Higher ed master plan wins support
The Louisiana Board of Regents has ambitious goals to increase the number of adults with college degrees or “high-value” post-secondary credentials. As of 2017, fewer than 25% of Louisiana residents over 25 had a bachelor’s degree or higher, but the Board of Regents aims to more than double that number, increasing adult degree attainment to 60% by 2030. According to Moody’s Investment Services, this goal could make Louisiana more competitive. But meeting it will require Louisiana to address barriers to opportunity:
Louisiana has a higher than typical poverty rate and lower-income students tend to face more hurdles to degree completion. To reach the 60% goal, the strategic plan cites data showing the state will need to more than double the number of students receiving a degree or credential annually to 85,000 by 2030 from about 40,000 in 2018. More broadly, the state has trailed the US in the percentage of residents 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher for years.
Medical bankruptcies are America’s choice
While two thirds of all bankruptcies in America result from sky-high medical bills, crippling medical debt is a foreign concept in other advanced nations such as the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the U.K. The Los Angeles Times’ Noam N. Levey explains America’s unique choice to allow a person’s health crisis to ruin their family’s financial fortune:
In the U.S., health insurers can require patients in an individual plan to pay up to $7,900 out of their own pockets before care is covered in full. One in four workers has a deductible of $2,000 or more, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation survey. That kind of cost-sharing would never be tolerated in Germany, said Dr. Markus Frick, a senior official at that country’s leading pharmaceutical industry group, the VfA. “If any German politician proposed high deductibles, he or she would be run out of town,” Frick said.
Regulating solar energy in favor of big business
Despite strong opposition, the Louisiana Public Service Commission adopted new regulations on solar panels Wednesday that reduce the amount public utilities pay homeowners for the excess power their panels generate. Critics say the change will disincentivize individuals from installing solar panels, which produce no pollution. Mark Ballard of The Advocate explains:
Monique Harden, of Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, testified that the new rules represent a 66 percent cut in what individuals make now by selling electricity made with solar panels back to traditional utilities. Using retail rates was an incentive to entice homeowners to install solar panels, which produces no pollution and takes relieves utilities from some of its load obligations.
Diagnosing chronic absence in schools
Chronic absence, defined as missing 10% or more of the school year, hinders a student’s ability to fully participate in the classroom and often signals problems in a school’s environment. Until 2014, however, the United States didn’t collect comprehensive data on chronic absence, making it difficult for policymakers to understand and address the problem. A new report by Attendance Works and American Institutes for Research uses this newly available data to explore how policymakers, schools, and communities can address chronic absence:
The power of chronic absence as a metric is that attendance data are actionable and malleable. When accurately and consistently collected and analyzed at a building, grade, subgroup and individual level, real- time attendance data help educators and community partners identify which schools and students need support. Ideally, schools identify students who are chronically absent as early as possible, during the first month of school, when challenges are easier to resolve.
In conjunction with this report, The Hamilton Project has created a map that displays chronic absence by schools across the nation. Whether you are a researcher, parent, or education advocate, we highly recommend taking a look.
Number of the Day
96% – The percentage of counties in America where white residents make up a smaller share of the population than they did in 2010. (Source: Brookings Institution)