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To close achievement gap, US must address major health risks for urban minority youth, study finds
Date:3/23/2010

urban minority youth. Among the examples he gave:

  • Black children are significantly more likely to suffer from asthma, and certain populations within Latinos most notably Puerto Ricans are as well. Urban minority youth also have higher rates of poorly controlled asthma, as indicated by over-use of the emergency room and under-use of efficacious medicines.
  • Non-Hispanic black teens have pregnancy rates three times as high as whites, and rates for Hispanic teens are four times as high as for whites.
  • Nearly 10 percent of Hispanic youths missed one or more day of school in the past month because they were afraid a figure more than twice as high as for whites. Rates for blacks were more than 50 percent higher than for whites.

"All of this is old news," Basch said. What's new, he said, is research on how these conditions work together to impair educational outcomes. The combined effect of the seven is synergistic, he said, creating a crisis that is more than the sum of its parts.

So what must happen to change that picture?

"The most important thing is not do just one thing," Basch said. "Instead, we must address a set of priorities simultaneously."

The country needs a national school health strategic plan, Basch said. Yet because education in America is so decentralized, planning must also go on at the local level. Health related measures must be integrated into school accountability mechanisms, and health goals must become part of individual school improvement plans.

For his part, Yale who previously worked with Duncan in Chicago said coordination between government agencies on health issues has been improving, as evidenced in particular by the federal response to last year's H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak. That effort brought together USDOE, CDC, the U.S Department of Agriculture and others, with education officials helping to write CDC guidelines.

"I don't think we're siloed anymore," he said.

Yale al
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Contact: Patricia Lamiell
lamiell@tc.columbia.edu
212-678-3979
Teachers College, Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

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