleveland Natural History Museum! Read on...

The Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council (GCLAC) Presents 2007 Annual Meeting
Lead Poisoning and Education: How Lead Poisoning Challenges School Performance

“42% of Cleveland children tested in 2004 had lead levels that could adversely impact school performance”

Keynote Speakers
Kim N. Dietrich, Ph.D.: The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Author of “Early Exposure to Lead and Juvenile Delinquency”

"It appears that the neurodevelopment effects of this avoidable environmental disease of childhood may not be limited to declines in IQ or academic abilities"

Michael T. Martin, Arizona School Boards Association
Author of “A Strange Ignorance: The Role of Lead Poisoning In "Failing Schools"

“Public schools can no longer ignore the tragedy of lead poisoning”

Breakout sessions featuring symposium keynote speakers and moderated by local leaders in education and lead poisoning prevention.

Final panel discussion featuring elected officials and community members to identify next steps in addressing lead poisoned children in our schools.

  • Continuing Education Units applied for Educators, Nurses, Social Workers, Psychologists, and Counselors from Case Western Reserve University, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
  • Continuing Education Units applied for Sanitarians from State of Ohio Board of Sanitarian


Free parking and shuttle from the VA Hospital parking lot at 10701 East Boulevard, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Annual meeting is free and open to the public but registration is required - Registration deadline is March 30, 2007

On-line Registration: www.clevelandhealth.org

Questions: Contact Kimalon Meriweather, Lead Safe Living Campaign at 216-664-4189.

Funding for the Lead Safe Living Campaign is provided by the Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland.


2007 Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council Annual Meeting
Lead Poisoning and Education: How Lead Poisoning Challenges School Performance

Cleveland Museum of Natural History
April 13, 2007

7:30am - 8:00am              Registration
8:00am - 9:00am              Opening Remarks & Breakfast
                                         Bruce Latimer, PhD
                                         Executive Director, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
                                         Frances Strickland (invited)
                                         First Lady, State of Ohio
                                         Terry Allan
                                         Commissioner, Cuyahoga County Board of Health
                                         Matt Carroll
                                         Director, Cleveland Department of Public Health
                                         Tracy Martin
                                         Chief of Education, City of Cleveland
9:10am -10:40am             Plenary Session with Keynote Addresses
                                         Kim Dietrich, PhD
                                         Michael Martin
10:40am- 11:25am           Concurrent Break-out sessions with Local Leaders
Session I
Kim Dietrich, PhD
Moderators:                      Dorr Dearborn, PhD, M.D.
                                         Swetland Center for Environmental Health
                                         Case School of Medicine
                                         Bobbi Anderson, Metrohealth Medical Center
Session II
Michael Martin, ASBA
Moderators:                      Kim Fuelling, Concerned Citizens Organized Against Lead
                                         Joann Wasco, Cleveland Municipal School District
11:30am-12:00pm            Policy Panel Discussion & Closing Remarks
12:00pm                           Adjourn


Dr. Kim Dietrich serves as Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
and Associate Director of the Cincinnati Children's Center for Environmental
Health. His research has focused on the developmental effects of prenatal and early
postnatal exposure to lead in infants, toddlers, school-age children, adolescents and
adults. His studies also include an examination of the developmental benefits of
chelation therapy with succimer in a multicenter clinical trial. Dr. Dietrich is
examining the effects of prenatal exposure to prevalent developmental toxicants
including lead, pesticides, mercury, PCBs, tobacco smoke, and alcohol in a birth
cohort of 400 infants. He is also involved in studies examining early risk factors for
the later development of breast cancer in a cohort of community dwelling
prepubescent girls with and without a family history of the disease.

Mr. Mike Martin is the Research Analyst for the Arizona School Boards Association.
He regularly prepares reports on education topics of statewide relevance. One of
those reports, titled "A Strange Ignorance," summarized the research on lead
poisoning and its affects on school children. He has a B.A. in Liberal Studies with an
emphasis in economics from the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at California
State University, Sonoma. He formerly was the assistant financial advisor to the
Arizona Senate, a research analyst with the Arizona Tax Research Association, the
Arizona Public Affairs Officer for the Internal Revenue Service, and an instructor in
the U.S. Marine Corp Electronics School. He is married and has a thirteen year-old
son in eighth grade.


Cleveland Museum of Natural History
1 Wade Oval Drive University Circle
Cleveland, OH
United States
( categories: )

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will be in attendance

I'm glad to see Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will be in attendance at this important event. If you have not registered, please do so immediately - Registration.

Disrupt IT

what we learned sheds new light on Cleveland

In the fascinating GCLAC meeting yesterday we learned things that have not yet gained the attention of enough comeback-city, we'll-improve-our-schools advocates here in our region; the facts about lead poisoning and how it affects children in our schools. Alan Ehrenfalt, speaking on WCPN, says don't try to fix the hardest problem first to revive the downtown -- just get the wealthy to move back into the city. But for many they can see their families living in the city except for the schools, violent crime and blighted properties. Friends of mine who built an environmentally excellent house in Ohio City will move away soon as their daughter nears school age because they can’t see their daughter attending Cleveland Schools or growing up in a neighborhood where so many sex offenders are living. It's just not going to give her the best chance at a future. Not only that, but they fear that if she digs in the dirt of their front yard she like so many children in the neighborhood will become lead poisoned.

