Make children a priority

Make children a priority

Poverty rates for young children are at a crisis-level in Louisiana – nearly 1 in 3 children under 6 in the state lives below the poverty line. And for these kids’ parents, low-wage jobs can’t cover the costs of quality childcare while they’re at work. Writing in the Advocate, Dr. Roberta Vicari, president of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, explains that the high cost of childcare is particularly hard on low-income families, which contributes to inequality later in life.

Two-thirds of young children in Louisiana have both parents or their single parent in the workforce, and therefore must be cared for by someone else during their parents’ working hours. Yet, child care costs more than $7,500 a year in our state. Research of high-quality, intensive early care and education programs for low-income children confirm lasting positive effects such as improved cognition and social abilities. In Louisiana, with 31% of children under the age of six living in poverty, we know day-to-day experiences affect the structural and functional development of a child’s brain, including ability to learn. 


Silence on climate change
The science on climate change and tropical weather is clear: as our climate warms, hurricanes are getting stronger and moving slower. This combination is a threat to everyone in south Louisiana, though as a recent federal report emphasizes, people with low-incomes will be hurt the most by the effects of rising global temperatures. But, as Bob Marshall writes in The Advocate |, you wouldn’t know it to look at the governor’s race, where candidates are roundly ignoring one of the most significant threats our state will face in the coming years.

If anyone living in south Louisiana looks in a mirror, they’ll see someone who lives in a hurricane zone. They’ll also see someone repeatedly warned the warming of the atmosphere primarily by fossil fuel emissions from oil, coal and gas has placed their communities, properties, jobs, and the lives of them and their children in jeopardy. (…) If the leading candidates for Louisiana governor don’t even mention the greatest threat to our coast, why should the rest of the country take our “fight to save the coast” seriously? To them, we’re beginning to look like lung cancer patients who don’t want to quit smoking.


Traits of ‘Advancing Cities’
Too often a person’s ZIP code predetermines their economic and social success, but cities can play a large part in meaningfully expanding opportunity for their residents. Janis Bowdler, President of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, outlines seven traits of what they call “advancing cities.”  The Foundation cites HousingNOLA as a key example of how cities and their communities can work together for more equitable and effective policy:

HousingNOLA, NewCorp and LiftFund created a formal partnership that aims to introduce innovative affordable housing development strategies to meet residents’ housing needs while retaining the community’s culture. These strategies include working with minority- and women-owned contractors, property owners and developers to build up the capacity of local talent so that typically underrepresented community members can benefit from the new development.


One strike leads to another
Nearly 50,000 General Motor workers walked off the job on Sunday, demanding a fair cut of the company’s profits, better health coverage  and a return to work at shuttered plants. As The New York Times’ Steven Greenhouse explains, GM’s workers aren’t alone: teachers, hotel workers and grocery workers have all gone on strike during the past year, with increasing public support, and support for unions in general is at a 50 year high: 

The strong public opinion behind these strikes can be tied to Americans’ widespread dismay with wage stagnation and income inequality, even as corporate profits are flying high. While job numbers and economic growth are strong, many Americans are barely getting by: 40 percent of households say they don’t have the money to pay an unanticipated $400 expense, according to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Board.


Democracy depends on you!
Friday is the last day to register online to vote in the Oct. 12 primary election. You can register here.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed changes to SNAP that would take food assistance away from at least 3.1 million people in America. You can submit public comments here through Sept. 23.


Number of the Day
10,000 – Number of regulations that restrict people with criminal records from obtaining occupational licenses. (Source: American Bar Association)