When Child Care Costs As Much As College
INFOGRAPHIC OF THE DAY I
PERCENTAGE OF 3RD GRADERS WHO ARE ON TRACK IN EACH DEVELOPMENTAL AREA BY INCOME AND RACE. Source. The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, November 4, 2013.
The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, further reinforces the established fact that lifelong benefits accrue from investing in very young children. Relying on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, the Casey Report identifies stark disparities in cognitive development – finding only 19 percent of third-graders from families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level develop age-appropriate cognitive skills. Many of the report’s key findings and recommendations are discussed here.
The relevance of the report’s findings resonated across the country.
Read this from Kentucky about the importance of parental support systems. This article from Tennessee expresses concern over the growing number of kids raised in low-income homes. Folks from Arkansas exhibit disappointment over the flat funding for pre-k. Child policy advocates living in Detroit worry too many kids come to school hungry. Massachusetts uses the Casey data to give itself a ‘pat on the back’ for investing in kids and noticeably improving their well-being. The L.A. Times cites the report’s recommendations – calling attention to the fact that federal spending on young children is lowest at the time when most brain development occurs.
Here’s a grim reality: one out of every seven people living in the U.S. receives SNAP benefits and the primary group serviced by SNAP are families with children under 18. Now, because of the lapse of the 2009 stimulus, a financially struggling family of four receiving the maximum amount of monthly benefits – $632 – collects $36 less. The USDA calculates this reduction is equal to about a week’s worth of meals for a nine-year-old child. See this for how SNAP effectively alleviates hunger. For a pediatrician’s perspective on how food insecurity can lead to life-long developmental delays in children, read this.
According to a recent op-ed in the New York Times, poverty in the U.S. has gone mainstream and half of all American children will at some time reside in a household that relies on food stamps. To understand why these cuts systematically undermine the efforts of families still trying to dig themselves out from under the Great Recession, read this. Still not convinced SNAP successfully combats poverty, read a strong defense of the program here and, then, focus on this supporting data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure. CAP provides some food for thought on the program’s efficacy, here. A state-by-state analysis of the cuts in SNAP is provided by Pew.
Salon reports last year childcare costs surged – becoming the single largest expense for families in 22 states and the District of Columbia. In more than half of the states in the U.S., the cost of childcare is greater than the cost of tuition and fees at a public college and the fees for two children in a childcare center exceed the annual median rent payments in every state.
The escalating income inequality in the U.S. has not gone unnoticed. According to leading economists and the OECD, the U.S. has one of the highest rates of working poor among developed nations. The inherent inequality of the U.S. public school system – a system largely funded by property taxes – is addressed here. The reasons kids living in poverty arrive at school cognitively behind their peers are explained here.
As both policy and PR, the problems with the federal healthcare exchanges are real and need to be fixed. President Obama’s misstatements on the public’s ability to keep their existing insurance plans has hurt him in the polls and provided opponents of the ACA with strong ammunition. A canvassing of coverage on this issue reveals that many of the stories depicting people upset over losing their insurance plans are either more complicated than initially depicted, wildly overblown or intentionally misleading. To those seeking to exacerbate the situation purely for political gain, Ana Maire Cox says, “Stop the faux outrage.”
In search of candor and clarity? Jonathan Chait explains why letting everyone keep his or her current insurance plan is a terrible idea and uncovers what’s really behind the rate-shock-victim-obsession. Jonathan Cohn identifies two key facts overlooked about coverage in this debate. In the midst of all this hoopla, a survey released by the Commonwealth Fund should calm some of the concerns held by people supporting the law. To extract the facts and nothing but the facts about cancelled insurance plans, watch this video conversation between Justin Wolfers from Brookings and Jonathan Gruber from MIT.
QUOTES OF THE DAY
“…this is not the first place I would cut.” Isabel Sawhill commenting on America’s thin social safety net and why cutting SNAP benefits would not be her top priority.
“The bottom line is that the vast majority of O.E.C.D. countries either invest equally into every student or disproportionately more into disadvantaged students. The U.S. is one of the few countries doing the opposite.” Andreas Schleicher of the O.E.C.D. commenting on the inherent inequality of the U.S. public education system.
“These insights provide an opportunity to think about new ways we might try to reduce the academic achievement gap and health disparities – and not just do the same old things.” Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University on how the inner working of a child’s brain can help rectify emotional and cognitive disparities brought on by toxic stress.
“I was happy with my old plan, but I didn’t get to keep it.” Jennifer Thieme who was informed that, because of the new health care law, her policy will no longer be offered.
“It’s going to be difficult, as it already has been. I don’t understand why there’s all this government funding, all these programs, and why feeding down-and-out people is not as important as it should be.” Tabitha, a mother of a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old staying at a Culver City, Calif., shelter responding to the cuts in SNAP.
"If education is a poor child's best shot at rising up the ladder of prosperity, why do public resources devoted to education lean so decisively in favor of the better off?” Eduardo Porter in the New York Times writing about the disparities in quality that exist in U.S. public education favoring the rich over the poor.
CHART OF THE DAY I
SAFETY NET AFFECT ON POVERTY 2012. Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of data from the March 2013 U.S. Census Current Population Survey, published by CBPP, November 6, 2013.
CHART OF THE DAY II
EDUCATION v. PRISON COSTS. Source: U.S. Census Data and Vera Institute of Justice, published in CNN Money, November 2013.
SNAP AND POVERTY
OP ED. Poverty in America Is Mainstream. Mark R. Rank
OP ED. In Defense of Food Stamps. William A. Galston
EDITORIAL. The grim economics of food stamps. LA Times.
INEQUALITY and EDUCATION
THE ACA AND MISSTATEMENTS ABOUT KEEPING INSURANCE PLANS
SURVEY. Americans' Experiences in the Health Insurance Marketplaces: Results from the First Month. The Commonwealth Fund.