The negative effects of racial segregation in K-12 education are well documented. Less well understood, however, is how segregation affects the very youngest learners – children birth through three who are receiving Early Care and Education (ECE) services. A recent report by Erica Greenberg and Tomas Monarrez of the Urban Institute finds even higher levels of segregation within ECE programs than in public schools, raising concerns about its effect on this crucial period of development and beyond:
Children’s first learning experiences set the tone for the rest of their lives, in school and beyond. That’s why early childhood education (ECE)—which enrolls nearly half of infants and toddlers and three-quarters of preschoolers—has become a focus for public investment designed to promote educational equity and give children a strong start. But little attention has been paid to the racial and ethnic composition of early childhood programs, even though the roots of racial and ethnic bias form during children’s earliest years. In addition to experiences in the home and in the community, early childhood education is a key place for addressing—or exacerbating—issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
An epidemic of health care waste
America spends more money on health care – both overall and as a percentage of its economy – than any other nation on earth. And up to 25% of that money is wasted. That’s according to a new study released this week by JAMA that points to administrative costs as the largest source of waste and inefficiency. Austin Frakt of The New York Times reports that changes won’t come easy.
Moving to a single-payer system … would largely eliminate the vast administrative complexity required by attending to the payment and reporting requirements of various private payers and public programs. But doing so would run up against powerful stakeholders whose incomes derive from the status quo.
Homelessness on the rise
After years of progress, the number of homeless Americans increased for the second year in a row in 2018 to 552,830. While this issue is felt more acutely in some Southern communities than in others, the lack of affordable housing (and public investments in housing) leaves too many families living on the edge of homelessness. A Senate-backed housing funding bill would boost overall spending by $2.3 billion over current-year levels and makes several new investments. But Douglas Rice of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities writes that it can still be improved:
They should also include several provisions in the House-passed Transportation-HUD bill to further expand housing aid for the nation’s most vulnerable people and support recipients’ efforts to work and give their children a better chance to succeed. These investments would make more vouchers available to at-risk families with children, double the size of the innovative Housing Voucher Mobility Demonstration, provide more funding to renovate and preserve public housing through the Capital Fund and Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, expand the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, and further increase Homeless Assistance Grants.
Black Census findings
The Black Futures Lab recently released its 2019 National Black Census report chronicling the views of more than 30,000 black Americans (1,500 in Louisiana) on the opportunities and challenges facing their communities. Ryan Whirty in The Louisiana Weekly highlights the Louisiana-based effort. The main areas of consensus include concerns about police aggression, low wages and the need for quality education. The authors of the report highlight the potential political implications of its findings:
It is notable that the most electorally engaged respondents—people who not only vote but also work to register voters, contribute money to political candidates, and hand out campaign material—are largely aligned in concerns and policy preferences with respondents who are less politically engaged. Highly engaged respondents do not need to convince those who are less engaged about what problems are important or even which solutions to adopt, but rather about the effectiveness of taking action. If political leaders are ready to listen to the issues and concerns of Black Census respondents, the community is ready to mobilize.
Number of the Day:
3,059 – The number of Louisianans homeless on a given night in 2018 (Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness)