All Featured Highlights
Apr 14, 2014 | Liz Ben-Ishai
Access to Paid Leave: An Overlooked Aspect of Economic & Social Inequality
Rising economic inequality is a growing concern for many Americans. The widening gap between those at the top and bottom of the income scale is pushing decision makers to consider policy solutions that can begin to address these inequities. Wages are often the focal point in debates about income inequality.
Apr 08, 2014 | Stephanie Schmit
A New Lens: Early Childhood Data from the Office of Civil Rights
The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently made an important contribution to the broader discussion of educational equity by releasing long-unavailable district- and state-level data highlighting racial and ethnic disparities in access to quality education and the treatment of students. A key section of the data set released focuses on public early childhood education (ECE), revealing a slice of data not often seen that describes the diversity of children and their varied experiences in public ECE classrooms.
Apr 07, 2014 | Evelyn Ganzglass
National Partners Call for a Conversation on Creating a Competency-Based Credentialing Ecosystem
CLASP joined policy leaders in other organizations in calling upon key stakeholders in our Nation’s postsecondary education and workforce credentialing system to come together to increase transparency, trust and portability in the credentialing marketplace.
- Apr 04, 2014 | CLASP House Budget Proposal Fails Poor and Low-Income People
Apr 02, 2014 | Marcie Foster
Ryan Budget Offers Bleak Future for Aspiring Low-Income College Students
This week the House Budget Committee, chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), released its vision for the FY15 federal budget. For the fourth year in a row, the committee’s budget cuts off college access for millions of low-income students —undercutting the widely shared goal expressed in its title, Path to Prosperity. Moreover, it does so in a way that disproportionately impacts low-income, working adult students, many of whom are parents and must work while attending college.
- Apr 01, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan States Missing Opportunities to Count Education and Training Toward TANF Work Rates
Apr 01, 2014 | Neil Ridley
Senate Prepares to Renew Jobless Benefits
This week, the Senate is expected to pass a five-month extension of federal unemployment benefits, which lapsed at the end of 2013 when Congress failed to renew the program.
Apr 01, 2014 | Stephanie Schmit
Congress Extends Funding for Home Visiting
The Senate followed the House lead in passing the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act,” which provided a short-term patch to prevent a reduction in Medicare payments to physicians. Included were several provisions important for low-income families, such as continuation of “Express Lane Eligibility,” a provision that makes it easier for states to enroll children in public health insurance, and an extension of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program at current funding levels, an important win for vulnerable children and families across the country.
Mar 28, 2014 | Christine Johnson-Staub
Administration for Children and Families: Screening Helps Young Children Say, “Watch Me Thrive!
The federal Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launches "Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!", an initiative to provide pediatricians and community-based service providers with the tools and information they need to promote developmental and behavioral screening for all children.
- Mar 27, 2014 | Liz Ben-Ishai, Hannah Matthews and Jodie Levin-Epstein Scrambling for Stability: The Challenges of Job Schedule Volatility and Child Care
Mar 25, 2014 | CLASP YOUTH TEAM
Improving Education Outcomes for African American Youth: Issues for Consideration and Discussion
For far too long, the academic achievement level of African American students has been unacceptably low, despite an abundance of research on the topic and examples of best practices in communities across the nation. In response to this ongoing crisis, CLASP has developed a memorandum with key recommendations to help President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans develop policies that reduce inequality and ensure African American youth have pathways to postsecondary education and good careers. The memorandum addresses many critical issues and intervention strategies to ensure youth are connected to school and employment, including implicit bias, culturally responsive pedagogy, school discipline, concentrated poverty, and socio-emotional health.
- Mar 25, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch An Overview of SNAP E&T
Mar 21, 2014 | Evelyn Ganzglass
Scaling “Stackable Credentials”: Implications for Implementation and Policy
This paper identifies five strategies several states, community colleges, and their partners are using to create “stackable credentials.” Students can accumulate stackable credentials over time to build up their qualifications and help them move along a career pathway or up a career ladder to different and potentially higher paying jobs. The paper discusses policy and institutional barriers these states and colleges have been working to overcome as they create credentials that have value in the labor market and postsecondary educational credit and credentialing systems.
