Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Nick Janzen

East Chicago School Children Take Lead Testing Into Own Hands

Naomi Caseras, an eighth grader at East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy, was one of the students whose samples were tested. Hers came back negative. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

Naomi Caseras, an eighth grader at East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy, was one of the students whose samples were tested. Hers came back negative. (Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

Children at the East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy school learned how to test air, water, and soil samples for lead Tuesday with help from the NAACP.

The school sits right across the street from the USS Lead Superfund site, a federal toxic waste clean-up site contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Principal Veronica Eskew says the lead testing let her students take ownership over how lead poisoning affects them.

“Giving them the opportunity to have a voice, to have a better understanding of what is happening in their environment, was heart-stopping for me,” she says.

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Most School Districts Not Participating In Lead Testing Program

Jim McGoff, environmental programs director for the Indiana Finance Authority, testifies before the interim environmental affairs legislative committee. (Nick Janzen/IPB News)

Jim McGoff, environmental programs director for the Indiana Finance Authority, testifies before the interim environmental affairs legislative committee. (Nick Janzen/IPB News)

Fewer than half of Indiana’s public school districts are participating in a free lead testing program, according to Jim McGoff, environmental programs director at the Indiana Finance Authority.

The IFA created the voluntary program after lead contamination in places such as Flint, Michigan, and East Chicago, Indiana, rose to national prominence.

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Indiana Law Could Ruin Solar’s Future At Schools

Students build racking for 950 solar panels at the Lake Prairie Elementary School array. (Credit: Tri-Creek School Corporation)

Students build racking for 950 solar panels at the Lake Prairie Elementary School array. (Credit: Tri-Creek School Corporation)

More groups – from utilities to businesses and even schools — are investing in solar energy. Its popularity continues to go up, while costs go down. But a law passed earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly could spell trouble for the industry.

Take, for example, Tri-Creek School Corporation’s solar experiment.

As you drive down the county road toward Lowell Middle School, you might be surprised to see three or four football fields worth of solar panels hiding behind the corn fields.

“And, at the same time, it looks like the future,” Deb Howe, Tri-Creek School Corporation superintendent, says with laugh.

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