10 things you should never say to your kid’s teacher

What you should never tell a teacher (Thinkstock)

As a parent, you know that advocating for your child is in your job description. So when an issue arises with the person who’s molding his or her young mind, you’re going to speak up. But it’s important to choose your words carefully. “As with anyone whose service you depend on, it’s in your best interest to avoid coming off as too critical or demanding to your child’s teacher,” says Suzanne Tingley, a former teacher, principal and superintendent, and author of “How to Handle Difficult Parents”.“Expressing your concerns in a neutral way usually leads to a more constructive conversation and a better outcome for your kid.” Read on to learn which statements, however well-meaning, can land you in the “troublemaker” category.Photo by Thinkstock.

 

“My son says you don’t give him enough time to finish his tests. I’d like to hear your side of the story.”

Laying out the situation and asking for the teacher’s “side” may seem like a diplomatic approach, but to the teacher it reads as an attack, followed by a twist of the knife. “The kicker is the second part because it suggests you are mediating between two equals, like siblings who can’t get along,” says Tingley. A better tactic: “Jake seems to be struggling with his tests. What are you seeing?” When you start from a place of information-gathering, as opposed to putting the teacher on the defensive, you’ll likely get a fuller picture of what’s going on, says Tingley. (And you’ll save yourself the embarrassment if it turns out your son has been doodling during every test.) From there, you and the teacher can decide on the best way to address the problem.

“Henry is acting out because he’s bored in class.”

“As a teacher, you spend your life trying to make school interesting and challenging,” says Carolyn Bower, a former kindergarten teacher in Bangor, ME. “When someone says class is boring, it means you haven’t done your job.” The statement also may not be entirely accurate. “Parents often say this in response to a teacher bringing up a behavior problem, when the actual issue is a lack of self-control on the student’s part,” says Tingley. So instead of starting off with an excuse, find out what’s really going on and promise to speak to your child. If you truly believe he’s not being challenged, steer clear of hurtful generalizations and mention a specific problem and solution: “Henry seems to have the multiplication tables down. Could we give him something more challenging?”

 

“My child would never lie. If she says she handed in the paper, she handed it in.”

Here, you’re implying that the teacher misplaced the paper or is bluffing-which are both places you don’t want to go. As hard as it is to hear, “kids sometimes lie when they’re feeling cornered,” says Tingley. Even if that’s not the case with your conscientious student, acknowledging the mix-up and suggesting a solution is the best way to help your cause. Try: “Amanda says she turned in the paper. I don’t know what happened to it, but I’d hate to have her take a zero. Can she hand in something late?”

“We’re going on vacation for a week. Can you put together a packet of my daughter’s work so she doesn’t fall behind?”

You may think you’re doing the responsible thing, but unfortunately, this typical request is a bit insulting. “You’re implying you can replace teaching with a packet of worksheets,” says Jan Copithorne, a middle school special education teacher in Highland Park, IL. On top of that, “it’s a lot of extra work to anticipate everything that will happen in class over a week and put it together for one child.” Because kids miss so much when they’re kept out of school, Copithorne advises against pulling them out for an extended period, unless there’s a truly important event or a family emergency. If you’re set on your plans, ask the teacher for a general overview, like what chapters will be covered in each subject, and accept that your child will need to play catch-up when you get home.
“I know my son doesn’t want to take your honors class next year, but he needs it for college so I’m insisting he sign up for it.”

Some kids need a little nudge; others know their limits. You probably have a pretty good idea where your child falls, so be honest with yourself, then ask for the teacher’s opinion-not her endorsement-about signing up for advanced classes. “No teacher wants to see a student forced into a place he doesn’t want to be,” says Tingley. (And no parent should, either.) “What often happens is the kid who isn’t yet ready for the challenge ends up getting demoted to a regular class, which then feels like a failure,” says Tingley. Karen Patterson, a high school language arts teacher in Upper Arlington, OH, has also seen students who sign up for too many high-level courses “absolutely self-implode.” Sometimes, “a kid may love and want to take advanced history and language arts, but Mom is making him take advanced math too,” says Patterson, who advocates a less-is-more approach, pointing to the benefits of a lighter workload: more time for extracurricular activities, which also look great on college applications.

