In this edition, you’ll find an opinion piece stressing the important role that early learning plays in laying the groundwork for a strong K-12 system. You’ll also find nationwide polling on school lunch quality and an opinion piece supporting a tax on high earners as a long-term revenue solution for the state.
Picture an arborist puzzled by an ailing tree. He has tried
giving it more water. He has protected it from blight. Why won't it
grow? If the tree stands for public education, the arborist is today's
education reformer. Ideas continue to pour forth on how to help
students, fix schools and revamp No Child Left Behind. But none tackles
the environments the tree experienced as a sapling, when its roots never
got the chance to stretch out and dig in.
Efforts to improve school lunches have begun across the
country, but many people say the food still doesn't make the grade, a
new poll says. More than half of Americans (55%) say the nutritional
quality of the food served at their local schools is "only fair" or
"poor." About 63% of parents with school-age children feel that way.
In our state we have excused the wealthy from paying a fair
portion of their income to support public services. While middle class
families pay about 11 percent of their income in state and local taxes,
and low income families pay about 17 percent, the families in between
the 95th percentile and 99th percentile of income pay less than 5
percent and the top 1 percent of families pay only 2.6 percent. That
means middle class families pay quadruple the tax rate of the very
The statistic is hard to swallow: in the U.S., nearly one in
three children under the age of 18 is overweight or obese, making being
overweight the most common childhood medical condition. These youngsters
are likely to become heavy adults, putting them at increased risk of
developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other chronic
ailments. In February, First Lady Michelle Obama announced a campaign to
fight childhood obesity. Helping parents and schools to instill
healthier habits in kids is an important strategy in this battle. But
the government must take further steps to solve the problem.
The Washington Policy Blog takes issue with money set aside in
the state’s budget to administer a tax cut that will benefit some of the
working families hit hardest by the recession. To set the record
straight, here’s some information they left out.