In a fascinating and mind boggling talk yesterday at the Museum of Natural History, Michael T. Martin of the Arizona School Boards Association drew the parallels for about 250 in attendance between lead poisoning and school performance. Oh, my god! This is news we must not ignore any longer. This is a complex and far reaching issue that faces every neighborhood of the city of Cleveland and its surrounding inner ring suburbs.

I didn't spot a school board official or a city council person from my inner ring suburb, but they may have been there. In Cleveland Heights, a group of well meaning white intellectuals will sue the school board for their attempt to close Coventry school due to declining enrollments district wide. How much money and time will be wasted on this frivolous lawsuit while the money and time could be directed toward alleviating this more important and pervasive root cause of our school's malaise?

Here’s a sample:

"Public schools can no longer ignore the tragedy of lead poisoning. Environmental lead in low-income housing begins a conveyor-belt of tragedy that inevitably produces precisely the symptoms of "failing schools." School officials, both administrators and governing board members, need to organize school and community resources in an effort to interdict the poisoning of children during their first three years of life, as well as to look for ways to ameliorate the consequences of lead poisoning in subsequent years.

But up to now, schools have done nothing. The fact that most "failing schools" are in low-income neighborhoods where children live in housing known to be laced with a brain damaging neurotoxin is not just a coincidence. The complete impact of lead poisoning is unmeasurable, because most of the victims do not even know the lead is there. But it is there and "failing schools" are but one symptom.

Governing board members need to stop automatically blaming the victims and the teachers and the schools for academic failure and start understanding "Maybe it's beyond that." As long as "The education community has not really understood the dimensions of this" continues, then the failure of public schools will mount, governing boards will be dismissed, the achievement gap will widen, violence will infest the schools, and more children will not be able to learn. No matter how hard they try. The problem is beyond them, beyond teacher competence, beyond funding shortages, beyond standards and testing and vouchers and every other ill-conceived rationalization that ignores lead poisoning."

Read the report here. Rise and shine Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. Environment, education, economic development and the return of our urban core are served up in this tangle of problems we face. There is no silver bullet as is usually the case with environmental issues we have wrought on ourselves. It will take generations, lots of money and time, but Like DDT, this is an educational Silent Spring being sprung upon us whether we want to look at it or not.

Thanks Norm for encouraging us to attend and learn, for educating us over the past few years about the dangers of lead poisoning. I understand your passion around this issue even more clearly now. As Jeff says, keep hammering this point home. I’ll be hammering with you from now on.

lead in CMSD school buildings


Students like Jasmine Mosby in the Integrated Science class in Room 201 of the Cleveland School of the Arts, have to dodge paint chips that fall off the walls and ceiling while they try to concentrate on their schoolwork. Photo by Lynn Ischay Plain Dealer

The Ohio School Facilities Commission offers this: “The Extreme Environmental Contamination Program was established to assist districts with buildings whose "occupants are exposed to contaminants at levels which violate acceptable state and federal standards." For a district to participate in the program, it must be shown that the building needs to be replaced rather than modified or renovated.”

And this: “The General Assembly created the Urban Initiative in May 2000 to address the facility needs for the six largest urban districts: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo.

This program recognizes the exceptional issues facing Ohio’s urban schools, such as socio-economic demographics, higher percentages of “at-risk” children, and a larger population of special education students. The challenges facing OSFC’s urban partners are formidable – restrictive site sizes and conditions, a highly mobile population base, suburban migration, and significant neighborhood diversity, just to mention a few. (note they don’t mention lead!!!)

The construction and renovation projects in urban districts are occurring in phases or “segments.” Each segment is comprised of new construction, additions and renovation projects as reflected in the Master Facilities Plan. By approaching the plan in segments, OSFC and the district can focus on the particular issues that have arisen and make adjustments as necessary.


Please see this report on childhood lead poisoning and our schools -- http://www.azsba.org/lead.htm. It is an eye-opening look at a silent killer of school performance. Mr. Martin has uncovered information everyone involved with education must know. At the very least, schools must not contribute to the lead hazards young children face daily in our urban centers (like Cleveland). If we wonder about the rise in dropout rates, the rise in aggressive behavior among our students and their apparent inability to learn, this is a report we all need to read carefully.


If Arkansas is testing for childhood obesity and beginning to do something about it, we in the paint industry's capitol certainly need to address the issue of lead poisoning in our children. Cleveland leads the nation in the number of children who tested positive for high lead levels.


I did not find anything about lead poisoning in our urban schools in the pages of the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

Very good questions about lead in our schools

I would certainly expect our schools to all be 100% lead hazard free. If that is not the case, I'd say the schools are in serious trouble. I look forward to learning what you find out from CMSD about this. Interesting questions would be when was the last year any of the schools used lead paint, interior and exterior, has anything been done to remove lead paint on existing schools, inside or out, and what testing do they do for lead, inside and outside.

Disrupt IT

Ohio School Facilities Commission

I contacted the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission via email. I think I copied you on that one. I'll let you know if they respond. CMSD has their hands full apparently just trying to get the funds to repair and update their exisiting school buildings.

Wouldn't it be gret if the next school renovation in Cleveland could have solar panels or shingles to help cut power costs? A school yard, too, is a gret location for an on land wind turbine. I also emailed some info about this to the CMSD for consideration many months ago. We'll see...