CFK Weekly - March 07, 2005

Connect
for Kids.org: Better Policies for Kids

March 07, 2005

Table of Contents. Click on heading to jump to that section.

NEW ON CONNECTFORKIDS.ORG

**Driving Forces

**Welfare Reform: Are Kids Paying With Their Health?

**Let’s Talk About Teaching Science

**Bipartisan Afterschool Caucuses Formed in House and Senate

ACTION IDEAS

** National Violence Prevention Week

**“Remember the Kids” Campaign

**Counting What Counts

**In Focus: Meeting Children's Mental Health Needs

**March 16 Youth Vote Conference Call

**Coming Up Taller Awards

KIDS AND POLITICS

**Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty for Juveniles

**Congress Debates TANF, Budget and Minimum Wage This Week

**New Polling Says Voters Want More, Not Less, Invested in Youth

**Child Abuse and the Federal Budget: CDF Fact Sheets

**Abandoning America’s Most Vulnerable Kids?

FAMILY INCOME AND CHILD POVERTY

**U.S. Has One of the Worst Rates of Child Poverty

**Big Chains, Small Coverage

**NCCP Warns Against Ignoring Children in Social Security Debate

LEARNING IN THE EARLY YEARS

**Future of Children: Closing the Gaps in School Readiness

**State Experiences in Using Community-Based Child Care to Provide Pre-Kindergarten

HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE HOTSEAT

**Governors Kick Off High School Campaign

**NASSP Offers Feds a Plan to Fix High Schools

**Old and Out-Moded: Gates Weighs in on the Debate

**Youth Advocates Say Don’t Forget “The Forgotten Third”

**Graduation Requirements, State by State

HIGHER ED

**Is Upward Bound Headed for a Fall?

**Correcting Course: Education in a Market Economy

**Go to Harvard for Free

KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY

**New Indicator on Steroid Use

**CDC Sets New Safety Goals for Childhood Vaccines

CHILD WELFARE AND THE TRANSITION TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY

**Education Not a Priority for Many of the Half Million U.S. Foster Kids

**Adolescence and the Transition to Adulthood - Conference Summary

**Improving on Federal Requirements for Child Welfare Performance Reviews

FOCUS ON THE STATES

State-by-State News

NEW ON CONNECTFORKIDS.ORG

**Driving Forces

Teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as older drivers, and auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers, resulting in thousands of deaths each year. In Maryland, a recent spate of high-profile teen traffic fatalities has spurred a wide-ranging discussion of how to reduce the death rate. Robert Capriccioso takes a look at how policymakers, educators, parents and students are working to find solutions.

http://www.connectforkids.org/articles/driving_forces

**Welfare Reform: Are Kids Paying With Their Health?

As key lawmakers mount a major push to reauthorize the nation’s welfare law, a long-term study carried out by pediatricians and child health researchers has found that existing welfare policies are having a direct negative effect on some young children’s health. Connect for Kids spoke with pediatric researcher Deborah Franks about the findings.

http://www.connectforkids.org/articles/welfare_reform_kids_health

**Let’s Talk About Teaching Science

Recent challenges to the teaching of evolution have reignited a controversy that has been around as long as public schools themselves. But with U.S. students posting lackluster science and math results in international comparisons, there are other urgent questions to address. What’s the best way to teach science at different grade levels? What are the special challenges of teaching science? What is the role of science education in creating students capable of critical thought and independent inquiry? The next Connect for Kids’ Talktime Live! will provide context and recommendations from long-time experts in the science education field. Log on Wednesday, March 16 at 3:30 PM ET.

http://www.connectforkids.org

**Bipartisan Afterschool Caucuses Formed in House and Senate

Last week on Capitol Hill, several members of Congress established the first-ever “Afterschool Caucuses” -- one in the Senate and one in the House. Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and John Ensign (R-NV) and Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) will serve as co-chairs of the bipartisan efforts. CFK has a field report.

http://www.connectforkids.org/node/2846

ACTION IDEAS

** National Violence Prevention Week

National Violence Prevention Week, sponsored by National S.A.V.E. and the Guidance Channel, is April 4-8, 2005. Get involved, and join the action in your hometown.

http://www.violencepreventionweek.org/

** “Remember the Kids” Campaign

Officials with the Voices for America’s Children child advocacy organization offer an opportunity for you to connect with elected officials regarding children’s issues and the budget process.

http://www.voicesforamericaschildren.org/misc/signonletter.pdf

**Counting What Counts

As states take on more responsibility for social programs, they need timely, state-specific data to measure programs’ effectiveness -- but funding is hard to come by. Some advocates are working to get $10 million a year authorized in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) bill to pay for a state-level cross-sectional survey and set of child and family well-being indicators. The State Child Well-Being Research Act (S.415) is a free-standing bill sponsored by Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) that would accomplish the same goal.

http://www.childindicators.com

**In Focus: Meeting Children's Mental Health Needs

The March edition of Pre-K Now's free national conference call series will be held Wednesday, March 16th, 2:00 - 3:00 pm EST. Too late to join in? Get the full agenda and links to supporting materials by emailing Sarah Cohen at scohen@preknow.org.

http://www.preknowinfocenter.org/preknow/events/nationalcall_03_16_05_clone_77001/register.tcl?member_key=wixe3bk2z5j75dx

**March 16 Youth Vote Conference Call

The 2004 election saw an 11 percent increase in the under-25 vote. Learn more about the numbers and their implications for the future of democracy by listening in on this briefing, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Time: March 16 from 3:30-4:30 EST. Contact dsapienz@umd.edu to join.



**Coming Up Taller Awards

The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is taking nominations for its 2005 $10,000 Coming Up Taller Awards, which showcase exemplary programs that foster the creative and intellectual development of America's children and youth through education and practical experience in the arts and the humanities. Nominations must be postmarked by March 24, 2005.

http://www.cominguptaller.org/

KIDS AND POLITICS

**Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty for Juveniles

On March 1, 2005, in a 5–4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing people who were under the age of 18 when they committed crimes is unconstitutional There are 72 juvenile offenders currently on death row in the United States.

http://www.jlc.org/

**Congress Debates TANF, Budget and Minimum Wage This Week

Find out what’s hot for advocates in DC this week. Visit Connect for Kids’ Action Central and Jan’s Corner for help getting started working on behalf of kids.

http://www.connectforkids.org/action_central

**New Polling Says Voters Want More, Not Less, Invested in Youth

New polling across the country and in ten cities shows strong support for increasing, rather than cutting, spending on children and youth.

http://www.forumfyi.org/_docdisp_page.cfm?LID=D806191B-F861-4D19-AC43D3BC2A061681

**Child Abuse and the Federal Budget: CDF Fact Sheets

As Congress considers President Bush's 2006 budget proposal, the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) has released new national and state fact sheets on child abuse and neglect that pull together important details for the budget debate. CDF argues that the Bush budget proposal makes policy choices that put the nation's most vulnerable children at greater risk. For example, the plan proposes to end a longstanding federal guarantee of funding to help to provide children with safe foster homes, and would cut Medicaid in ways that may harm children with special needs who are in the child welfare system.

http://www.childrensdefense.org/childwelfare/financing/factsheets/default.aspx

**Abandoning America’s Most Vulnerable Kids?

Law enforcement leaders in Ohio and Iowa have released new reports that contend proposed new limits on national foster care funding would result in more child abuse in the short run and more crime in the long run.

http://www.fightcrime.org/

FAMILY INCOME AND CHILD POVERTY

**U.S. Has One of the Worst Rates of Child Poverty

When it comes to child poverty, the land of plenty has plenty of work to do. According to a new report from the United Nations Children's Fund, the United States and Mexico have the highest rates of childhood poverty in the industrialized world.

