"Educationally relevant health disparities" are key drivers of the achievement gap, "but they are largely overlooked," said Charles Basch, the Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.
"Over the past several decades, a variety of strategies have been tried to help close the achievement gap standards, accountability, NCLB, more rigorous teacher certification and they're all important, but they won't have the desired effect unless students are ready and motivated to learn."
Basch recently released a meta-study, "Healthier Students Are Better Learners," which focuses on seven health risks that disproportionately impair the academic performance of urban minority youth.
At the College's Cowin Conference Center on March 9, Basch presented his findings and then discussed them with respondents Matthew Yale, Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; and TC alumnus Howell Wechsler, Director of the Division of Adolescent School Health (DASH) for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The event, presented by TC's Campaign for Educational Equity, was moderated by Jane Quinn, Assistant Executive Director for Community Schools for the Children's Aid Society.
Basch, whose study pulls together research from over 300 sources, called the health crisis for the nation's youth "staggering." Among the statistics he cited:
And, Basch said, the situation is far worse for
|Contact: Patricia Lamiell|
Teachers College, Columbia University