- Mar 21, 2014 | Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant Education as a Civil Right – We Have a Long Way to Go
Mar 20, 2014 | Helly Lee
The Universal Credit: Not a Universal Solution
The Universal Credit is a major safety net overhaul implemented in the United Kingdom that merges a half dozen income assistance programs -- including cash benefits, tax credits, and housing subsidies -- into a single credit for low-income individuals and families. While the concept of simplifying multiple programs may seem appealing in theory, policymakers should take note of cautionary lessons from the United Kingdom’s experience.
Mar 20, 2014 | Manuela Ekowo and Katherine Saunders
Amid Rising College Costs, State Funding for Need-Based Aid is Too Low
A recent report shows that, despite recent modest increases, state funding for need-based aid is still too low to measurably improve college access and success for low-income students.
- Mar 20, 2014 | Stephanie Schmit and Olivia Golden A Moment of Opportunity: Address Maternal Depression and Fight Poverty Among Parents and Children
Mar 19, 2014 | Rhiannon Reeves and Stephanie Schmit
Head Start by the Numbers: 2012 State Profiles
Each year, CLASP releases Head Start State Profiles that provide state-by-state data on all Head Start programs in the state: Early Head Start, Head Start preschool, and Migrant/Seasonal Head Start. The profiles include information on Head Start participants, families, staff, and programs. All Head Start grantees are required to submit Program Information Report (PIR) data to the federal government on an annual basis.
Mar 19, 2014 | Olivia Golden
The Agenda for Reducing Poverty and Increasing Opportunity
These days, Washington has a reputation for inaction. As a result, many commentators dismissed the President’s 2015 budget proposal despite its powerful call for reducing poverty and increasing opportunity for low-income adults, children, youth, and families. But these ideas are too good to lose, and CLASP has suggestions for how to turn them into action.
Mar 14, 2014 | Hannah Matthews
Senate Passes First CCDBG Reauthorization in Eighteen Years
The U.S. Senate passed the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (S. 1086) by a vote of 96-2. The bill makes crucial improvements to the program by allowing children to have more sustained access to child care assistance, which helps parents stay and move up in their jobs while also supporting children’s development by providing more continuity in their child care arrangement.
- Mar 14, 2014 | Lauren French Working for Business: Effects of Connecticut's Earned Sick Leave Law
- Mar 11, 2014 | Katherine Saunders and Marcie Foster Higher Education is a Top Priority in President Obama's FY 2015 Budget
Mar 10, 2014 | Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant
President’s 2015 Budget Proposal and Boys and Young Men of Color
The President’s 2015 budget proposal is the latest demonstration of his commitment to communities of color through expanded and new investments in key areas such as education, youth employment, juvenile justice, mental health, violence reduction, and strengthening communities.
Mar 10, 2014 | Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews
Urgent Need to Extend MIECHV Funding: New Report Highlights Potential Impact
Home visiting has a strong evidence base, backed by rigorous research that supports models’ effectiveness at promoting children’s health and development and strong parenting skills while leading to fewer children in the social welfare, mental health, and juvenile corrections systems, with considerable cost savings for states. Without Congressional action, the Maternal and Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program will expire September 30, 2014. This would come at a very high cost with fewer families in at-risk communities receiving home visiting, a halt on efforts to build statewide infrastructure and promote better coordination across programs; and a lost opportunity to further build the national evidence base for effective home visiting programs. This report highlights the effectiveness of MIECHV and outlines the potential negative impacts if funding for the program is not extended.
Mar 10, 2014 | Liz Ben-Ishai
Unstable Work Schedules Hurt Economy, Communities, and Families
A new report by the Center for Law and Social Policy, Retail Action Project, and Women Employed reveals that unstable and unpredictable work schedules have severe implications for hourly-wage workers, as well as businesses and consumer spending.