http://www.unicef.org/childsurvival/index_25285.html

**Big Chains, Small Coverage

With fewer employers offering affordable and comprehensive health insurance to their workers, more working families are turning to government programs like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance program. That’s contributing to the explosive growth in the costs of these taxpayer-funded programs. The advocacy group Good Jobs First has compiled information on which employers have the most workers and their children enrolled in Medicaid and S-Chip in nine states.

http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/gjfhealthcaredisclosure.htm

**NCCP Warns Against Ignoring Children in Social Security Debate

Did you know that Social Security is the single largest program providing support to American children? It provides life and disability insurance for many American families, and more than 5 million children reap its benefits -- either as direct beneficiaries or as members of households receiving a monthly check. As Congress and the Bush administration debate changes to the program, the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) is working to make sure kids aren’t left out of the equation.

http://nccp.org/sps/go.cgi?c=lxEcJTTvf9TLXTsN2cDH

NCCP offers fact sheets, policy briefs, and questions for policymakers undertaking Social Security reform.

http://www.nccp.org/cat_6.html

The Coalition on Human Needs has background information.

http://www.chn.org/dia/organizations/chn/issues/socialsecurity/

LEARNING IN THE EARLY YEARS

**Future of Children: Closing the Gaps in School Readiness

Much of the current policy discussion on closing the academic achievement gaps between students from different racial and ethnic groups looks at what schools can do to address the problem. But the current issue of the Future of Children points out that these differences already exist when children first enter school. The report makes the case that the most promising approach to closing the gap before the school years begin is to increase access to high-quality early childhood education programs for all poor three- and four-year olds.

http://www.futureofchildren.org/pubs-info3133/pubs-info.htm?doc_id=260487

Live or work in the Garden State? On March 11, 2005, a conference will be held at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, for practitioners who work with kindergarten and pre-school students and program administrators who shape programs for these children.

http://www.futureofchildren.princeton.edu/schoolreadiness/home.asp

For those near the nation’s capitol, a public event will be held on March 15, 2005 at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC to discuss policy recommendations for closing racial and ethnic gaps. For more information, contact communications@brookings.edu or (202) 797-6105.

http://www.brookings.edu

**State Experiences in Using Community-Based Child Care to Provide Pre-Kindergarten

Many states are expanding school and community-based pre-K programs for all kids. The Center on Law and Social Policy reports that state policy choices make a difference in how well mixed approaches can strengthen community-based centers and provide services that work for working parents.

http://www.clasp.org/publications/all_together_now.pdf

HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE HOTSEAT

**Governors Kick Off High School Campaign

The National Governors Association closed its national education summit last week with an announcement that 13 states have agreed to work together to raise the academic bar in their high schools to better prepare students for college and work. To support this reform, six foundations pledged $23 million in matching grants for states that take up the challenge.

http://www.2005summit.org/en_US/pdf/ADPnetwork.doc

Even before the nation's governors convened on Capitol Hill, many states already had proposed plans to make secondary education more rigorous with proposals ranging from prescribing a minimum course of study to offering accelerated graduation options and "early college high school" programs. Education Week reports.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/03/02/25high.h24.html

**NASSP Offers Feds a Plan to Fix High Schools

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has proposed a detailed agenda for the federal government to tackle high school improvement.

http://www.principals.org/s_nassp/sec.asp?CID=29&DID=29

**Old and Out-Moded: Gates Weighs in on the Debate

“Terrified” for the workforce of tomorrow, Bill Gates -- America’s richest (please find a substitute for techno-nerd.) and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- says our high schools will continue to fail students unless they catch up to 21st century demands and adequately prepare American children for college and the changing workforce.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-gates1mar01%2C0%2C6675841.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

**Youth Advocates Say Don’t Forget “The Forgotten Third”

With a third of ninth graders not completing high school with their peers, youth advocates say increased rigor for high schools must be accompanied by strengthening services for struggling students – to keep them in school and to re-engage those who leave early.

