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Strong Public Schools and Better Health Outcomes Go Hand-in-Hand

Most of us recognize that Mississippi has lagged behind other states when it comes to prioritizing public education—increasingly, we do so at our peril. We know that it’s in all of our interests to ensure our public schools are as strong as they can be because strong schools today mean a stronger Mississippi tomorrow. However, a direct relationship exists between strong public schools and better public-health outcomes.

Mississippi continues to grapple with pressing health-care issues: a high prevalence of chronic diseases, dwindling availability of accessible and affordable health care. Lifting up the link between health and well-resourced public schools is critical in attacking these issues head-on. Raise Mississippi is championing a new vision for public schools that accentuates the need to incorporate common-sense health initiatives and services in our public schools.

Fostering Student Wellness

A National Association of School Nurses study found that every dollar invested in a full-time school nurse yields a return of $2.20 in teacher productivity. In-school support from school nurses, school counselors and psychologists aren’t just nice-to-have enhancements to our public schools; they’re a direct boost to student well-being and academic productivity.

Including health-care components for our public schools aligns seamlessly with Raise Mississippi’s vision of ensuring students not only receive traditional academic instruction, but also a wide range of in-school support to ensure better academic outcomes.

“We ask all community members to join Raise Mississippi and help lead Mississippi towards a brighter, healthier and more prosperous future,” Antonio Castanon Luna writes. “It is on all of us to make sure it happens.” Photo by Mississippi Association of Educators

The Center for Disease Control’s Institute of Medicine documented findings on the health benefits of early public-health interventions, providing a potential 7% reduction in childhood obesity and also mitigating the harms of childhood hunger. We know intuitively that hungry children have a hard time concentrating on learning, but class and test performance tend to prove it.

Investing in public school health-care services not only contributes to student well-being and lays the foundation for long-term health and wellness, the investment will also reduce future strains on Mississippi’s health-care

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