Mar 07, 2014 | CLASP
The President’s 2015 Budget: Thoughtful Responses to Poverty
Supporting low-income Americans is not a single-issue policy agenda. To have a fair chance to succeed, children need a good education, including early education; young people need access to workforce training and post-secondary education; low-income workers need help making ends meet while they move up into jobs that support their families; and, everyone needs a bustling economy that provides plenty of chances for steady work. The 2015 budget President Obama laid out this week reflects exactly that type of multi-faceted investment strategy.
Mar 07, 2014 | Neil Ridley
President’s Budget Calls for New Investments in Workforce and Basic Skills Services
President Obama’s FY 2015 budget released on Tuesday calls for new investments that prepare workers for jobs in demand and put unemployed people back to work. The proposal comes at a time of weak job growth, with the national unemployment rate still above 6 percent.
Mar 07, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
President’s Budget Seeks Pay-for-Success Expansions
In the FY 2015 budget proposal, President Obama continues to signal his Administration’s interest in and support for “pay-for-success” models, also known as Social Impact Bonds or SIBs. In this approach, private investors provide up-front funding for preventive services and are paid by government agencies only if and when the programs achieve desired outcomes.
Mar 07, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Subsidized Employment a Key Strategy in President’s Budget
President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal includes several provisions to expand the availability of subsidized employment for unemployed and disadvantaged workers. This is critical, because unemployment remains high, with 3.8 million workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more. Youth face particularly high unemployment rates, 21.4 percent in February 2014. Subsidized employment was shown to be an effective and well-received strategy when funding was available under the TANF Emergency Fund.
Mar 06, 2014 | Helly Lee
President Proposes Expanding and Strengthening EITC To Youth and Childless Adults
On Tuesday, President Obama released his FY 2015 budget, which includes a proposal to expand and strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income childless workers, including non-custodial parents. In his budget, President Obama proposes doubling the maximum credit for childless workers to about $1,000 and increasing the income limit to qualify for the credit from less than $15,000 to $18,000. In addition, the President proposes to make the EITC available for young workers age 21 and over and older workers up to age 67, consistent with the rising Social Security full retirement age.
Mar 04, 2014 | Liz Ben-Ishai
Budget Proposal Invests in Paid Leave
President Obama’s budget proposal, released today, sends a strong endorsement of policies that support working families – and that includes family leave. The proposal includes a total of $105 million to support a State Paid Leave Fund. These funds would provide technical assistance and support to states considering following in the footsteps of California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island -- the only states in the country to offer paid family leave insurance.
Mar 04, 2014 | Hannah Matthews
President’s Budget: Early Childhood Programs Core to Expanding Opportunity
In releasing his budget proposal for FY 2015, the President reaffirmed his commitment to expanding high-quality early learning for all young children. The President’s budget makes investments across birth to five programs in the Departments of Health and Human Services and Education, including child care, home visiting, Head Start and Early Head Start, and pre-kindergarten.
Feb 27, 2014 | Kisha Bird and Rhonda Bryant
I Am My Brother's Keeper
Yesterday, the President made a groundbreaking announcement for boys and young men of color. As he relayed the numerous statistics about current outcomes for boys and young men of color, he noted that these issues should not be an acceptable part of the American story.
Feb 28, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan
Community Eligibility: Setting a Place for All at the School Lunch Table
The expansion of Community Eligibility will give millions of low-income children the free nutritious meals they need to ensure positive health, education, and economic outcomes now and in the future.
Feb 27, 2014 | Joan Lombardi
The Highs and Lows of Early Education and Child Care
CLASP is pleased to feature this guest blog post by Joan Lombardi, a national and international expert on early childhood who served most recently as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary and Interagency Liaison for Early Childhood Development in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2009-2011.
Feb 24, 2014 | Stephanie Schmit
Goals for EHS-CC Partnerships that Meet the Needs of Low-income Families
To ensure that EHS-CC partnerships meet the needs of low-income, vulnerable families, CLASP submitted a set of recommendations to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for their funding opportunity announcement (FOA) that will provide instructions and criteria to those interested in applying for EHS-CC grants issued by ACF.
Feb 20, 2014 | Hannah Matthews
Child Care Subsidy Spending, Participation Fall to New Lows
New analysis from CLASP shows state spending on child care assistance, including funds from two federal programs—the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant — at a 10-year low and the number of children receiving CCDBG-funded assistance at a 14-year low.