http://www.nyec.org/Whitehousenews_release.pdf

**Graduation Requirements, State by State

What does it take to earn a diploma in Nevada? South Carolina? Oregon? How does your state measure up? A new ECS Issue Site provides a wide variety of information on state high school graduation requirements.

http://www.ecs.org/00CN2403

HIGHER ED

**Is Upward Bound Headed for a Fall?

Despite a growing chorus of support for Upward Bound -- a federal program that helps low-income first-generation teens enter and succeed in college -- the U.S. Department of Education contends there is no hard evidence to show that Upward Bound students who attended college wouldn't have enrolled if the program didn't exist. The department wants to shift a $460 million allocation for Upward Bound and Talent Search to a new high school intervention initiative designed to boost student achievement, especially for potential dropouts.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-upward21feb21%2C1%2C4669150.story

**Correcting Course: Education in a Market Economy

Do America’s public colleges and universities have their eyes on the pie instead of the prize? A report from The Futures Project finds schools are spending more on technology and star faculty, and paying for it by raising tuition and cutting scholarships for middle- and low-income students.

http://www.futuresproject.org/publications/Collision_Course.pdf

**Go to Harvard for Free

Know a family earning less than $40,000 a year with an honor student graduating from high school soon? Harvard University wants to pay the tuition. Under a new initiative, the school will encourage talented students from families of low and moderate income to matriculate by paying the full tuition for families earning less than $40,000, and reducing the parental contributions for families with incomes between $40,000 and $60,000. The program also includes a summer academic program to prepare students for college.

http://adm-is.fas.harvard.edu/FAO/index.htm

KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY

**New Indicator on Steroid Use

Among twelfth grade males who were highly involved in athletics in 2002-2003, five percent had used steroids in the previous year, compared with only about two percent among twelfth grade males who did not participate in athletics. The Child Trends databank has this and other important indicators of youth well-being.

http://childtrendsdatabank.org

**CDC Sets New Safety Goals for Childhood Vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program that advocates vaccination will now be separate from a program that's supposed to monitor the safety of vaccines.

http://www.healthinschools.org/ejournal/2005/march1.htm

CHILD WELFARE AND THE TRANSITION TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY



**Education Not a Priority for Many of the Half Million U.S. Foster Kids

As a group, foster kids test far behind their peers, and are more likely to drop out, repeat grades, be in special-ed classes, and wind up suspended or expelled. Few child welfare agencies focus much on education; they’re typically more concerned with children's safety and placement. But education may be nearly as fundamental a goal, especially among older kids, for whom a high-school diploma or basic job skills can mean the difference between self-sufficiency and a cycle of disadvantage. The Christian Science Monitor examines the reasons behind the struggles, and what’s working to help children and their foster families make the grade. (This article re-examines important Chapin Hall research we highlighted in the Weekly in December 2004 http://www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract_new.asp?ar=1372&L2=61&L3=130.)

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0222/p15s01-legn.htm



**Adolescence and the Transition to Adulthood - Conference Summary

The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be tough for anyone, but is often especially difficult for teens in foster care, with health or mental health issues, or in the juvenile justice or adult correctional systems. The social institutions they’re used to change drastically when they reach 18 and 21, and networks of family and kin may be severely strained. This summary of Chapin Hall's November 2004 conference synthesizes research and associated policy implications in areas like education, workforce development, and civic engagement.

http://www.about.chapinhall.org/conferences/NovATA/Conference_Summary_Final.pdf



**Improving on Federal Requirements for Child Welfare Performance Reviews

Following the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been evaluating state child welfare systems using specific outcome measures. In response, states have started to adapt their processes for monitoring outcomes at the local level. This paper describes the approach used by New York’s Office of Children and Family Services, which goes beyond the federal approach and corrects several important problems in the federal outcomes.

