In this edition, the Tacoma News Tribune quotes Sen. Karen Keiser on covering all children in Washington state just as a $17.6 million federal performance bonus rolls in for Apple Health for Kids’ outstanding enrollment. In other news, charity organizations and food banks say they cannot bear the brunt of increased demand from proposed state cuts, and KING 5 News links investment in early learning to bridging the achievement gap in the K-12 system.
Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposals for closing a $5 billion, two and a half year budget shortfall call for dropping 27,000 of those children from the state insurance rolls March 1. Opponents of the cut are taking heart from a Christmas bonus of sorts Washington state received this week: a $17.6 million federal performance bonus for success in enrolling uninsured children in Medicaid…. “I’m going in with high hopes that we can keep all children covered,” said Sen. Karen Keiser.
Officials with some of the state's charities say that while they'll continue to offer as much support as they can, their ability to increase that help is heavily reliant on more support from a community already facing hard times.
A study from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction identifies kindergarten preparation as a key component in bridging the achievement gap that exists in the K-12 system. That same study indicates fewer than half of students entering kindergarten are adequately prepared.
Acknowledging that poverty matters means that we have to counter its effects when children come to school -- making sure they eat, can see, hear, aren’t exhausted – and more broadly, address the causes of poverty on a societal level.
One thing most people seem to agree on, especially in difficult economic times, is that investing in our children makes the most compassionate as well as economic sense for our future as a country. With that in mind, the National Center for Children in Poverty, a think tank at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, strongly recommends that states prioritize those efforts aimed at keeping children healthy and secure.