Education Policy is Health Policy

What would you say if I told you universal health coverage will create a fabulous surge in educational attainment? At the very least, it will result in less family stress in low SES families. In fact, it may have already happened to some people. Read on MacDuff!

It is entirely possible that the earned income credit will turn out to be the most effective education reform in history. At least that’s the way it looks from my notes on this symposium:

Notes from symposium: The Long Reach of Early Childhood Poverty - AAAS Meeting, San Diego

Greg Duncan

Katherine Magnuson

W. Thomas Boyce at U of British Columbia, Vancouver. Paper titled: Neurobiological pathway of Poverty Associated Lifetime Risk of Health Achievement

Social data comes from:
PSID Panel study of Income Dynamics. Births in 1968 thru 1975 measured to 2008 (To age 37: outcomes for school, employment, out of wedlock births, parental aspirations.)

First caveat – Poor health, arrest, non-marital birth are not strongly correlated in the study. But adjusted education and income are most strong.

Adult earnings are affected by early impact of family income and the highest correlation is during the period under age 5. The effect gives 17 percent higher wage total for every $3,000 increase in family income. This indicates the earned
income credit which provided families in the study approximately that amount of money may have as much effect as some educational interventions.

Norway had an analogous study where there was a 7 percent impact and in the American Indian population where gambling revenues were shared on a per capita basis, recipients experienced about the same benefit as main group at 17%. Furthermore, ability to sustain full-time employment seems to be impacted, resulting in 152 hours per year additional hours worked and higher lifetime income.

Magnuson: Achievement and health during childhood produced about .3 standard deviation on tests. American Indians had tax credit and casino money on reservation, experiencing a similar effect. When welfare was cut back, some states analyzed the results of about 33,000 subjects. (notes unclear) Indian parents’ income increased to near national average from 1993 to 2000 during the study.

Stress effects measured:
Linver, Brooks-Gunn and Kohen 2002
1/2 a std deviation or 1/3 of the total effect is due to home learning environment.

W. Thomas Boyce U of British Columbia, Vancouver
Paper titled: Neurobiological pathway of Poverty Associated Lifetime Risk of Health Achievement

Epigenetic confirmation: stress response systems have effects on organ systems.
1. cortisol levels higher in low SES socio-economic status
2. natural killer cells lower
3. cariogenic bacteria higher (teeth)
4. HPA activation affects cortisol
5. visual cortex – P1 and N1 activation in visual
striata react to novel stimuli differs from controls
6. PID NF Kappa B and cortisol affect toll-like receptor 4

Here is something for people interested in the consequences of violence or bullying; social dominance increases stress responses – ie subordinate children have more stress problems and SES exacerbates it.

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