“Why do you give so much homework?”

Your daughter has been up late every night working on a book report and presentation, both due in the same week for the same teacher. So naturally this is the first thing you want to blurt out at the next parent-teacher conference. The reason you shouldn’t is because you are in effect saying, “You don’t know how to do your job” and “Why don’t you care about my child’s well-being?” says Tingley. Instead, phrase your question this way: “Julie’s been having trouble getting everything done. Are other kids having trouble, too?” Referencing the rest of the class depersonalizes things and can provide you, and the teacher, with some helpful perspective. For instance, if everyone is struggling, the teacher may realize that her expectations are too high. (If she doesn’t, feel free to take your concerns to the principal.) If instead it sounds like your child is the exception, discuss getting her some after-school help or moving her to a different class.
“Matt has had so many after-school activities lately, he couldn’t finish the reading.”

In the hierarchy of your child’s life, you and his teachers are the bosses-and you’d never tell your boss you couldn’t do your job because you were busy with trombone lessons, right? “Young children tend to have a lot of activities, but when they get to middle school they can’t be booked from 3:00 to 9:00 every night and keep up with their work,” says Copithorne. As a general rule, plan on your first grader devoting about ten minutes per night to homework; for each subsequent grade, add ten more minutes, says Tingley. So a fourth-grader might have 40 minutes worth of work, while a high school senior has two hours, which should still leave enough time for a few of your child’s favorite activities. “Students who do sports and clubs are typically more engaged in school,” says Tingley. “So it would be a mistake to take them out of everything.”

“Dear Mrs. Jones: Why did you give Emma this grade?”

Email is a wonderful tool for communicating with your child’s teacher. But it shouldn’t be used for firing off every question that pops into your head, particularly when there’s a better way to go about getting the answer. “A full-time teacher might have 110 kids, and their parents are all emailing, too,” says Patterson, who sometimes receives messages like the one above after posting grades. With many concerns, including those about low grades, talk to your child first. If she can’t provide an explanation and is old enough, have her bring it up with the teacher in person-the best way to communicate when a question requires a lengthy response. “Especially at the high school level, kids should be taking on some of this responsibility themselves,” says Patterson. If your child or you doesn’t receive a satisfactory answer, by all means, send a (non-accusatory) note: “Can we talk about what Emma can do to bring up her science grade? I’m also available by phone if you prefer.” In other words, think before you (cyber) speak.
“My daughter and her friends don’t speak to Beth because she’s not in their group anymore. That’s not bullying; they have a right to choose their friends.”

No parents want to believe their child is being cruel to other kids, so when a teacher brings up an issue like bullying, it’s tempting to play it down. And yet, “teachers don’t make those calls lightly, so when we do, we need parents’ help in reinforcing lessons,” says Bower. This can be trickier with girls than boys, since female altercations tend to be more insidious, says Tingley. But you can help “stop the stuff you see.” Ask the teacher what behavior she has witnessed in the classroom and talk to your child about why whispering behind another student’s back, or passing notes about her, is wrong.

“I spoke to the principal about how you failed half the class on that last test and she said I had to take the matter up with you first.”

“If you really want to tick off a teacher, this is the way to do it,” says Tingley. “There’s nothing more annoying than when someone brings an issue to your boss before you’ve had an opportunity to correct it.” As a parent, you might be inclined to do this if you don’t feel like dealing with a teacher you dislike or if you’re upset about something, such as an unjust grade. Still, unless something truly egregious has happened, like a teacher threatened your child or grabbed him roughly, it’s the wrong move. “There are certainly problems that warrant the principal’s attention,” says Tingley. “But in most cases you should follow the chain of command.”