http://www.chapinhall.org/article_abstract_new.asp?ar=1382&L2=61&L3=130

FOCUS ON THE STATES

State-by-State News

Alaska

Education officials in Anchorage have prohibited teachers from using a guide to teaching about the Arab world--the same guide that a national Jewish advocacy organization is now urging districts across the country to ban.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2005/03/02/25arab.h24.html

Colorado

Denver Public Schools teenagers could face longer school days, more time in a workplace and entrance interviews to get into high school, according to report by the Denver Commission on Secondary School Reform. In these new high schools, and maybe even some middle schools, buildings could be tailored to special themes such as art or technology. Some could go all summer; some could start later in the day. The Denver Post reports.

http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~53~2742233,00.html

Connecticut

The U.S. Department of Education turned down Connecticut's request to be exempted from an expansion of school testing required under No Child Left Behind. State officials had asked for a waiver from a requirement that all students in grades 3 through 8 be given annual tests in reading and mathematics, saying the extra tests would cost millions of dollars without any benefit.

http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-nochild0302.artmar02%2C0%2C1466155.story?coll=hc-headlines-education

District of Columbia

The D.C. Council has voted to substantially increase the number of youth summer jobs available this year, and city officials said that by 2006 they hope to be able to offer a summer job to any young person who wants one.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A64582-2005Mar1?language=printer

Georgia

A new Web site gives students and their parents information about how to select, get admitted to, and pay for an education at the state's public and private colleges. The site features interactive tests that match students with prospective careers, a catalog of financial aid resources and tutorials for college-admissions tests.

http://www.gacollege411.org/

Iowa

The state will refer people involved in suspected cases of child abuse to free counseling from Mid-Iowa Family Therapy.

http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050302/NEWS08/503020346/1001/NEWS

Fewer Latinos are graduating from high school than state education officials claim -- data that misrepresent Iowa's growing Latino population, according to officials with the Iowa Division of Latino Affairs. The division's annual report asserts the formula used by the state Department of Education does not fully account for the midyear growth of Latino students that many districts experience annually.

http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050302/NEWS02/503020352/1004

Kentucky

According to advocates, the Senate School Health And Nutrition bill (S.B. 172) – which contains most of the school nutrition and physical activity components – is at risk of being defeated. The legislative message line is 800-372-7181.

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/10997322.htm

Maryland

The State Board of Education has been given detailed recommendations for increasing parents' involvement in their children's education, in state policy decisions and in the evaluation of schools and principals. The suggestions came from a parent advisory panel representing all state counties and the city of Baltimore.

http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/pressrelease_details/2005_2_23.htm

Nebraska

How ready are our kindergarteners for school? Buffalo kindergarten teacher Jo Clements confirmed that many of her students are simply not ready for rigorous academics required by state standards and the "Reading First'' program. "I feel as a teacher that I'm caught in the middle," she said. "I'm required to teach to the state standards and Reading First, but children are coming to me who are not ready for academics.”

http://www.preknowinfocenter.org/ct/6dLUNNp1LRsq/

Texas

Dallas public schools are boosting student achievement by integrating arts into the curriculum. http://www.fordfound.org/publications/ff_report/view_ff_report_detail.cfm?report_index=549

Nearly two dozen districts soon will be able to compare the effectiveness and efficiency with which they assess student achievement, recruit and select teachers, and manage their information technology systems, thanks to a pilot project launched by the Houston-based American Productivity and Quality Center.

http://www.ecs.org/00CL6114

Utah

The state’s becoming a hotbed of discontent -- even among Republicans -- when it comes to No Child Left Behind (NCLB). According to the New York Times, Republican state senators admire Mr. Bush, but many of them dislike NCLB, his centerpiece school reform law, and they were ready to pass a bill challenging it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/06/national/06Utah.html

Be sure to check out the redesigned CFK Web site: http://www.connectforkids.org

Caitlin Johnson, Senior Contributing Writer and the CFK team

weekly@connectforkids.org

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