Feb 13, 2014 | Manuela Ekowo and Vickie Choitz
From Adult Education to College: Success Factors, Challenges, and Tools
MDRC's report, Beyond the GED: Promising Models for Moving High School Dropouts to College, provides a snapshot of innovative adult education programs and the challenges involved in helping high school dropouts acquire a GED and gain postsecondary credentials.
Feb 12, 2014 | Liz Ben-Ishai
Costas, Wonkblog are Right: Going to Work Sick is a Bad Idea
In today's Wonkblog piece, "Bob Costas is right: Going to work sick is a terrible idea," on the broadcaster's withdrawal from NBC's Olympics coverage, Sarah Kliff rightly points out that many U.S. workers go to work sick because they don’t have access to paid sick days, leading to high rates of costly “presenteeism.”
Feb 06, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch
Helping Unemployed Workers Access Benefits: A Q&A
The Senate again failed to overcome a filibuster preventing action on a bill to extend federal UI. This Q&A hopes to understand what this means on the ground – and to learn about one strategy for helping such workers.
Feb 06, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Helly Lee
SNAP Policy Brief: College Student Eligibility
Even after accounting for all financial aid, many low-income college students have thousands of dollars of unmet need, even when they attend low-cost institutions such as community colleges. One way to close this gap is to help students understand and access public benefits that can help them temporarily meet basic needs. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is among the largest public benefit programs, now reaching over 47 million individuals. It is one of the few benefit programs that is available to individuals without regard to family status or disability. Since 1977, there have been restrictions on college students receiving food stamp benefits. However, there are also a number of exceptions to these restrictions, and many low-income college students, especially the growing share of “non-traditional” students, may qualify for one of these exceptions.
Feb 06, 2014 | Manuela Ekowo and Neil Ridley
Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) Launches Effort to Improve Data and Information on Postsecondary Education and Training
The Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC) recently launched a new website, www.workforcedqc.org and issued a new report, Making Workforce Data Work about steps policymakers can take to improve the availability and quality of information about postsecondary education and training. CLASP is one of nine national partners helping to shape the WDQC’s policy agenda to ensure that data systems are better aligned and include more information on students that are helpful to educators, students, employers, and policymakers.
Feb 06, 2014 | Jodie Levin-Epstein
2014 Poverty Polling Pulling Purple
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, which President Lyndon Johnson launched in his January 8, 1964 State of the Union address. Since then in the annual SOTU, “Presidents of both parties have shown a rare, bipartisan resolve to avoid the subject,” noted Jeff Shesol, former speechwriter for President Clinton, in a recent New Yorker piece entitled “The ‘P’ Word.” While red and blue presidents may be skittish about the politics of poverty, the majority of everyday people – from both parties – are already signaling some shared views worth noting.
Feb 05, 2014 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success
CLASP Comments on Proposed Postsecondary Institution Rating System
CLASP Comments on a Proposed Postsecondary Institution Rating System.
Feb 05, 2014 | Liz Ben-Ishai
FMLA at Twenty-One: Let’s Blow Out the Candles and Get to Work
A 20th anniversary is an important milestone. But turning 21? Although exciting for young adults, it’s a slightly less momentous number for a law. So, with the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) a year behind us, 21 is a good time to roll up our sleeves and get to work, improving upon the law. On this anniversary, policymakers, advocates, and businesses are calling for Congress to do more for working families.
Feb 04, 2014 | Helly Lee
Congress Enacts Farm Bill After Years of Debate and Negotiations
On January 29th the House passed H.R. 2642, a negotiated agreement between House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders on the 5-year Farm Bill.
Feb 04, 2014 | Lavanya Mohan
TANF Education and Training: Nebraska’s Employment First Program
As part of the TANF Education and Training series, CLASP highlights state innovations in Nebraska that help TANF recipients pursue postsecondary and skills training.