 

original post at: http://shine.yahoo.com/team-mom/10-things-never-kid-39-teacher-163700676.html

$1.7 billion parking meter case

A California woman claims “smart” parking meters are making her sick. And now, she wants nearly $2 billion because of it.

Denise Barton filed a claim against the city of Santa Monica, Calif., for $1.7 billion alleging the radiation from “smart” parking meters around the city are causing health complications, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

“In April, they started turning on the new smart meters downtown and I started getting sick,” Barton told ABC News.

On Aug. 6, Barton filed the $1.7 billion claim that gives the city 45 days to respond.

“I figured that’s the value of my life and health considering how much I had to go through as a child,” Barton told ABC News.

Barton, who experienced neurological damage following a car accident as a young child, added, “It’s also the value of taking away my choice of the best way to protect my health without my consent.”

The “smart” meters, which were installed by the city last March, allow drivers to use smartphones and credit cards to purchase metered time. The parking slots have sensors that will reset a meter when a parking space is vacated.

According to a spokesperson for the city of Santa Monica, “The meters use basic wireless technology that is commonly available and utilized in WiFi and cellular communications.”

Smart meters use a cell phone network to communicate for 2 to 4 seconds when a censor detects a vehicle or when a censor detects a vehicle leaving, assistant finance director Don Patterson told ABC News.

But it’s the high-tech capabilities that Barton alleged have caused ear infections and tightness on the back, left side of her neck and an irregular period.

“I know it seems a little big but they can’t do things that affect people’s health without their consent,” Barton told the Santa Monica Daily Press.

“I think that’s wrong,” she said.

Deb Hossli, a risk manager for Santa Monica, told ABC News the city’s liability adjuster is currently investigating to determine if the claim will be honored or rejected.

“We’re not concerned about any health risks. It basically uses a very weak WiFi signal that only communicates between the meter and the sensor in each space,” Patterson told ABC News.

Over the years, there has been much debate about whether cell phones can cause cancer. Earlier this year, the Environmental Health Trust called into question a report that found little evidence that cell phones were connected to brain cancer.

“The city doesn’t regulate communication,” said Patterson. “What we’re using is what basically is widely available cell phone technology. If you have WiFi in your house, it’s the same technology. If you have a cell phone, then that portion of the technology is the same.

“It’s all off-the-shelf technology,” he said.

 

original post at: http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/denise-barton-california-files-1-7-billion-claim-100035821–abc-news-savings-and-investment.html

‘Star Wars’ hover bike now a reality

The Aerofex hover vehicle undergoes flight tests in California's Mojave Desert. (Aerofex)

A resurrected hover vehicle won’t fly through dense forests as effortlessly as the “Star Wars” speeder bikes from “Return of the Jedi,” but its intuitive controls could someday allow anyone to fly it without pilot training.

The aerial vehicle resembles a science fiction flying bike with two ducted rotors instead of wheels, but originates from a design abandoned in the 1960s because of stability and rollover problems. Aerofex, a California-based firm, fixed the stability issue by creating a mechanical system — controlled by two control bars at knee-level — that allows the vehicle to respond to a human pilot’s leaning movements and natural sense of balance.

“Think of it as lowering the threshold of flight, down to the domain of ATV’s (all-terrain vehicles),” said Mark De Roche, an aerospace engineer and founder of Aerofex.

Such intuitive controls could allow physicians to fly future versions of the vehicle to visit rural patients in places without roads, or enable border patrol officers to go about their duties without pilot training. All of it happens mechanically without the need for electronics, let alone complicated artificial intelligence or flight software.

“It essentially captures the translations between the two in three axis (pitch, roll and yaw), and activates the aerodynamic controls required to counter the movement — which lines the vehicle back up with the pilot,” De Roche told InnovationNewsDaily. “Since [the pilot’s] balancing movements are instinctive and constant, it plays out quite effortlessly to him.”

But Aerofex does not plan to immediately develop and sell a manned version. Instead, the aerospace firm sees the aerial vehicle as a test platform for new unmanned drones — heavy-lift robotic workhorses that could use the same hover technology to work in agricultural fields, or swiftly deliver supplies to search-and-rescue teams in rough terrain.

