Josh Greene: A Healthy Education
What is the purpose of school? Is it to get into college? Is the goal to acquire a job? Is the intention of an education simply to make more money? Absolutely not, the true mission of schooling is to prime children for the real world to the extent that they behave responsibly and benefit society. Therefore, the extent of the education has a direct relation with society. Surely, with the pressure on education to produce such excelling individuals, extensive studies have gone toward ideas that make education as effective as possible. One of the most natural relationships that has been tested is between public health and education. The inseparable association between the two has proven to be successful; in the twenty-first century, the bond is stronger than it has ever been before.[More...]
It is often overlooked, but health is a direct lead to educational success. Since one’s well-being is frequently taken for granted, most people do not associate the two. However, when health diminishes and the white blood cells have too much to handle, the effectiveness of the education dwindles. Jenny Smith (2003), the author of the bookEducation and Public Health, claims: “Most students in poor health have difficulty learning. Distracted by pain or discomfort, they are unable to concentrate on schoolwork” (pp. 3). With absences, a lack of concentration, or stress, any child will have a difficult time learning, no matter how efficient the school is, and no matter how bright the student is. Health is a necessity in the learning experience. A student in good shape tends to facilitate better academic achievement than a student with health problems. As a result, the well being of the public is directly related to the performance in the classroom. Thankfully, as a developed country, America has progressed dramatically in terms of healthcare. The advancements in technology and medicine throughout the past century have grown exponentially. Being at the healthiest point this country has ever seen, improved education will surely follow.
The relationship proves to be reciprocal. Kids that are highly educated tend to be healthier and will continue that habit throughout their lives. Smith (2003) states: “Students have the opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which fosters their ability to make better decisions about their own health. This is particularly relevant at the middle and high school level” (pp. v-vi). At the high school age, kids are being taught habits that they will carry throughout their lives. While educated kids have a healthy prospect, they are contrasted with the students who do receive such an education. Many adolescents who tend to become frustrated with their schoolwork cope with their problems poorly through high-risk activities such as substance abuse, alcohol, and sexual activity. These dangerous strategies only lead to lower health. Unfortunately, this results in a vicious cycle: lower health leads to lower performance in school.
Fortunately today, there are programs in place to help solve the health issue. For starters, attendance to school is mandated. By at least showing up to school, students are healthy because they are learning and are facilitated for an amount of time in which they are encouraged to make good decisions. As seen in Figure 1 below produced by the National Poverty Center (2007), a student’s health is directly related to education. Students with four more years of education are healthier than students who do not receive such education. In addition, the amount of preventative programs available to students can help educate them about the dangers of partaking in harmful activities. As a country, America has become more knowledgeable and in turn, more aware of the consequences of such behavior. Today, schools are more prepared to deal with these situations, and that is what makes the relationship so powerful.
The partnership between health and education in today’s environment has flourished to yield incredible results. The overall health of the country is shortly followed by the most influential prospects of the country: the education of the youth. With healthy lifestyles, these children will grow to become active and responsible role models for the subsequent generation. Schools are essential today because they not only teach students necessities, they train the young to become involved and prepared for the world that lies before them. With everything moving in the right direction, there seems to be a bright future ahead.
This graph displays the discrepancies between health effects for those who are educated and those who are not educated for four additional years.
From: “National Poverty Center,” by David Cutler and Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2007,Education and Health, par. 6.
Smith, J. (2003). Education and public health Natural partners in learning for life. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.
“National Poverty Center,” by David Cutler and Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2007, Education and Health, par. 6