Jan 31, 2014 | Lavanya Mohan
Suspicionless Drug Testing Ruled Unconstitutional; States Shift to Propose Suspicion-Based Laws
The implementation and subsequent ruling against the Florida law shows that suspicionless drug testing is unconstitutional, ineffective, and costly. In the four months that Florida administered universal drug testing before an injunction was issued, the state found that just 2.6 percent of applicants had failed the drug test. The program cost the state an additional $45,780—more than the TANF benefits that would have been paid to individuals who failed the test.
Jan 31, 2014 | Lavanya Mohan and Helly Lee
Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day: Strategies to Promote Work and Reduce Inequality
One of the nation’s largest, most effective anti-poverty programs, the EITC supplements earnings and encourages work among low-wage earners. In 2012, the EITC lifted 6.5 million people, including 3.3 million children, out of poverty, while also reducing its severity for an additional 8.3 million children.
Jan 31, 2014 | Christine Johnson-Staub
Project LAUNCH Leads to Partnerships for Improving Child and Family Well-Being
The Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF’s) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation recently released a report summarizing the findings of the first year of its evaluation of Project LAUNCH, which has included 24 programs in 23 locations. The report shows that Project LAUNCH had an important impact on building cross-system partnerships, supporting two-generation initiatives, and creating models of service delivery that cut across sectors to reach families more efficiently.
Jan 31, 2014 | Kisha Bird
A National Spotlight on African American Achievement
In the State of the Union address, the President sent a strong signal that we should focus not only on income equality, access to quality education at all age levels, and pipelines to a good job—all of which would have an impact of African American achievement—but also committed to building a new initiative that would address the unique challenges facing young men of color.
Jan 30, 2014 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success and Youth Policy Team
CLASP Comments on House Hearing Keeping College within Reach
CLASP offers recommendations for Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in response to the January 28, 2014 House Education and the Workforce Committee, Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training Hearing “Keeping College within Reach: Sharing Best Practices for Serving Low-Income and First Generation Students”.
Jan 28, 2014 | Olivia Golden
There’s a Role for All of Us in Helping Low-Income People Enroll in Health Coverage under the ACA
This month, January 2014, marks a major milestone in Americans’ access to health care. As key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became effective on January 1, millions of individuals gained health insurance coverage from the plans they chose in late 2013 —through the Health Insurance Marketplaces or the Medicaid expansion.
Jan 27, 2014 | Rhiannon Reeves
Disinvestments in Children Due to Sequestration Affect Child Well-Being
According to the 2013 National Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI), the slow recovery of the Great Recession of 2008-2009 resulted in an overall decrease in the economic well-being of families with children under the age of 18, with all previous gains made since 1975 having been lost. While this year’s federal investments in child care and early education may help ameliorate some of the effects of the economic downturn, they cannot turn back the clock for children and families who lost income and benefits over that period of time.
Jan 24, 2014 | Jodie Levin-Epstein and Lauren French
Richmond Tackles Poverty with a Two-Generation Lens
Dwight C. Jones, mayor of Richmond, Virginia, is facing a $20 million dollar budget gap, but he believes that gap is no excuse to avoid working to address a pressing problem: the city’s poverty.
Jan 24, 2014 | Stephanie Schmit
What are Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships?
The President signed a 2014 spending bill which included a substantial increase of $1.4 billion for child care and early education; over $1 billion of that increase was for Head Start. Included within the Head Start appropriation was $500 million for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. Individually, Early Head Start and child care programs are widely known and understood, but what does it mean to bring the two together?
Jan 24, 2014 | Neil Ridley and Lavanya Mohan
2014: The Year for Action on State Work Sharing Programs
As 2014 begins, states have a unique opportunity to enact work sharing programs that have the potential to save thousands of jobs.
Jan 22, 2014 | Lauren French
Survey Shows that Restaurants Can Reduce Costs Through Better Employment Practices
The restaurant industry is an important part of our economy, employing over 10 million people and generating sales revenues of $660.5 billion in 2013 alone. But despite its success, the industry offers its employees notoriously low wages and limited access to benefits and advancement opportunities. A new study shows that these practices may be harmful not just to workers, but to businesses as well.
