Common Core uprising puts governor in a tough spot
As irate tea party groups rallied against the Common Core on the steps of the state Department of Education, teachers and school officials defended the new education standards and noted that local authorities have a lot more flexibility than critics contend. The Associated Press says the controversy has become a political pickle for Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is typically loath to offend the far right yet doesn’t want to risk the backlash from business groups that would come if he abandoned the standards. “For now, the governor has largely punted on the issue,” Melinda Deslatte writes in an analysis. Meanwhile, the Common Core brouhaha appears to be a key reason why education Superintendent John White decided against applying for a $44 million federal grant for early childhood education programs. The additional funds would have helped Louisiana develop an assessment system to reward high-performing early childhood education facilities. But White, in a letter to the governor, complained that federal financing had become a “flashpoint” in the state’s broader debate over education.
Insurance marketplaces open Tuesday; expect some confusion
Nearly 400,000 uninsured Louisianans will have the opportunity to buy health insurance when the new insurance marketplaces open tomorrow. As the Associated Press reports, premiums for Louisiana customers range from $15 a month to more than $900, depending on the coverage one chooses and how much a family makes. Health care experts and officials from both sides of the political divide expect the rollout to be complex and confusing for some customers, because families will have to determine how much they can afford, what type of medical conditions they want covered and what level of subsidy they can get to help cover premiums. Officials are also turning their attention towards young adults, who will have to choose between paying for health policies or paying federal penalties for not having insurance. Residents who currently receive health insurance through their workplace, Medicare or Medicaid do not need to purchase health insurance from the exchange.
Louisianans shouldn’t be on the receiving end of Congress’ failure
U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond wrote an op-ed in Nola.com scolding members of Congress for failing to compromise on a federal spending plan, a move that can place the nation’s economy and security in jeopardy. Richmond says the looming shutdown will make it harder for small businesses to get loans from the Small Business Administration, will result in delayed paychecks for military memers, and will impact the housing markets by forcing the Federal Housing Administration to stop guaranteeing new home loans. Richmond also says its disgraceful for some Congress members to hold the nation hostage until they are able to reduce federal funding for the Affordable Care Act other programs. “Obamacare, SNAP food subsidies and debt reduction all have one thing in common –a Congress that refuses to prioritize these policies and those impacted. Yes, compromise is essential to reach an agreement but it should never be one-sided, cold-hearted and unreasonable.”
Five things you could have missed on poverty day
The annual poverty data released by the U.S. Census Bureau is packed with lots of information on income, poverty and health insurance coverage. Last week, The Nation published a list of five things readers might have missed on “poverty day,” the day when the data was released: extremely high poverty rates for children under aged 5, an opportunity to end child poverty in the United States, a major gender poverty gap, a vicious cycle of long-term unemployment and poverty, and a missed opportunity to reduce the poverty rate by reducing unemployment insurance too quickly. Prior to the Nation’s release, LBP wrote a blog on five poverty highlights for Louisiana. LBP found that Louisiana’s poverty rates are still among the nation’s highest, the poverty rate is leveling off, regional poverty disparities persist, health care reform can improve coverage and reduce racial disparities, and the Affordable Care Act has a great potential for reducing the number of residents without health care insurance.