Category Archives: Children

Community Eligibility: Making High-Poverty Schools Hunger Free

Source: Madeleine Levin and Zoë Neuberger, Food Research and Action Center & Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 1, 2013

From the summary:
“Community eligibility” is a powerful new tool to ensure that low-income children in high-poverty neighborhoods have access to healthy meals at school. Established in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the option allows schools in high-poverty areas to offer nutritious meals through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to all students at no charge. More than 2,200 high-poverty schools serving nearly 1 million children in seven states — one in ten children across these states — operated under community eligibility during the 2012-2013 school year.

Community eligibility is making a profound difference for students and schools. Findings from Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan, where school districts first implemented the option in the 2011-2012 school year, show ongoing growth in the number of schools choosing community eligibility and a striking increase in the number of students eating school breakfast and lunch….

…This report analyzes the scope and impact of community eligibility in the seven states that implemented it in the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. (Four more states are starting in the 2013-2014 school year.) It is meant to serve as a guide for states and school districts as the nationwide rollout of community eligibility approaches. It explains and provides resources related to how community eligibility works, how it helps participating schools and families, how to operate without school meal applications, and how stakeholders can prepare to implement the option when it becomes available in all states for the 2014-2015 school year.

Seeking Shelter: The Experiences and Unmet Needs of LGBT Homeless Youth

Source: Andrew Cray, Katie Miller, and Laura E. Durso, Center for American Progress, September 2013

From the summary:
In this report, we once again explore who LGBT homeless youth are, how they become homeless, how their needs are being addressed, and what the federal government can do to eliminate homelessness among LGBT youth. In particular, we stress the following policy priorities that can assist in preventing homelessness among LGBT youth and change their lives for the better:
– Reauthorize the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act with LGBT-specific provisions.
– Establish standards that protect LGBT youth from bullying and harassment in schools.
– Support initiatives that strengthen families with LGBT children, and that promote acceptance and understanding between parents and children.
– Disassemble the school-to-prison pipeline.
– Initiate efforts to research LGBT youth homelessness and track demographic data on homeless youth that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

These five policy recommendations would bolster the efforts of service providers around the country, creating a comprehensive framework to address the challenges in building effective homeless-service programs. No policy, program, or study will eliminate LGBT youth homelessness today, in a month, or even in a year. But developing a cohesive federal approach to this pressing issue is a necessary step toward giving all youth safe homes and brighter futures….

Children’s schooling and parents’ behavior: Evidence from the Head Start Impact Study

Source: Alexander Gelber, Adam Isen, Journal of Public Economics, Volume 101, May 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Parents may have important effects on their children, but little work in economics explores whether children’s schooling opportunities crowd out or encourage parents’ investment in children. We analyze data from the Head Start Impact Study, which granted randomly chosen preschool-aged children the opportunity to attend Head Start. We find that Head Start causes a substantial increase in parents’ involvement with their children—such as time spent reading to children, math activities, or days spent with children by fathers who do not live with their children—both during and after the period when their children are potentially enrolled in Head Start.

The impact of non-parental child care on child development: Evidence from the summer participation “dip”

Source: Chris M. Herbst, Journal of Public Economics, Volume 105, September 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Although a large literature examines the effect of non-parental child care on preschool-aged children’s cognitive development, few studies deal convincingly with the potential endogeneity of child care choices. Using a panel of infants and toddlers from the Birth cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-B), this paper attempts to provide causal estimates by leveraging heretofore unrecognized seasonal variation in child care participation. Child assessments in the ECLS-B were conducted on a rolling basis throughout the year, and I use the participation “dip” among those assessed during the summer as the basis for an instrumental variable. The summer participation dip is likely to be exogenous because ECLS-B administrators strictly controlled the mechanism by which children were assigned to assessment dates. The OLS results show that children utilizing non-parental arrangements score higher on tests of cognitive ability, a finding that holds after accounting for individual fixed effects. However, the instrumental variables estimates point to sizeable negative effects of non-parental care. The adverse effects are driven by participation in formal settings, and, contrary to previous research, I find that disadvantaged children do not benefit from exposure to non-parental care.

The Changing Role of Disabled Children Benefits

Source: Richard V. Burkhauser and Mary C. Daly, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, FRBSF Economic Letter, September 3, 2013

The U.S. federal government’s program that provides cash benefits to low-income families with a disabled child has grown rapidly over the past 25 years. This growth reflects changes in the implementation of the program rather than declines in children’s health or family income. Unfortunately, most disabled children from families that receive such benefits do not become employed when they grow up, so these policy changes may relegate these children to lifetime government support—probably near the poverty threshold—at the expense of taxpayers.

Getting Ready for Kindergarten: Children’s Progress During Head Start – FACES 2009 Child Outcomes Report

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families, July 8, 2013

This report describes the family backgrounds and developmental outcomes of children as they completed the program and also describes progress in children’s outcomes between Head Start entry and exit. It focuses on the population of children who entered Head Start for the first time in fall 2009 and completed one or two years of the program in spring 2010 or spring 2011 before entering kindergarten. This report on children’s kindergarten readiness is the third in a series of reports describing data from the 2009 cohort of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES 2009). Previous FACES 2009 reports described the characteristics of children and their families and programs as they entered Head Start in fall 2009 and at the end of one year in the program.

Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward

Source: Richard J. Coley, Bruce Baker, Educational Testing Service (ETS), ETS Center for Research on Human Capital and Education, July 2013

From the press release:
While the United States is among the 35 richest countries in the world, it also holds the distinction of ranking second highest in child poverty, according to a new report from Educational Testing Service (ETS). Such poverty comes with a price — $500 billion per year in lower earnings, less taxes paid, and other long-term economic and educational outcomes. … [The report] provides an overview of how poverty is measured, describe how various levels of government attempt to address poverty through education, and review the relationship between poverty and student outcomes. The report also offers seven recommendations that are necessary to ensure that the public education system prepares every student to be successful in an increasingly competitive world…

…According to the report, 46.2 million Americans (15 percent of the population) were in poverty in 2011. Other data show:
– While White Americans comprise the largest number of people in poverty, the poverty rate for Hispanics and Blacks is significantly higher.
– Twenty-two percent of the nation’s children are in poverty.
– While 6 percent of married-couple families were poor, the poverty rate for families headed by a single female was 31 percent.
– 2.8 million children were in “extreme poverty,” surviving on less than $2 or less per person per day in a given month….

….The report documents the negative effects of poverty on later life outcomes. For example:
– Children growing up in poverty complete less schooling, work and earn less as adults, are more likely to receive public assistance, and have poorer health.
– Boys growing up in poverty are more likely to be arrested as adults.
– Girls growing up in poverty are more likely to give birth outside of marriage.
– Costs associated with child poverty are estimated to total about $500 billion per year….

Preparing the Children of Immigrants for Early Academic Success

Source: Robert Crosnoe, Migration Policy Institute, July 2013

There is a well-documented immigrant paradox in education, with children from immigrant families faring better academically and behaviorally than their families’ socioeconomic circumstances suggest that they will. The evidence, however, is largely drawn from high school students. And data on the performance of children entering elementary school are more mixed, raising concerns about the future trajectories of young children of immigrants, especially during the crucial transition between prekindergarten and elementary school. This report examines three types of educational and health policy interventions that may reduce disparities between the children of US-born parents and their immigrant counterparts.

The Third Shift: Child Care Needs and Access for Working Mothers in Restaurants

Source: Yvonne Yen Li, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, in collaboration with: Center for Law and Social Policy, Family Values @ Work, Institute For Women’s Policy Research, MomsRising, National Organization For Women, National Partnership For Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, Wider Opportunities For Women, 9To5, National Association Of Working Women, July 9, 2013

Despite the industry’s growth and potential for lifting the livelihoods of its workers, especially for women and mothers, working conditions have deteriorated and wages have not kept pace with growth. In fact, restaurant occupations employ the highest proportion of workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage. Food preparation and service-related occupations comprised over one-quarter of all U.S. workers who earned the federal minimum wage and almost 60 percent of all U.S. workers paid below the federal minimum wage. Restaurant workers are also often denied common employee benefits, such as medical benefits and sick leave. For example, in 2012, 77 percent of service sector workers, including restaurant workers, did not have paid sick leave.The vast majority of restaurant workers are unable to provide basic economic security to themselves and their families, meaning they must routinely choose what necessities their families will forego as they struggle to make ends meet.

All of this takes a terrible toll on women—especially mothers—working in restaurants. Over half of the workers in food preparation and related occupations are women, mostly concentrated in the lowest-paying occupations. Almost 2 million restaurant workers are mothers—15 percent of employees in the industry. More than half of them, 1.2 million, are single mothers with children in the household. More than 1 million are single moms with children under age 18. A mother as the primary source of income, or breadwinner mom, is not unique to the restaurant industry. Across the economy, four in ten households with children under age 18 have a female breadwinner, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center

Mothers pay both a gender penalty, as well as a motherhood penalty, earning less than males, fathers, and their childless female counterparts. Overall, female restaurant workers working full time, year-round, are typically paid 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Women with children pay a wage penalty of approximately 4 percent per child across all industries. Research has found that the motherhood penalty has the most severe impact on low-wage workers, including restaurant workers.

This research report seeks to answer three key questions:
1. What are the child care needs of mothers who work in restaurants?
2. What access to child care do they currently have?
3. What strategies would help these mothers access the child care they need?

See also:
Executive Summary

ALEC v Kids: ALEC’s Assault on Public Education

Source: Progress Florida, Better Georgia, Progress Iowa, Progress Michigan, Progress Missouri, Progress Now Nevada, Progress Texas, Alliance for a Better Utah, Progress VA, 2013

From Progress Iowa’s summary:
Read the new report detailing the damaging influence the corporate front group ALEC has on public education policy. The report, ALEC v Kids, demonstrates the growing influence ALEC holds in Iowa and across the country, including its secretive access to elected officials and the drafting of ‘model’ education policy designed to benefit ALEC’s corporate funders which compliant lawmakers pass off as their own then push into law.

Among the key findings in ALEC v Kids:

Iowa enacted ALEC’s indirect voucher policy in 2006, a tax giveaway to defund public education and instead provide tax breaks for attending private schools

ALEC is attempting to expand charter schools across the country, including in Iowa. Governor Vilsack signed legislation in 2002 establishing a pilot program of charter schools, and although this year’s legislation did not pass, ALEC and its ally Students First appear to be gearing up for renewed legislative efforts in our state.

Bridgepoint Education, a corporate member of ALEC’s education task force, operates one of their two online universities in Iowa (Ashford University in Clinton). Bridgepoint has an abysmal track record, one of the worst of any of their competitors (84.4% of students seeking an associates degree withdraw from school).

ALEC v. Kids focuses on nine states, and analyzes the disastrous effect of ALEC’s education policy. The report details examples at the state level, specifically the negative effects of ALEC policies and the coordination between ALEC and its allies. By examining the real world effects of ALEC policies and coordination across a single issue, this report examines ALEC from a unique perspective.