Health & Education Intersections: Health Barriers to Academic Achievement and Potential Policy Solutions
Saturday, November 14, 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Tuttle North (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Walker A. Swain, Vanderbilt University
Panel Chairs: Helen Ladd, Duke University
Discussants: Elizabeth Ananat, Duke University and Randall Reback, Barnard College
Low-income children suffer from treatable health problems, like vision impairment, hearing problems, or asthma, substantially more frequently than their middle class peers. Children of parents with lower levels of formal education also tend to report higher instances of unhealthy behaviors, like smoking or failing to get adequate sleep. It is not difficult to imagine that these types of problems can pose considerable barriers to students’ academic success. However, although disparities in health problems and healthcare access are well documented, relatively little empirical work has evaluated either the extent of their impacts, or the efficacy of school-based health policy interventions in combating these apparent obstacles. Similarly, while numerous studies have documented the strong association between educational attainment and better health outcomes and healthier practices, the causal links between increased education or specific educational policies and programs remains unclear.
Can increasing adolescent sleep by moving school start time improve academic outcomes? Does increasing a mothers’ education improve her children’s health? Can changes in schools’ tobacco, alcohol, and drug policies modify student behaviors? And can access to school-based health care help students attend school and achieve? The papers in this panel examine the vital intersection of health and education from a variety of angles employing diverse data sources and rigorous methodologies to elucidate how under-appreciated health problems inhibit academic success, how educational intervention might improve health, and how school-based health policies might help under-served students achieve. This session will be of particular interest to researchers and policymakers considering a broader range of policy interventions to close achievement gaps than those dominating popular education policy discourse, and a broader set of benefits to educational and health interventions.