Even the soldiers or Special Forces might use such hover drones to carry or deliver heavy supplies in the tight spaces between buildings in cities. U.S. Marines have already begun testing robotic helicopters to deliver supplies in Afghanistan.

The hovering drones would not fly as efficiently as helicopters because of their shorter rotor blades, but their enclosed rotors have the advantage of a much smaller size and safety near humans.

“They are less efficient than a helicopter, which has the benefit of larger diameter rotors,” De Roche explained. “They do have unique performance advantages, though, as they have demonstrated flight within trees, close to walls and under bridges.”

Aerofex has currently limited human flight testing to a height of 15 feet and speeds of about 30 mph, but more out of caution rather than because of any technological limits. Older versions of the hover vehicles could fly about as fast as helicopters, De Roche said.

Flight testing in California’s Mojave Desert led to the presentation of a technical paper regarding Aerofex’s achievements at the Future Vertical Lift Conference in January 2012. The company plans to fly a second version of its vehicle in October, and also prepare an unmanned drone version for flight testing by the end of 2013.

Nuke-proof bunker being sold on Ebay

(Photo via eBay)

A certain segment of the population likes to be prepared for the worst, and for many doomsday scenarios, decommissioned underground nuclear missile silos are the ultimate hideout.

Despite this, there are government-constructed nuke-proof bunkers, some of the strongest structures made by man, that have lingered on the market without selling, and their prices have been slashed.

One bunker has had its price slashed from $4.6 million to $750,000.

Interested in more? A website called Missile Bases has numerous others listed for sale as well. Truth be told, some of these sale-priced bunkers are fixer-uppers. But on the plus side, once all the basics are set up and supplies are stockpiled, if you ever do need to escape disaster, there will be plenty of time to work on home improvements in your bunker.

For the negotiable price of $399,000, you can also buy an Atlas F missile base (like the one illustrated at the top) in central Kansas on eBay. “Negotiable” is not to say owner Jeff Flaningam will sell at clearance-rack prices. There are currently four declined offers on the listing, but Flaningam indicated he may consider a partial trade of a yacht plus cash.

Let’s take a look at Flaningam’s decommissioned Atlas F silo.

(Photo of command center via eBay)(Photo of command center via eBay)Jeff Flaningam, the 37-year-old co-owner of Veritas Forge, a small product development company, bought this silo about three years ago. He was intrigued by decommissioned nuclear missile sites for years and says they’re like having the world’s toughest fort. He is the third owner of this site since the Air Force moved out.

“Most of these sites were decommissioned between 1962 and 65. From that point on, some of them sat before they were salvaged out,” Flaningam says, adding that most of the first owners of these silos were salvagers who were after the steel, copper wiring, and other materials. Flaningam’s silo was first purchased around 1970, he says.

Since taking ownership, he has spent a lot of time visiting working on the demolition of structural features as well as pumping out more than 90 feet of water that amassed in the silo over the years. (Water is no longer entering, and the command center and tunnels are not flooded.) He’s not a local resident, so he’s done all this on regular two-week trips from his Wisconsin home, which he makes several times a year in addition to long weekends in between.

Flaningam shows the site to potential buyers during these visits for a $1,000 nonrefundable fee, which he says weeds out the sightseers and helps to cover his travel costs. It can go toward the purchase price if the viewer ends up buying the property.

The last owner was absentee, says Flaningam, and because the original door rotted out, trespassers were able to get in and mark up some of the walls with graffiti. Flaningam has a new hydraulic door weighing around 3,000 pounds, but because it’s not installed yet, he welds the entrance shut every time he leaves.

The demolition effort is substantial, Flaningam says, but most of the demo is already done. “Once you’re done, it’s a shell where you bring in your wiring and it’s not a lot different from finishing off [a traditional house].

“It’s a giant basement, basically. In the late ’50s, early ’60s, it cost the taxpayers $15 million to build [each of] these giant basements.”

