Learning to Live Longer

Mark Milliron Catalytic Conversations Civitas Learning Space

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Gina Kolata has a fascinating article in today’s NY Times that is a must read for those interested in education, healthcare, and quality communities. The long and short of the research reported in the story is that the longer you stay in school, the longer you live. Education is more important than ethnicity, income, and a host of other expected key variables. The root of the hypothesized effect of education on life span is related to the ability of a more-educated person to make good choices, delay gratification, and consciously make decisions that positively impact health. While the studies abound that explore the learn to earn relationship—the more you stay in school, the more you earn—we rarely talk about the significant impact of education on health and wellness in our public policy debates. But this story raises the bar. How can any right-thinking politician or policy maker not care deeply about expanding and improving education access and success with these kinds of stakes? Or, at the very least, how could they not become deeply interested in finding out more. My favorite part of the article is that the education effect doesn’t end as life goes on. Indeed, it doesn’t matter when you learn, just that you learn. So, pick up a book—your life is at stake 🙂