Absenteeism due to illness may not seem a priority in looking at funding for schools where there is a disproportionate number of low-income children, however illness-based absences are 30% higher for low-income children that their higher income counterparts. And expecting basic Medicaid to take care of the problem is not the answer to this hindrance to student learning, as parents often cannot take off of work to take their children to the doctor and there are significantly less doctors to choose from in low-income areas. Health clinics in schools may not solve all of the problems surrounding education in low-income areas, but it can help many children. Children in low-income areas often enter school with twice the rate of vision problems as middle class children, and 25% of children in urban black areas suffers from asthma - making it the most frequent cause of absenteeism. Children with sight difficulties often experience more reading problems, and children with illnesses find it difficult to learn. Opponents to putting health clinics in schools site financial reasons and the number one obstacle to this potentially beneficial program. They state that these schools in disadvantaged areas can barely afford to pay for teachers and supplies cannot possibly think about pouring money into a health care program. However, it is estimated that the school based health clinic would only increase budgets by 5%, most of which would probably be covered by Medicaid or other foundations. It is time to start working for low-income families to make a difference in schools. By adding health clinics in schools, children will be better cared for and possibly perform better in their academic studies. In conjunction with other community and after-school programs, school based health clinics can give low-income students a chance to better themselves and the community around them. And even though finding the money for these programs might be a challenge - it may be one that is worth it.
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