Adjusting for inflation, that’s about $130 million today. Suddenly $399,000 for an underground fixer-upper doesn’t seem quite so steep.

If the base doesn’t sell, Flaningam is open to investor opportunities, or else he will develop the command center into “extremely high-security luxury condos” and later develop the missile silo into more condos.

 

original post at: http://homes.yahoo.com/news/bunker-on-ebay-20120815.html

Man buries wife in yard

In this Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 photo, James Davis, 73, stands over the grave of his wife, Patsy, in the front yard of the home they shared in Stevenson, Ala. The city sued to make Davis move his wife's remains from the residential tract, and Davis is asking the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals to block an order requiring him to disinter her remains. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

STEVENSON, Ala. (AP) — James Davis is fighting to keep the remains of his late wife right where he dug her grave: In the front yard of his home, just a few feet from the porch.

Davis said he was only abiding by Patsy Ruth Davis’ wishes when he buried her outside their log home in 2009, yet the city sued to move the body elsewhere. A county judge ordered Davis to disinter his wife, but the ruling is on hold as the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals considers his challenge.

Davis, 73, said he never expected such a fight.

“Good Lord, they’ve raised pigs in their yard, there’s horses out the road here in a corral in the city limits, they’ve got other gravesites here all over the place,” said Davis. “And there shouldn’t have been a problem.”

While state health officials say family burial plots aren’t uncommon in Alabama, city officials worry about the precedent set by allowing a grave on a residential lot on one of the main streets through town. They say state law gives the city some control over where people bury their loved ones and have cited concerns about long-term care, appearance, property values and the complaints of some neighbors.

“We’re not in the 1800s any longer,” said city attorney Parker Edmiston. “We’re not talking about a homestead, we’re not talking about someone who is out in the country on 40 acres of land. Mr. Davis lives in downtown Stevenson.”

A strong libertarian streak runs through northeast Alabama, which has relatively few zoning laws to govern what people do with their property. Even a neighbor who got into a fight with Davis over the gravesite — Davis said he punched the man — isn’t comfortable with limiting what a homeowner can do with his property.

“I don’t think it’s right, but it’s not my place to tell him he can’t do it,” said George W. Westmoreland, 79, who served three tours of duty in Vietnam. “I laid my life on the line so he would have the right to do this. This is what freedom is about.”

Westmoreland declined to discuss his specific objections to the grave.

It’s unclear when the appeals court might rule. Attorneys filed initial papers in the appeal on Friday. The decision could come down to whether the judges believe the front-yard grave constitutes a family plot that requires no approval or a cemetery, which would.

In the meantime, Davis has protested by running for City Council. A campaign sign hangs near a bigger sign in his yard that says: “Let Patsy Rest in Peace.”

A law professor who is familiar with the case said it’s squarely at the intersection of personal rights and government’s power to regulate private property. While disputes over graves in peoples’ yards might be rare, lawsuits over the use of eminent domain actions and zoning restrictions are becoming more common as the U.S. population grows, said Joseph Snoe, who teaches property law at Samford University in suburban Birmingham.

“The United States Supreme Court has said that the states, and the cities through the states, have the power to regulate. But if it goes too far … then the government’s got to pay, and there are certain things the government just doesn’t have the power to do,” he said. “As we get bigger and as government gets bigger and as people are more regulated … you start having more and more disagreements.”

Davis, a longtime carpenter, built the family’s home on a corner on Broad Street about 30 years ago in Stevenson, a town of about 2,600 in northeast Alabama. Once a bustling railroad stop, the city is now so quiet some people don’t bother locking their doors. Stars twinkle brightly in the night sky; there aren’t many lights to blot them out.

Davis first met Patsy when she was a little girl. They were married for 48 years, but she spent most of her final days bedridden with crippling arthritis. Seated on a bench beside her marble headstone and flower-covered grave, Davis said he and his wife planned to have their bodies cremated until she revealed she was terrified by the thought.

