CPS Will Expand Vision-Program

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationMayor Emanuel announced that the City of Chicago budget for 2014 will invest an additional $550,000 to expand its school-based vision program to serve 45,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) students. With the additional funding, the total City sponsorship behind the program comes to $2 million. In 2013, the City first invested in a program to provide eye exams and eyeglasses, at no cost to the families, for 30,000 CPS students.  The expansion to 45,000 students in 2014 will increase the number of students served by 50 percent since last year.

Parents of over 30,000 Kindergarten students are required by state law to obtain a vision exam for their children by October 15th, and to report this screening to their schools. However during fiscal year 2012 (FY12), only 11 percent of parents reported getting their child’s eyes exam. The City recognized a need and prioritized funding to ensure students are completing eye exams. This vision program will also increase access for students who have failed their vision screening in the past, as well as those required to have a vision exam, and those referred by a teacher or parent. Students who have failed their vision screenings in the past, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade students will be the target populations for the new vision program that will provide proper eye exams and then when needed glasses.

Vision is a critical factor in a child’s education as more than 80 percent of a child’s learning occurs visually, according to the United States Department of Labor.  f a student needs glasses, immediately following the exam, the child can make a selection from a minimum of 15 different frames and the glasses are delivered within 8-10 weeks of the exam date. The vision program works with parents to provide written and oral eye care information and education, making referrals if necessary.

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