The Southern Education Foundation has issued a report, "A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South and the Nation," which illustrates a troubling trend in our nation's schools. Low income students constitute a majority of public school students in 17 states, concentrated mainly in the south. Further, 48% of students nationwide are now low income. The achievement gap between low income and higher income students means that this trend could have serious consequences for the quality of education in this country.
One of the biggest pieces of business Congress has yet to resolve is the farm bill, legislation that has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades. Unfortunately, the process to reauthorize this crucial bill has taken a sharp and disheartening turn this year. The Senate and the House are in a standoff over extremely different versions of it with a deadline looming this month.
At stake is the ability of millions of Americans who still struggle in our economy to provide adequate and healthy meals for their children and families. In an unprecedented move, the House stripped the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), from the bill with an intention to pass a separate nutrition bill, one with significant cuts to programs that fight hunger.
“We are mad as hell. We are not going to take this anymore.” That’s what the head of the National Corn Growers Association said at a recent meeting in response to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s comment that they should be less polite when they tell House Republicans that the nation needs a Farm Bill.
It’s hardly just corn growers who should be irate. Indeed, everyone with a conscience should be mad as hell at those in Congress who have signed up behind a heartless Farm Bill proposal to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Their plan would throw millions of people out of the program and cut benefits for millions more.
If you are a man, woman, parent, business owner, farmer, teacher or veteran, you should be furious. If you’re old, young, Black, Hispanic or White, your blood should be boiling. Why? Because we all stand to lose big.
The U.S. Congress faces major challenges and choices this Autumn:
New spending bills have to be passed by September 30th to fund the government; the next round of nearly $110 billion in budget cuts mandated by the “sequester” kicks in on October 1; and the debt ceiling will need to be raised sometime between late October to mid-November so that the government can continue to borrow money to keep operating.
Congress has adjourned for the month of August and has headed home. They face major issues when they come back in September – funding the government and children’s programs in 2014, implementing health care reform, protecting children from gun violence, and preventing the nation from defaulting on their obligations. Even though some members are hiding from the public, many members are holding public events in August.
Go to www.accountablecongress.com to see when and where your member is appearing so you can ask them where they stand. Do they want to fund children’s programs or do they want to shut down the government? Do they want to guarantee every child has access to affordable health coverage or do they want to allow insurance companies to go back to denying care to children with pre-existing medical conditions? This website gives lots of information on questions to ask and issues the country faces.
If you attend a meeting, click here and let us know what your Member of Congress says.
Families in the United States are making gains in education and health, two key factors in their overall well-being, a report released on Monday showed, adding to data that suggests the U.S. economy is slowly rebounding from the 2007-2009 recession.
Still, the latest findings on the state of U.S. children and their parents by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found many families continue to struggle with poverty amid a lack of steady, full-time work and affordable housing.
Nationwide, 16.4 million children, or 23 percent, were in families living in poverty in 2011, an increase from 15.7 million, or 22 percent, in 2010, and 3 million more than in 2005, the data showed.
"The negative impact of the recession remains evident," researchers at the non-profit youth advocacy organization wrote in their annual report, which focuses on children of all ages. The report is closely watched by federal and state policymakers.