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Could 'social impact bonds' restore the Land of Hope and Dreams?





















REVISITING THE MOYNIHAN REPORT:  The Percentage of Children Living with their Biological Mother and Not their Biological Father by Race and Ethnicity 1960-2010.  The Urban Institute.  Published in The Atlantic.  














If the $96.3 Billion allocated in the California Budget was distributed among 12 pots, here’s what the pots would be labeled:  Taxes.  K-12 Schools.  Higher Education.  Medi-Cal.  Welfare.  In-Home Care.  Courts.  State Workers.  Mental Health.  Child Care.  School Energy.  Miscellaneous.  The Fresno Bee lifts the lids and dips into these pots to reveal which ones hold the lion’s share.  READ»

The LA Times makes a strong argument that the recent budget decisions made in Sacramento—especially those pertaining to healthcare, K-12 schools and social services—could serve as a template worthy of being emulated across the country.  READ» 

For balance, you just can’t beat the editors at The Economist.  In their analysis of California’s finances before, during and after the passage of the State budget, they tip their hats to Jerry Brown for tempering his ‘visionary impulses’ with ‘ruthless fiscal rectitude.’  But, they warn California’s long-term fiscal well-being remains rickety given the $Billions owed in outstanding debt, unfunded pensions and the State’s dependence on income taxes and capital gains.  READ»

Coming on the heels of the re-launch of the children’s initiative, Too Small to Fail, the joint effort between the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, Ann O’Leary, Vice President and Director of the Children and Families Program at Next Generation, addresses the rate of child poverty in California—which is now at nearly 23%.  Her forthright assessment that the prospects for children born into poverty are grim because too many of these kids start school at a disadvantage reiterates the call for investing in early education—not only because it’s the morally correct thing to do, but because the economic future of California depends on it.  READ»

Jonathan Cohn explains why Hillary Clinton’s entry into the debate on how to improve early childhood care and education is the best chance kids 0-5 have of keeping the people on the Hill and those involved in state governments across the country focused on them, their needs and their sociopolitical agenda.   READ»

Fifty years ago the U.S. Department of Labor released “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” a controversial account of poverty in the African-American community.  Written by Daniel Patrick Moynihan before he became Senator Moynihan from New York, the report contained statistics about the breakdown of the black family structure that shocked the American public.  Now, new research released by the Urban Institute  compares the social and economic status of African American families in 1965 to their condition today and finds that the alarming statistics in the report back then have grown worse, not only for blacks, but for whites and Hispanics as well.  READ»

Land of Hope and Dreams is the title of a song written by Bruce Springsteen.  It’s also the title of a speech given by economist Alan Krueger that discusses how the erosion of the institutions and practices that support shared prosperity in the U.S. have put the middle class under increasing stress—undermining even their children’s chances of advancement through education.  Krueger contends being born in the USA just ain’t what it used to be in this new winner-take-all and leave little for the rest American economy.  READ»

A $7 Million loan may serve as the future model for funding preschool programs across the country.  The loan in question, a ‘social impact bond,’ finances a preschool program for disadvantaged children in Utah and is the brainchild of a collaborative effort between Goldman Sachs and private-equity investor J.B. Pritzker.  The lenders’ return on investment depends on the future performance of the children in elementary school and comes from the revenue saved by not having to pay for special or remedial education.  READ»

For a number of reasons, the successful implementation of the ACA rests disproportionately on convincing young people to sign up and purchase health insurance.  Speculating, on whether or not they would, has been driving health policy wonks crazy.  Today, with the release of their June tracking poll, the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation reveals 7 out of 10 young adults ages 18-25 consider having health insurance as “very important” and 76% of the same age group admit “insurance is something they need.”  READ»

Fortified with a proven, well-organized ground campaign, Organizing for Action, the successor to the Obama campaign arm, also plans a major educational ad campaign to champion the ACA as it moves toward implementation.  Kicking off the effort is a new ad posted on You TubeThe impact of ObamacareREAD»

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released two reports that provide insight into the health-care initiative.  The first study — co-produced with the Urban Institute—examines the implementation efforts in 3 states that opted not to run their own health care exchanges: Michigan, Virginia and Alabama. The second study examines the level of completion in states that have opted to run their own exchanges.  READ»

Offering insight into how the expansion of Medicaid will impact the quality of care delivered by the states under the ACA, Health Affairs examines the experiences of the six “early expander” states—California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington – through qualitative interviews with 11 high-ranking Medicaid officials from across all six states.  Overall, coverage and access to care improved; but administrative challenges, costs and enrollment still remain uncertain.  READ»

The AMA has declared obesity a disease.  Obesity affects 17% of children in the United States and the new categorization effectively defines 12 million children as having a medical condition—making the diagnosis and treatment of obesity a physician's professional obligation.  READ»

