How Lead Exposure Affects the Academic Achievement Gap
The Economic Policy Institute released a study last week discussing 5 different factors that can negatively affect students’ academic performance but cannot be addressed through educational reform. These 5 factors included: lead poisoning, different parenting practices, single parenthood, parents’ irregular work schedules, and inadequate access to primary and preventative healthcare. The goal of the report was to provide evidence and solutions for other issues beyond that classroom that might be increasing the achievement gap. “Economists, sociologists and developmental psychologists have consistently concluded that background characteristics strongly shape cognitive and behavioral outcomes. When school improvement is not complemented by policies to narrow social class differences, students’ chances of success area greatly diminished.” The report suggested that all children be tested for lead exposure and the authors believe that while lead abatement across the country would be expensive, the savings would “exceed the costs” in the long-term.