Posts tagged ‘Health’

September 6, 2011

Unemployment’s Far-Reaching Effects

by Vince

Ezra Klein digs into a few studies that exposes the health and educational pains inflicted on pupils and families as a result of unemployment:

Last year, Mike Konczal flagged a 2009 study by Ann Huff Stevens and Jessamyn Schaller of UC-Davis that examined the relationship between parental job loss and children’s academic achievement, drawing on data about job loss and grade retention from 1996, 2001 and 2004 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation:

We find that a parental job loss increases the probability of children’s grade retention by 0.8 percentage points, or around 15 percent. After conditioning on child fixed effects, there is no evidence of significantly increased grade retention prior to the job loss, suggesting a causal link between the parental employment shock and children’s academic difficulties. These effects are concentrated among children whose parents have a high school education or less.


In the end, the researchers concluded, “one percentage point higher unemployment rate leads to a 0.3 percentage point increase in the probability that a child repeats a grade.” If this is true, Konczal points out, the cumulative impact of unemployment is staggering. “There are roughly 55 million students in K-12 in the country right now. If unemployment is 1% higher that means, roughly, 165,000 additional years of schooling will be repeated,” he writes.

But just as children are at higher risk of underachieving, education budgets are being slashed across the country as the economy remains anemic and the politics of austerity have taken hold. It’s a continuous pile-up that could have lasting damage that goes well beyond sheer employment numbers.

March 26, 2011


by Vince

A reader responded via Facebook to the question(s) of the weekend:

It always seems like they like to take some industry currently heavily restricted by government regulation, find some way that it’s flawed, and mark it off as a failure of the free market, and evidence that the industry needs more government intervention. Postal Service, Education, Hospitals, Banks, Automobiles, Health Insurance. These are things that started out private, and became crippled by regulation. Then they swooped in and said “oh look, it’s not functioning. The free market could never provide that functionality, so let’s have the gov’t provide it” usually shortly accompanied by entirely outlawing private industry in that sector.

January 15, 2011

Food for a Lazy Saturday

by Vince

Jonah Lehrer has a piece on the benefits of taking a vacation. It seems the common wisdom of today is that vacations revieve us and help our performance in work, school, and life in general. I ask this: what if some of us cannot afford a vacation to a far away, exotic location, much less a week long get away?

In college, I use to take Saturdays to disconnect; be away from school, the computer (the best I could), and get outside. I believe Lehrer’s article can be beneficial for those of us simply looking to let go on our day(s) off:

Too often, we fail to consider the ways in which our surroundings constrain our creativity. When we are always “close” to the problems of work, when we never silence our phones or stop responding to e-mail, we get trapped into certain mental habits. We assume that there is no other way to think about things, that this is how it must always be done. It’s not until we’re napping by the pool with a pina colada in hand — when work seems a million miles away — that we suddenly find the answer we’ve needed all along.

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October 3, 2010

Acceptance Speech

by Vince

By David Yezzi. Circa 2007.

Accept the things you cannot change:
the bleating clock,
the nightly go
—dog leash in tow—
around the block,

neural chemistry,
patchy hair,
a longing stare
and X-ray eye,

and the niggling fact
that things will stay
roughly this way,
to be exact.

Forgive the things you cannot have:
the supple bod,
taut undergrads,
a nicer pad,
long chats with God,

an older name,
your peers’ respect,
the oll korrect,
unbridled fame,

a sense of ease
in your own skin,
a lighter burden
by degrees.

not yet, but after
your will resigns
a few more times
with heavy laughter.

The life you’d swap for on the train
(sight unseen)
is much like yours
though it appears
more green.

So, why this pain
that shorts the breath
and spoils your health?
You grow serene—

September 24, 2010

Sit Back

by Vince

After two days in the classroom for the first time in months, I am exhausted. Getting back into that groove may take time (I am losing 1-1.5 hours of sleep each night) but it is ultimately the direction I want to go in. In this new phase of life, I hope I can evolve and find the energy to blog, to read, and to not get so easily angry after spending 7.5 hours of being with teenage kids.

So tonight, as I sit and look out the window at a mountain range and wait for some homemade pizza to be cooked, I am thankful for these getaway weekends. I am thankful for XPN to be in my area. I am thankful for health and staying in the continual presence of the sacred One.

I am also thankful for this video. Thanks, DT! Cheers.