“She said this is where she wanted to be and could she be put here, and I told her, ‘Yeah,'” Davis said. “I didn’t think there’d be any problem.”

There was, though. A big one.

After his wife died on April 18, 2009, the City Council rejected Davis’ request for a cemetery permit. The decision came even though the county health department signed off on the residential burial, saying it wouldn’t cause any sanitation problems.

Ignoring the council’s decision, Davis said he and a son-in-law cranked a backhoe and dug a grave just a few feet from the house. A mortuary installed a concrete vault, and workers lowered Patsy’s body into the plot in a nice, metal casket.

The city sued, and the case went to trial early this year. That’s when a judge ordered Davis to move his wife’s remains to a licensed cemetery. That order is on hold to give the state appeals court time to rule.

For now, Davis visits his wife’s grave each time he walks out the front door. He puts fresh artificial flowers on it regularly, and he washes off the marker when raindrops splatter dirt on the gray stone. At Christmas, he said, he and other relatives hold a little prayer vigil around the grave, which is beside an old wooden garage.

Edmiston said the man rejected several compromises from the city, including the offer of two plots in the municipal graveyard.

While state officials say they don’t know how many people might be buried on residential lots in Alabama, burials on private property in Alabama are not uncommon, said Sherry Bradley, deputy environmental director for the state Department of Public Health.

While the state can regulate cemeteries, Bradley said it doesn’t have any control over family burial plots. The city contends the grave at Davis’ home is an illegal cemetery that falls under government oversight, said Edmiston, the city lawyer.

If nothing else, Edmiston said, the appeals court might decide what constitutes a “family burial plot” in Alabama, and what’s a cemetery.

“It would be far-reaching if they say anyone can bury someone in their front yard if there are no drainage issues,” he said.

As it is, Davis said his five children will bury him in the yard beside Patsy after he dies, and they and his 15 grandchildren will care for the property from then on.

“That’s my perpetual care,” said Davis, referring to the city’s worry about what the grave will look like after he dies.

Davis is adamant that he won’t move the body, regardless of what any court says.

“If they get it done it’ll be after I’m gone,” said Davis. “So if they order her to be moved, it’s a death sentence to me. I’ll meet Mama sooner than I planned on it.”

original post at: http://news.yahoo.com/ala-man-fights-keep-wife-buried-front-yard-153303814.html

15 things women do that turn off guys

How women turn men off (Thinkstock)

If you are looking to attract a man with your fluffy false lashes and your flowing fake mane, it is time to take a different approach. We scouted the truth and discovered the things women do that make men turn the other way. All in all, men love to see the woman underneath the makeup, so ditch the dramatic routine and go natural for once.

“It gets on my nerves when women take too much time on makeup. You would think after a lifetime they would have the process down to less than 45 minutes!” -Christopher

“If she has to be at work at 6am and uses the hair dryer, it wakes me up. Then, just when I get back to sleep. She is wearing her heels in the bathroom and the kitchen. Click. Click. Can’t you wear slippers?” -Pablo

“I’m picky about oral hygiene – brushing, flossing, mouthwash. She has to brush her teeth before bed and in the morning before we kiss. That extra care once we reach a certain level of intimacy is important.” -Rod

“I can’t stand when she has wet hair after the shower and lays on my pillow, I usually roll over on the wet spot.” -Jeff

“My wife doesn’t dye her hair often enough. I don’t like to see those dark roots.” -Anonymous

“Certain scents turn me off. I don’t like anything cucumber or vanilla. I’ve told my girlfriend that I like her natural smell better.” -Josh

“I wish my girlfriend would get a manicure more often instead of doing it herself. She is pretty low-maintenance.” -Shaun

“I don’t like extensions because when you put your hands in her hair you can feel all the lumps. It might be good to look at but not to touch.” -Robert

“My wife spends 20 minutes after the shower putting on body lotion. Apparently it has to be applied evenly. For me, it is just a time suck.” -R.D.S.

