At least 25 percent of students in Detroit’s public schools tested positive for elevated blood-lead levels between birth and age 5, possibly leading to a significant impact on their education achievement, according to research presented at a state public-health conference last month. The study was conducted by the school system and the city Department of Health and Wellness Promotion.
Students identified with special education needs also had significantly higher lead levels in their blood than other students, according to the report, which calls for holding a national roundtable discussion on the topic involving the U.S. Department of Education, federal health agencies, and urban public school agencies across the country.
This is an educational problem in every urban center in the eastern United States, Randall E. Raymond, the geographic information specialist for the school system, said in an e-mail, adding that the high lead levels have contributed to low achievement and aggressive and violent behavior problems in city schools.
A version of this article appeared in the November 11, 2009 edition of Education Week as Lead and Learning