Sunday, September 10, 2017


Is there a causal relationship here?  If so, which way does it go?
American high school students with poor grades are much more likely to have unhealthy behaviors -- including illegal drug use -- than teens at the top of the class, federal health officials say.

There's a strong link between teens' health habits and their academic achievement, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey.

"As our nation's children embark on another school year, it's important to remember that health and academic performance are not mutually exclusive," said the CDC's director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald.
Read a little farther and my question is answered:
The study doesn't show a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Still, "these findings highlight the connection between student health and academic achievement. Schools, parents and communities can all work together to ensure a healthy and successful future for our children," Fitzgerald said in an agency news release.
Remember back during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations, when people who had no business getting a bank loan were given loans for houses?  The thought was something like, "People who have their own homes make more money, are less involved in the criminal justice system, are more invested in their communities, and are in general more stable and are better citizens.  If we get more people to own homes, we'll have more people who make more money, are less involved in the criminal justice system, are more invested in their communities, and are in general more stable and are better citizens."  The problem is that home ownership didn't cause those things, it was a marker for certain bourgeois values that contribute to success in our society.  Owning a house doesn't confer those values, but acceptance of those values makes it more likely for a person to own a house.

The same is probably true in the article linked above.  Students whose families have certain values, mores, and behaviors--eat a good breakfast, delay some gratification, stay out of trouble--are probably more inclined to do better in school.  For example, I find that a large percentage of my upscale students live with both parents; anyone who tells you that that isn't a big checkmark in the student's favor is lying to you.  Everyone knows that it is, on the whole, better for kids.  It's a marker, an indication, of certain things (in the aggregate).

What I'm saying is this:  kids who do poorly don't necessarily do poorly because of drugs.  They might do poorly and use drugs because they do not live in a family or community with values, mores, and behaviors that promote doing well in school and staying away from drugs.

Culture matters.

The bleeding hearts will say I'm blaming the "victim".  My reply is that mine is the most obvious answer, even if it is an "inconvenient truth" for them.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

I agree. Students don't fail because the system is out to get them-although that seems to be a popular game to blame right now. The students I see failing are often absent, their parents aren't involved, the kids aren't involved, most of the examples in their lives are people who are irresponsible adults who don't really give a flip over what happens at school. The pattern begins early, with parents who take their kids out of school for extended vacations. Then when the kid is a teen, they choose when to miss and play the system. There are too many kids left to raise themselves. And it's not always a socioeconomic thing.