In this week’s edition, an early learning leader asks state and federal lawmakers to take a balanced approach to the budget so kids won’t have to bear the burden of an economic crisis. Also, one firefighter argues that Initiative 1183 puts kids at risk, the Department of Early Learning seeks $60 million in federal funds to improve Washington’s pre-kindergarten programs, and a national columnist says that investing in early childhood education may be the key to addressing structural inequality.
Op-Ed: Washington children paying the biggest price in economic downturn | The Seattle Times | 10-22-2011
Our elected officials in Olympia and Washington, D.C., should support a balanced approach that grows the economy. …We should not ask those who can least afford it – our poorest children – to carry the burden. Instead, let’s continue to invest in programs like Head Start and ECEAP that help poor children escape poverty and save taxpayers money in both the short and long term.
Jerry Large: Poverty Report: What’s the cost of living? | The Seattle Times | 10-23-2011
The report looks at what it costs for housing, food, child care, transportation, taxes ... and it adjusts those costs for different kinds of families and for each area of the state. …A single parent with a preschooler and a school-age child in Seattle needs to earn $56,904 a year. … We have social programs and tax adjustments because there should be a minimum standard for life in America, and because helping families survive economically ultimately makes our communities better. The child who gets sound nutrition and a good start in school is more likely to grow up to be a productive adult than the child who lacks those basics.
Over 20,000 people (and counting) have lost needed job support | Schmudget blog (Washington State Budget & Policy Center) | 10-20-2011
Washington state’s WorkFirst program provides the assistance these families need to find and keep a job, through education, training, job search, child care, and financial assistance. But just as those supports are becoming increasingly important in light of a dismal job market, the rug is being pulled out from underneath thousands of families… Earlier this year, a 60 month time limit was enforced for families receiving WorkFirst benefits. The result: over 20,000 adults and children have been left without necessary help to find work, maintain housing and care for their children.
No on I-1183: Privatizing liquor puts kids at risk | Kitsap Sun | 10-20-2011
Quite simply, it puts our kids and families at risk. We know that when liquor is more available, people drink more, and some people drink too much. That's why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against liquor privatization earlier this year. The public health experts determined that privatization results in a nearly 50 percent increase in alcohol consumption, and that means more problem drinking. And here's another statistic: alcohol kills more kids than any other drug combined, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
State seeks Race to the Top Federal Funds | The Olympian | 10-19-2011
Washington state is asking the federal government for $60 million over the next four years to expand its kindergarten readiness assessment and its child care rating system statewide. ... Agency Director Bette Hyde is confident about the state’s chances in the third round of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition.
Free or reduced priced lunch programs growing at Spokane Public Schools | Northwest Cable News | 10-18-2011
More and more students are signing up for free and reduced priced lunch programs at local schools, causing Spokane Public Schools to do some adjusting. Putting one child in the free lunch program for an entire school year can save a family about $800.
Repeating Martin Luther King Jr.'s call for health-care equity | The Seattle Times | 10-18-2011
Two generations ago, when Dr. King issued a stinging indictment of the inequalities of the health of Americans, I had no idea how much his words would affect my life, or all of our lives. He said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane." He was spot on then and it's spot on today.
Op-Ed: Occupy the Classroom | The New York Times | 10-19-2011
Although part of the problem is billionaires being taxed at lower rates than those with more modest incomes, a bigger source of structural inequity is that many young people never get the skills to compete. They’re just left behind. “This is where inequality starts,” said Kathleen McCartney, the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as she showed me a chart demonstrating that even before kindergarten there are significant performance gaps between rich and poor students. Those gaps then widen further in school. “The reason early education is important is that you build a foundation for school success."
Minorities Would Be Hard Hit By Medicaid Cuts, Study Warns | Kaiser Health News | 10-13-2011
Blacks and Latinos would be among those hardest hit if Medicaid funding were cut as part of a deficit-reduction package, according to a new report released today … In these communities, more than one in four people rely on Medicaid, the shared federal-state health program for the poor, compared with fewer than one in eight whites. Blacks and Latinos are not only more likely than whites to suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and certain cancers, but they are also more likely to experience complications, to have poorer outcomes and to die prematurely from those conditions.