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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

CHASP Professor Cynthia Osborne to Study Health Effects on Early Education

Drs. Robert Crosnoe (PI) and Shannon Cavanaugh of the Department of Sociology,and CHASP professor Dr. Cynthia Osborne received funding from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) for a research project to evaluate the connection between child health and early education. "This research will help us to better understand how differentials in childrens physical and emotional health in early childhood affect the gap in school performance at school entry and in the elementary school years," says Osborne.

The NIHs Science and Ecology of Early Development (SEED) program is supporting Crosnoe, Cavanaugh and Osborne, all faculty members of the universitys Population Research Center, to specifically investigate the degree to which higher rates of health problems among race/ethnic minority and poor children prior to the start of elementary school put them at an academic disadvantage relative to their White and/or affluent peers once elementary school has begun.

To date, measures to improve school readiness fall short, notes Osborne. "Current policy efforts aim to increase the number of children enrolled in preschool as a way to increase school readiness among disadvantaged children. The findings from this research program will better inform policy makers about the importance of attending to childrens physical, psychological, and cognitive developmental needs as they make the important life transition to school, which sets the stage for all subsequent development."

The three-year research project will begin this fall. For additional information, please contact Dr. Osborne.