Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How much is a hundred dollars worth; Today in Common Core: Administration losing streak continues; Economic impact of teen moms; State ACT score drops again

How much is a hundred dollars worth?
It’s no secret that $100 won’t get you as far in New York City as it does in, say, Georgia or Iowa, where food, rent and other necessities are less expensive. Now the federal government has released data that breaks down the real value of $100 in each state. The result: while $100 is worth $109.41 in Louisiana, it buys only $84.60 in the District of Columbia. These disparities have serious implications on means-tested welfare programs, according to the Tax Foundation:

A poor person in a high cost area — like Brooklyn or Queens — may be artificially boosted out of the range of income where they are eligible for welfare programs, despite still being very poor. At the same time, many people in low-price states may be eligible for welfare programs despite actually being much richer than they appear. If the same dollar value program is offered in New York City and rural South Dakota, it may be too small to help anyone in New York City, and yet so big it discourages work in South Dakota.

Today in Common Core: Administration losing streak continues
Gov. Bobby Jindal lost another round in his fight to abolish the Common Core education standards, as District Judge Todd Hernandez lifted the administration’s suspension of contracts for testing materials on Tuesday. Judge Hernandez wrote:

“…the evidence presented at the hearing of this matter proves that the content of these assessment tests to be issued to these students as well as the materials needed for teachers to prepare these students for these tests are unknown; therefore, the evidence is clear that this state of the unknown has caused anxiety and other harm to the parents, teachers, administrators and students in Louisiana”.

The ruling is only preliminary. The next step in the battle that has received national attention is a trial on the merits of the lawsuit brought by parents, teachers and a charter school organization against Jindal, the Division of Administration and the state Office of Contractual Review.

Economic impact of teen moms
If teen mothers waited at least two years to have children and stayed in school long enough to earn at least a high school diploma, their children’s household income would climb by more than $6,000 per year by age 29. That’s according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.

Both delaying birth and increasing maternal education bode well for the children of teen mothers. They enjoy higher family incomes; they are less likely to be parents by age 29; and they report being in better health. While the authors find that receiving a high school diploma has the largest effect, they note that longer childbearing delays result in larger, more positive effects on children’s outcomes.”

Meanwhile Sarah Kliff at searches for reasons why America’s teen birth rate has plunged dramatically in recent years – 38.5 percent between 2007 and 2013 – and fails to come up with a bulletproof explanation.

“The massive decline in teen birth rates is undeniably good news for public health advocates. Teen mothers are significantly more likely to drop out of high school. Most teen mothers do not receive financial support from their child’s father; 48 percent live below the poverty line. Avoiding early motherhood undeniably opens additional doors in a teen’s future. But there’s something uniquely frustrating about the recent, steep decline in teen birth rates: nobody knows why it’s happened.”

State ACT score drops again
Louisiana’s average score on the ACT college readiness exam dropped for the second straight year and remains one of the lowest in the country, The Advocate reports. But state Education Superintendent John White says the drop is due to a policy change that requires all high school seniors to take the exam regardless of whether they plan to attend college. The good news, White said, is that more Louisiana students than ever before are qualifying for college. Still, Louisiana’s scores, particularly in math, are some of the lowest in the country. Only 27 percent of high school seniors met the math benchmarks for college readiness, compared to 43 percent nationwide.


Number of the Day:
— The actual value of $100 in Louisiana. (Source: Tax Foundation)