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Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal


Volume 5: No. 2, April 2008

Reframing High School Dropout as a Public Health Issue [Response to Letters]


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Suggested citation for this article: Freudenberg N, Ruglis J. Reframing high school dropout as a public health issue [response to letters]. Prev Chronic Dis 2008;5(2).
. Accessed [date].

In Reply:

We agree with Dr. Fiscella (1) that school readiness is an appropriate measure for educational success and health and that early childhood interventions are an important component of the portfolio of interventions needed to improve educational outcomes in the United States, which lags behind other developed nations in its commitment to early childhood education (2). Developing objective and meaningful measures of school readiness without replicating the obsession with testing that characterizes the “No Child Left Behind” mandates is a challenge (3).

We also agree with Dr. Appleton-Arnaud (4) that helping parents through adult education and English-as-second-language programs could improve child, family, and community health.

However, we emphasize that, in our view, no single type of intervention in a single setting or at a single developmental stage can by itself create opportunities for improving health by improving education, or vice versa. By linking a wide array of educational, health, and other interventions, we can promote both good health and educational achievement, and we can reduce the unconscionable socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in both health and education.

Nicholas Freudenberg, DrPH
Hunter College School of Health Sciences
City University of New York
New York, New York

Jessica Ruglis
Graduate Center
City University of New York
New York, New York

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  1. Fiscella K. Preventing school dropouts should start in preschool [letter]. Prev Chronic Dis 2008;5(2).
  2. Starting strong: early childhood education and care. Paris (FR): Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; 2001.
  3. Berliner DC. Our impoverished view of educational reform. Teach Coll Rec 2006;108(6):949-5.
  4. Appleton-Arnaud J. Parental education key to health for parents and children [letter]. Prev Chronic Dis 2008;5(2).

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