“Those thick eyelashes that women put on are annoying. It makes a woman stick out and people know that they aren’t real. I like a woman who looks nice and natural. Regular people don’t need all those eyelashes.” -Lindsay

“Excessive tattoos. I think inappropriately placed tattoos are a turnoff. No matter how pretty she is. Plus, they are addictive. You get one, you have to have another.” -Anonymous

“I hate hair all over the sink and floor. I wish women would be mindful of how their beauty products and hair can clog up a common space, especially the bathroom.” -Stevie

“They don’t put caps back on things or they put it on but they don’t screw it on so when I go get something it spills.” -Connor

“I hate it when women wear any type of fragrance – I like showers.” -Bryan

original post at: http://shine.yahoo.com/beauty/15-biggest-beauty-turnoffs-real-guys-150900080.html

Best Way to Live Longer

One of the best ways to live longer (Corbis)

If you want to know how long you will live, you might stop fretting over genetics and family history and instead look at your educational achievements. Education is certainly not the only variable associated with longer lives, but it may be the most powerful.

Recent study findings published in the journal Health Affairs present a remarkable update to the already considerable research showing education to be a powerful predictor of longer life spans.

“The lifelong relationships of education and its correlates with health and longevity are striking,” the article said. “Education exerts its direct beneficial effects on health through the adoption of healthier lifestyles, better ability to cope with stress, and more effective management of chronic diseases. However, the indirect effects of education through access to more privileged social position, better-paying jobs, and higher income are also profound.”

While the findings are good news for educated Americans, they also indicate that medical and lifestyle breakthroughs that have triggered the much-publicized longevity revolution are not being enjoyed by less-educated Americans whose lifespans have fallen further behind over time. This trend has implications for the debate about raising the Social Security retirement age. It also adds a compelling mortality tale to the economic costs of the nation’s falling educational-achievement levels compared with other nations.

Within U.S. racial groups, educational achievement is associated with significant longevity benefits. But compared across racial groups, the longevity gap is even greater, which indicates continued race-based differences in how long Americans live. The Health Affairs article was co-authored by 15 leading academic experts in aging and longevity. The research was conducted by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on an Aging Society.

“We found that in 2008 U.S. adult men and women with fewer than twelve years of education had life expectancies not much better than those of all adults in the 1950s and 1960s,” the article said. “When race and education are combined, the disparity is even more striking.”

Within racial and ethnic groups, there was a pronounced longevity benefit when comparing people with 16 or more years of school with those with less than 12 years. Among women, the differences in life expectancy at birth were 10.4 years among whites, 6.5 years among blacks, and 2.9 years for Hispanics. Among men, the gaps were 12.9 years among whites, 9.7 years among blacks, and 5.5 years for Hispanics.

But the differences were more striking across all racial groups. “White U.S. men and women with 16 years or more of schooling had life expectancies far greater than black Americans with fewer than 12 years of education–14.2 years more for white men than black men, and 10.3 years more for white women than black women,” the article said.

“These gaps have widened over time and have led to at least two ‘Americas,’ if not multiple others, in terms of life expectancy, demarcated by level of education and racial-group membership.” Compared with similar 1990 measures, by 2008, the gap among men had widened by nearly a year, and among women, by more than two-and-a-half years.

“The current life expectancy at birth for U.S. blacks with fewer than twelve years of education is equivalent to the life expectancy observed in the 1960s and 1970s for all people in the United States, but blacks’ longevity has been improving with time,” the article said.

That hasn’t been the case for whites. “White males with fewer than twelve years of education currently have a life expectancy at birth equivalent to that of all men in the United States born in 1972, while white females with similar education have the life expectancy of all women in the country born in 1964,” it added. “And the longevity of these white males and females is growing worse over time.”

The impact of education on lifespans is so powerful, the authors said, that improving people’s health and lifestyle behaviors alone “are not likely to have a major impact on disparities in longevity.” The authors called on policymakers to “implement educational enhancements at young, middle, and older ages for people of all races, to reduce the large gap in health and longevity that persists today.”

original post at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/education-predictor-longer-life-161945519.html