Category Archives: Children

Investing in Young Children: A Fact Sheet on Early Care and Education Participation, Access, and Quality

Source: Stephanie Schmit, Hannah Matthews, Sheila Smith and Taylor Robbins, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Fact Sheet, November 2013

High-quality early care and education can play a critical role in promoting young children’s early learning and success in life, while also supporting families’ economic security. Young children at highest risk of educational failure – those experiencing poverty and related circumstances that may limit early learning experiences – benefit the most from high-quality early care and education programs. This joint fact sheet, from CLASP and NCCP, reveals that significant underinvestment in early care and education programs at the state and federal levels has left large numbers of eligible children underserved.

Regulations Are Killed, and Kids Die

Source: Mariya Strauss, Nation, November 12, 2013

Under pressure, the Obama administration withdrew rules barring young laborers from dangerous work—a decision with grave consequences for several families. …

… People think of child labor as being a thing of the past in the United States, and to work most jobs kids do have to be at least 16. But from the start, the Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted in 1938, treated farmwork differently. In agriculture, kids as young as 12 can work legally. Provisions governing dangerous work are different in agriculture, too. The Labor Department has a list of “hazardous occupations” that kids can’t do until they turn 18; in agriculture, they can do them at 16, even though federal officials have found that farmworker youth are at “high risk” for fatal injuries. And that hazards list hasn’t been updated since 1970. Last year, that was about to change. In late 2011, the Labor Department, based on research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), had proposed an updated list of hazardous occupations in agriculture that would be off limits to kids under 16. These included working near manure pits or inside grain silos (the latter had trapped at least fifty-one workers in 2010, more than half of whom died), using power machinery, working outdoors in dangerously hot weather, climbing tall ladders, working with certain livestock, harvesting tobacco, and driving large farm vehicles or trucks on certain roads, as Michael had been doing. …

7 Policy Changes America Needs So People Can Work and Have Kids

Source: Stew Friedman, Harvard Business Review, HBR Blog Network, November 11, 2013

We are in the midst of a revolution in gender roles, both at work and at home. And when it comes to having children, the outlook is very different for those embarking on adulthood’s journey now than it was for the men and women who graduated a generation ago. I recently published research from the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project, comparing Wharton’s Classes of 1992 and 2012. One of the more surprising findings is that the rate of Wharton graduates who plan to have children has dropped by about half over the past 20 years. …

…My research, and that of others, increasingly points to the fact that the thwarting of young people’s aspirations is the result of external pressures that make having both a successful career and a child seem impossible. Our current capacity to meet this challenge is cause for very serious concern. But there is no one solution; partial answers must come from various quarters. Here are seven ideas for action in social and educational policy, based on my own research — described in Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family — and what others have learned:

1. Provide World-Class Child Care….
2. Make Family Leave Universally Available….
3. Revise the Education Calendar….
4. Support Portable Health Care….
5. Relieve Students of Burdensome Debt….
6. Display a Variety of Role Models and Career Paths….
7. Require Public Service….

We need a war on poverty, not teachers

Source: David Sirota, Salon, November 7, 2013

The right loves to demonize unions, but economic factors are much more important to success in the classroom…

…So what is the problem? That brings us to the new study from the Southern Education Foundation. Cross-referencing education data, researchers found that a majority of all public school students in one-third of America’s states now come from low-income families.

How much does this have to do with educational outcomes? A lot. Social science research over the last few decades has shown that two-thirds of student achievement is a product of out-of-school factors — and among the most powerful of those is economic status. That’s hardly shocking: Kids who experience destitution and all the problems that come with it have enough trouble just surviving, much less succeeding in school.

All of this leads to an obvious conclusion: If America were serious about fixing the troubled parts of its education system, then we would be having a fundamentally different conversation….

Parents and the High Cost of Child Care

Source: Rosemary Kendall, Child Care Aware of America, 2013

From the press release:
Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2013 Report, released today, reveals that families are paying more for child care, and are paying a significant part of their earnings for this care. In the last year, the cost of child care increased at up to eight times the rate of increases in family income.

In 2012, the average annual cost of full-time care for an infant in center-based care ranged from $4,863 in Mississippi to $16,430 in Massachusetts. For an infant in a family child care home, the average cost ranged from $3,930 in Mississippi to $11,046 in New York.

Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education

Source: Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Christina Weiland, Jeanne-Brooks-Gunn, Margaret R. Burchinal, Linda M. Espinoza, William T. Gormley, Jens Ludwig, Katherine A. Magnuson, Deborah Phillips, and Martha J. Zaslow, Society for Research in Child Development, Foundation for Child Development, October 2013

From the summary:
For the first time in a generation, national legislation on publicly-funded preschool education is the focus of prominent debate. The research brief “Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education,” reviews rigorous evidence on why early skills matter, which children benefit from preschool, the short- and long-term effects of preschool programs on children’s school readiness and life outcomes, the importance of program quality, and the costs versus benefits of preschool education.

Key findings include:

  • Large-scale public preschool programs can have substantial impacts on children’s early learning.
  • Quality preschool education is a profitable investment.
  • The most important aspects of quality in preschool education are stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children and effective use of curricula.
  • Supporting teachers in their implementation of instructional approaches through coaching or mentoring can yield important benefits for children.
  • Quality preschool education can benefit middle-class children as well as disadvantaged children; typically developing children as well as children with special needs; and dual language learners as well as native speakers.
  • A second year of preschool shows additional benefits.
  • Long-term benefits occur despite convergence of test scores.
    There are important benefits of comprehensive services when these added services are carefully chosen and targeted.
  • See also:
    Executive summary

    Pivot Point: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2013

    Source: Karen Schulman, Helen Blank, National Women’s Law Center, 2013

    From the summary:
    …Despite the importance of child care assistance, families in twenty-four states were worse off—having more limited access to assistance and/or receiving more limited benefits from assistance—in February 2013 than in February 2012 under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report. But families in twenty-seven states were better off under one or more of these policies in February 2013 than in February 2012. The policies covered are critical in determining families’ ability to obtain child care assistance and the extent of help that assistance offers—income eligibility limits to qualify for child care assistance, waiting lists for child care assistance, copayments required of parents receiving child care assistance, reimbursement rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job.

    This year’s trend—with the situation for families improved in slightly more states than in which it worsened—was more positive than in the previous two years, when the situation worsened for families in more states than it improved. In February 2012, families in twenty-seven states were worse off under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report, and families in seventeen states were better off under one or more of these policies, than in February 2011. In February 2011, families in thirty-seven states were worse off under one or more of these policies, and families in eleven states were better off under one or more of these policies, than in February 2010.

    Eating Our Young – The world is spending more on the old and skimping on the young

    Source: Anna Bernasek, Newsweek, October 25, 2013

    …Across the United States, whether it’s schools, food stamps, health care or entry-level jobs, the young are feeling the brunt of government cutbacks. With debt and public spending at the top of the Republican agenda, with the sequester already biting, and with GOP members pledging not to raise revenue through taxes in any circumstances, there has never been a worse time to need help from the government.

    This year, the young and vulnerable especially have been hit hard through automatic federal spending cuts to programs like Head Start, nutrition assistance, and child welfare. Financial crises in cities like Philadelphia and Detroit have meant another wave of school budget cutbacks. And the weak job market is hurting the youngest workers most, with youth unemployment more than double the national jobless rate….

    ….But is America overspending on its young? Public spending in the U.S. on children came to $12,164 per child in 2008, in current dollars, according to Kids’ Share, an annual report published by the Urban Institute. Of that total, about a third came from the federal government and two thirds from state and local governments.

    Compare that to what we spend on the elderly, which primarily comes from the federal government. According to the Urban Institute, public outlays on the elderly, in current dollars, was $27,117 per person in 2008, more than double the spending on children…..

    A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South and Nation

    Source: Steve Suitts, Southern Education Foundation, Research Report Update, October 2013

    A majority of public school children in 17 states, one-third of the 50 states across the nation, were low income students – eligible for free or reduced lunches – in the school year that ended in 2011. Thirteen of the 17 states were in the South, and the remaining four were in the West. Since 2005, half or more of the South’s children in public schools have been from low income households. During the last two school years, 2010 and 2011, for the first time in modern history, the West has had a majority of low income students attending P-12 public schools.