It was hypothesized that a health education program for children with asthma aged 8-11 years that was delivered in elementary schools, would increase children's asthma management skills, self-efficacy and influence on parents' management decisions; reduce school absences and improve school performance. The study population consisted of 239 low-income, predominantly Hispanic and black children from 12 elementary schools (six experimental and six control) in New York City. Parents did not attend educational sessions but received written materials. The program emphasized the child's responsibility for recognizing symptoms and taking appropriate management steps. Follow-up data obtained one year after the program showed that compared to controls experimental group children had higher scores on an index of asthma management (p less than 0.05), greater self-efficacy with respect to asthma management skills (p less than 0.05), more influence on parents' asthma management decisions (p less than 0.05), better grades in school (p = 0.05), and fewer episodes of asthma (p less than 0.01) of shorter average duration (p less than 0.01). No differences were observed for changes in number of school absences. These findings show that asthma health education designed for delivery to children can significantly increase management skills, reduce symptoms of asthma, and improve school performance.