Global Warming Leads To Lower Academic Performance
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Intuitively, you and I may have always suspected that there could be a negative correlation between cumulative heat exposure and cognitive learning skill. Recently, major United States universities proved this suspicion by discovering that there is a “significant link between higher temperatures and lower school achievement.” A study published by National Bureau of Economic Research , Heat and Learning, showed that “some of this cross-sectional relationship between temperature and academic achievement is causal.” The study took a fairly unbiased look at the effects of heat. Given that the United States has a wide range of climates, this may be easily accomplished. This study revealed that for every 1 degree Fahrenheit (or 0.556 degree Celsius) increase in school year temperature, there was a 1% decrease in learning. These researchers examined and compared standardized exams results of SAT’s and the OECF’s Pisa tests to look at a standard level of performance around the country and compared with performance levels from other countries. The overall finding was that “hotter weather made it harder to study lessons in school and to concentrate on homework out of school.”
As the temperature rises resulting from global warning, these increased temperature also have a greater negative impact on lower income and minority communities. Income and heat are also related in other ways: Students living in higher income neighborhoods usually attend public and private schools with greater resources to spend on air conditioning. Students from higher income families also are more likely to be able to afford private tutors. Heat alone could account for about 13% of the racial achievement gap and there is no question that income inequalities can only widen that gap, increasing institutional disadvantages in life that these students have no control over.
In order to prevent the widening of the pre-existing academic opportunity gaps for low income and minority students, it is important to combat global warning. Even though the correlation or relationship between income, weather, and academic performance seems random and tenuous, the widening academic and wealth gap will continue to arise if global warming is left unchecked.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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