A Thurston County business leader expands on the future economic benefits of early learning investments, and a new state budget analysis finds that extending the two-thirds majority vote in the State Legislature would harm kids while hindering economic recovery. While high school graduation rates in the state have improved overall, students of color experience disproportionately higher dropout rates. This fall, federal nutrition guidelines will fortify school meals in King County. And a distinguished community leader and former school board member of Seattle schools comes out for kids as marriage equality in Washington hinges on the vote to approve Referendum 74.
According to data compiled by the business leaders organization, America’s Edge, kids who participated in one such program did much better in school than their peers who did not participate. For example, 40 percent were less likely to need special education or be held back a grade, 44 percent were more likely to graduate from high school, and the participating children were four times as likely to have earned a four-year degree by age 30 than kids who did not participate in early learning. As adults, these positive outcomes continued into the working world, with 22 percent of kids in high-quality early learning programs more likely to be employed at age 40 and 80 percent less likely to have used public assistance for long periods of time.
The Washington State Budget and Policy Center issued a new report today on the potential budgetary impact of Tim Eyman's two-thirds-supermajority-reimposing Initiative 1185, and well, the prospects don't look too good. The private sector has added 64,000 jobs since June of 2009, but our state and local governments have shed nearly 18,000 additional jobs over the same time period. That's 18,000 people who aren't spending their paychecks, and who aren't providing essential services in education, health care, child care, and other public sectors. Over that same period budget cuts have cost 66,000 Washingtonians their health coverage, and 22,000 people their disability benefits.
Children who struggle with health problems, family issues and military deployments need help when they have their education disrupted, he said. The problem is particularly acute for minority kids. While 76.6 percent of all Washington students graduated with the class of 2011, the figure hovered around 65 percent for black and Hispanic students and fell to 56.5 percent for Indians. “We are losing (roughly) half of our Native American students,” Dorn said. “We must do better.”
All school districts in King County are implementing the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements that include offering more variety and servings of fruits and vegetables. Students will need to take a half of a cup of fruit or vegetable for a complete meal. Meals will vary in size to meet calorie needs based on grade levels.
We will be soon voting to approve Referendum 74, the marriage-equality bill passed by the Legislature, and it is especially poignant that Cheryl Chow has come out as gay after 60 years of secrecy.… It is time to give up false syllogisms and stereotypes, and grant gays all their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, including marriage. Chow, dying of brain cancer, distinguished herself as schoolteacher, principle, Seattle City Council member, School Board member and as Chinese girls drill-team coach. Chow’s life work was public service, and nurturing and bettering the lives of youth.
Column: Physicians push for health care | The Seattle Times | 08-29-2012
A small group of doctors from around the country is going to the Republican National Convention this week and the Democratic National Convention next week to advocate for affordable health care. … They are supporting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as an imperfect, but important step in the right direction. "We are driven by the patients we see who need help," Dr. Lisa Plymate said, "and so many times our hands are tied when we see people who don't have any coverage.“ … She saw that when she worked at a community clinic in Toppenish, Yakima County, treating migrant farmworkers. Ability to pay was a particular problem for patients who needed to see specialists. Sometimes specialists would refuse to see them, and she'd have to send them across the mountains to the University of Washington Medical Center for treatment.
No Kid Hungry found that more than half of the teachers surveyed had purchased food for hungry children in their classes, and 1 in 10 of them bought food every week. This is an epidemic. When children are hungry, they aren't able to concentrate in class. They have headaches and stomachaches, and they suffer academically. Then comes the behavior challenges that leads to the cycle of poverty continuing because they aren't able to get the education they need in order to succeed.
Every child in this country must be equipped to perform. The country’s future financial stability depends on it. … But instead of dramatically upping our investment in our children’s education so that they’ll be able to compete in a future that has more educated foreign job seekers, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction. A White House report issued last Saturday noted that: “Since the end of the recession in June 2009, the economy lost over 300,000 local education jobs. The loss of education jobs stands in stark contrast to every other recovery in recent years, under Republican and Democratic administrations.” Not only is our education system being starved of investment, but many of our children are literally too hungry to learn.
Romney and Ryan both support transforming Medicaid from an entitlement with an open-ended budget and a guarantee of coverage into a "block grant" program that would provide states a set amount of money to spend on health care services for the needy each year. But it's not just about giving states more flexibility: It's about slashing $810 billion in federal spending on a vital component of the safety net -- without a plan for making up the difference.