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50 Years After March on Washington, 2013 Could be Fulcrum Moment for the Next Generation

GRAPH OF THE DAY

INFANT MORTALITY RATE BY RACE 1935-2007  Sources: The Urban Institute. Published in the MetroTrends Blog. August 26, 2013.

THE LOWDOWN

Negro Americans must march from the cemeteries where our young and our newborns die three times sooner and our parents die seven years earlier. They must march from there to established health and welfare centers. National Urban League Director Whitney Young, August 28, 1963.

Citing this passage, Laudan Aron clearly has two objectives in mind – commemorating the March on Washington and calling attention to the fact that disparities continue to exist in America when it comes to infant mortality, an important indicator of children’s health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released findings that should elicit a sigh of relief from all mothers breastfeeding their babies – mothers can safely take a majority of medications and receive most immunizations without fear of harming their child’s health. The 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study, a comprehensive survey tracking school health policies, finds increasing numbers of school districts, many through school-based health centers, have adopted practices that improve their students’ physical health. For a quick perusal of a fact sheet showing what schools have accomplished, look at this.

Five weeks remain until the ACA’s health exchanges open for enrollment. To provide parents with some clarity on the insurance coverage they can expect for their kids, key child policy experts participated in a ‘twitter chat’ to discuss the options awaiting parents under Obamacare. For access to insightful moments from this fact-laden discussion, check this out.

Kids may be settled into the routine of being back in school, but public education in the U.S. is in a state of total, agitated flux.

The Wall Street Journal predicts 2013 as a fulcrum moment in U.S. public education because of the prevalence of major reform initiatives taking root. But, in a ‘back-to-school’ Op Ed, Arne Duncan scolds Congress for failing to pass a replacement for No Child Left Behind; clarifies the role of the federal government in public education; and throws cold water on the disengaged public that still believes the American education system is the best education system in the world. Isabel Sawhill chimes in calling for a ‘little creative destruction’ in the education sector to bring down costs and raise quality. And, from Ed Source, a powerful essay on how school desegregation has been absent from education reform and enacted policy is worthy of an investment of your time.

Twenty-two years after Minnesota passed the Nation’s first charter school law, Time reports the performance of charter schools remains mixed. The ‘youth cult’ of teachers and administrators employed by charter schools is the topic of a controversial piece in the NYT. Read the divergent opinions of education professionals on this issue here.

Assessments in preschool are not a new practice. But, typically, they’re limited and specifically targeted to improve a child’s performance. A proposal by Washington D.C.’s public charter school board wants to change this and use assessments to tout school quality. According to the WaPo, parents are wasting no time in expressing their displeasure. To gauge how the proponents and opponents of universal preschool are sharpening their talking points, check out this Op Ed arguing against using a tobacco tax to fund the President’s program and this Op Ed using data from NIEER to make the case that available and affordable preschool benefits all 3- and 4-year-olds.

Between 2005 and 2011, the number of households with children under 18 who had at least one unemployed parent rose by 33%. According to Julia Isaacs, the impact of long-term parental unemployment is not negligible. When children are involved, it registers in poor grades and absence from school. In anticipation of the release of the new poverty numbers next month, NPR spotlights the flaws in the official U.S. Poverty Measure by comparing a junior in college who earns $8,000 doing odd jobs to a home health aide and single mother of 2 who earns about $23,000 a year. Guess whom the federal government considers ‘poor.’

Statistics from PPIC reveal that six million Californians live in households with incomes below the federal poverty level and nearly 1 in 4 California kids lives in poverty. The poverty rate for children living with single mothers is 45.7%. Ending on a more positive note, ‘thanks’ to $25 million in additional funding from the California Department of Education, 8,300 kids, who didn’t expect to be in school, are attending public pre-school this fall.

QUOTES OF THE DAY

A teacher is supposed to teach. There are too many hats.” Ouida Foster Toutebon, executive director of Head Start of Rockland, Inc. in New York expressing how the federal cuts to Head Start undermine effective teaching by requiring teachers to double up on non-teaching responsibilities.

this thing that every single mother is the poster child for the welfare state is nonsense… I know a lot of single moms who go out to work and do very, very well for themselves.” New Jersey New Jersey Senate candidate Steve Lonegan (R) responding to a question on how cuts in government programs like SNAP will impact single mothers trying to raise a family.

To become a master plumber you have to work for five years. Shouldn’t we have some kind of analog to that with the people we are entrusting our children to?” Ronald Thorpe, president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a nonprofit group that certifies accomplished teachers.

GRAPH OF THE DAY

CHILD POVERTY IN CALIFORNIA Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement. Published in Just the Facts from PPIC, August 2013.

INFOGRAPHIC OF THE DAY

ENCOURAGING TRENDS IN OUR NATION’S SCHOOL POLICIES ON NUTRITIION, PHYSICAL EDCUATION, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND TOBACCO Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. August 27, 2013.

INTERACTIVE OF THE DAY

ATTENDANCE COUNTS.  Source: BoostAttendance.org. Published in The New York Times, August 29, 2013.

 

HEALTH

Despite fifty years of improvements in infant mortality, large black-white gap remains unchanged

Most Medications OK During Breast-Feeding, Report Says

Pediatricians ease medication rules for breast-feeding; why college good-byes make parents cry: Omamas Take 5

 

Study: Most medications and vaccines completely safe for breastfeeding mothers

REPORT. School Health Policies and Practices Study 2012  Centers for Disease Control.

Exercise in, junk food out at nation’s schools, CDC study finds

How Obamacare Affects Children

 

EDUCATION

Biggest Changes in a Decade Greet Students

OP ED. America’s kids need a better education law

America's Two Most Troubled Sectors: Health and Education

Even In Birthplace of Charter Schools, the Grand Experiment Is At Risk

At Charter Schools, Short Careers by Choice

Do Teachers Need to Have Experience?

In shadow of March on Washington, schools increasingly segregated in California

 

PRESCHOOL

In D.C., controversy over academic testing has new frontier: preschool

Guest: Preschool for all Seattle students

Nonpartisan researchers fault Obama proposal to pay for preschool programs with increase in tobacco taxes

 

SOCIAL INEQUALITY

The number of homes with an unemployed parent rose by a third in just six years

A College Kid, A Single Mom, And The Problem With The Poverty Line

 

CALIFORNIA

Poverty in California

Child Poverty in California

Poverty Rate in California Continues to Exceed Rest of the Nation

California Department of Education to Expand Access to Preschools

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