11% of all American children ages 4 to 17—over 6 million—have ADHD, a 16% increase since 2007 and more and more frequently the doctors treating these kids prescribe some variety of amphetamine.  Given the explosion in the number of new diagnosed cases and the addictive quality of the drugs used to treat it, two prominent doctors question the rise in reported cases of ADHD among children and they call for randomized trials to help determine if prescribing Ritalin and Adderall increases the risk of future substance abuse.  READ»

Women living in high-pollution areas are twice as likely to give birth to a child with autism according to a new study from Harvard University’s School of Public Health.  The new research establishes a causal link between high levels of diesel particulates or mercury in the air with the disorder and reaffirms the findings of an earlier study conducted in 2006 from the California Department of Health Services.  READ»

As of July 1, 2013, Aetna will no longer sell individual health insurance policies in California.  The decision impacts 50,000 existing policyholders but does not impact Aetna policyholders with dental, Medicare and life insurance policies or individuals who are covered by health insurance under employer-provided plans.  READ»

The Department of Education announced a one-year reprieve on federal guidelines requiring states to link student test scores to teacher personnel decisions.  The WSJ reports the decision follows a backlash against the Common Core Standards waged by educators who complained more time was needed to implement the new math and reading curriculums.  The decision impacts all school districts nationwide, even failing district that were awarded waivers by the Obama Administration from provisions of the No Child Left Behind law.  READ»

A provocative essay written by Rebecca Strauss draws on research in a new report, “Remedial Education: Federal Education Policy,” from the Council on Foreign Relations.  In her essay, Strauss contends the American education system is actually two parallel systems—one generously funded and excellent but restricted because of class to wealthy elites and the other an underfunded morass that educates everybody else.  By closely scrutinizing the federal government’s funding policies on education, particularly the recent decisions made by the Obama Administration, Strauss shows how the best intentions have inadvertently perpetuated a two-tiered system that only lifts up a tiny segment of the American population.  READ»



"It's a compromise between the people who want to spend a little more and the people who want to spend a lot more." Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) commenting on the passage of California’s budget, quoted in the SF Chronicle. 

"This budget … reduces the repayment of education deferrals by $650 million. And it continues to borrow $500 million in the cap-and-trade program. Worse, this budget does not use all of Prop. 30 as was sold to the voters … That's no way for California to become a leader in education or the environment." Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands) commenting on the passage of California’s budget, quoted in the SF Chronicle.  

"California is back."  Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) commenting on the passage of California’s budget, quoted in the SF Chronicle.

"All the complexities of a large industrial nation reside here.”  Jeff Goldsmith, President of Health Futures, describing why implementing the ACA will be such a huge undertaking in California, quoted in the California Healthline

We are not going to have an effective solution to the growing inequality and poverty in the U.S. unless we can do something about family structure.”  Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution commenting on the issues raised in “The Moynihan Report Revisited” from the Urban Institute, quoted in the Washington Post.  

The disparity was tiny…” How the New York Times described the new census data revealing that deaths exceeded births among non-Hispanic white Americans for the first time in at least a century. 

The Flexibility Stigma”—a term coined by Joan C. Williams, founding director of the Center for Work-Life at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, describing why both men and women are apprehensive about using the flex time options provided to them by their employers.  

“Our progress as a state and a nation will depend on our ability to look at a child's early life not merely as a stage on the way to adulthood, but as the basis for everything that will follow.”  Ann O’Leary arguing for greater investment in programs and policies effecting young children, from the SF Chronicle.  



What's in the new California state budget?  

California passes a budget that could be a federal template.  

Redemption song.  

OP ED. Childhood programs need state's support.  Ann O’Leary 


Early Childhood Gets What It Needs: A Star Supporter.  


Was the Moynihan Report right? Sobering findings after 1965 study is revisited.  


With focus on middle class, plan aims to recharge economy.  

How Rock 'N' Roll Can Explain The U.S. Economy.  


Novel Investment to Boost Preschools.  


Young Adults Want and Value Health Insurance.  

OFA to launch Obamacare campaign.  

Studies offer hope for Obamacare, but the picture remains incomplete.  

Lessons From Early Medicaid Expansions Under The Affordable Care Act.  

AMA declares obesity a disease.  

OP ED.  A Nation of Kids on Speed.  Pieter Cohen and Nicolas Rasmussen.  

Autism Is Twice As Likely In Children Living Near High Air Pollution Areas.  

Aetna will exit California's individual health insurance market.  


Schools Get Reprieve on Teacher Mandate. 

OP ED.  Schooling Ourselves in an Unequal America.  Rebecca Strauss 


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