The current landscape of school district and charter policies that support healthy schools

Healthy SchoolsNov 6, 2019

Education policy making in the United States occurs at the federal, state, local education agency (e.g., district), and school levels. Although policies often pass from one level to another, levels may approach topics differently or prioritize some topics over others. District-level policy may, for instance, be a precursor for broader state-level policy to be enacted in the future.

In January 2019, Child Trends, in partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP) and EMT Associates, released an analysis of how state laws and regulations address key school health topics aligned to the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework. This study, led by IHRP, complements that initial work by exploring how local education agencies (LEAs), including both public school districts and charter LEAs, address a selection of school health topics in their policies, and how LEA policy coverage compares to coverage in the laws and regulations of 20 strategically selected states. The goal of this study is to begin to understand whether certain topics have momentum at either the state or district levels, and what opportunities may exist to better align and integrate school health policies.