Jan 17, 2014 | Zane Jennings and Kisha Bird
The High Cost of Youth Unemployment
A new study by Young Invincibles, “In This Together,” demonstrates the dire situation young adults face in today’s labor market a and the economic consequences of youth unemployment to our nation.
Jan 17, 2014 | Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield
How Does Postsecondary Education Fare in the New Federal Budget?
As the result of bi-partisan negotiations, Congress arrived this week at a $1.1 trillion federal omnibus budget agreement that sets spending levels for each federal program. This post summarizes how the budget affects postsecondary education.
Jan 16, 2014 | Lauren French
Shriver Report Shines Light on Women in Poverty
Despite the fact that women have become increasingly essential to our workplaces and are outnumbering men in our institutions of higher learning, a shocking number of women are still living one illness, car breakdown, or missed paycheck away from financial disaster.
Jan 15, 2014 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Hannah Matthews and Neil Ridley
A Look at the New Federal Spending Bill: How Does It Affect Key Programs for Low-Income Children, Youth, Families, and Individuals?
As the result of bi-partisan negotiations, Congress will consider by the end of the week a $1.1 trillion federal omnibus appropriations bill for federal fiscal year (FY) 2014.
Jan 14, 2014 | Hannah Matthews
A Billion Dollar Boost for Child Care and Early Learning
Yesterday, Congress unveiled an omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2014, which began on October 1, 2013. This was the next step in the budget deal agreed to last October.
Jan 14, 2014 | Helly Lee
Congress Continues Negotiations on Farm Bill: Protect SNAP!
Congress has yet to complete work on a 5-year Farm Bill reauthorization. The leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture committees continue to meet to discuss changes to the bill, leaving many to wonder what compromises on nutrition programs will come out of these closed-door sessions. While much is still unclear, there have been some reports on what cuts we can expect to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
Jan 09, 2014 | Helly Lee
Misguided CTC Amendment Pits Vulnerable Communities Against Each Other
This week, Senator Ayotte (R-NH) filed an amendment to the bill extending federal Unemployment Insurance benefits that would deny two million working families – and more than 4 million children –access to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). This amendment would make low-income families who file taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), instead of a Social Security Number (SSN), ineligible for the refundable CTC.
Jan 06, 2014 | Neil Ridley
Resolved for 2014: Renew Jobless Benefits for the Long-Term Unemployed
During the final days of 2013, 1.3 million jobless workers and their families were cut off from federal extended unemployment benefits as a result of congressional inaction. These benefits help long-term unemployed workers make ends meet while they search for work in a tough job market.
Dec 20, 2013 | Christine Johnson-Staub and Hannah Matthews
What’s Good for the Parent is Good for the Child: Access to Health Care Coverage Benefits the Whole Family
Supporting healthy children isn't just about health coverage for kids. Covering parents is good for children too. Parents' access to health care supports effective parenting, while untreated physical and mental health problems can get in the way. The whole family is also more likely to be financially stable as the burdens of unexpected health problems and related costs are lifted.
Dec 18, 2013 | Julie Strawn
Getting Remediation Right: New Insights from California
Along with college costs, helping underprepared students succeed in college is arguably the most important issue facing higher education. Given changing demographics, America's future global competitiveness and the prosperity of our families and communities depend on finding a solution. Two recent reports from California's LearningWorks—a nonprofit founded by community college leaders and faculty, researchers, and policy experts—shed new light on the nuts and bolts of effective remediation reform and how it can help more disadvantaged students graduate.
Dec 17, 2013 | Lauren French
You Are Where You Eat: ROC National Diners Guide 2014
The restaurant industry is one of the largest sectors of the US economy and is projected to see some of the highest levels of growth by 2020. But the industry isn't sharing its success with the people who have, in large part, made this growth possible: restaurant workers who are routinely paid poverty-level wages and rarely have access to crucial benefits, including paid sick days.
Dec 16, 2013 | Manuela Ekowo and Julie Strawn
Keeping Pell on Track to Help Low-Income Americans Afford College
The Save Pell Coalition, of which CLASP is a member, has released new findings on the current state of the Pell Grant program and the many students who are counting on it.
Dec 13, 2013 | Tom Salyers
Budget Deal Would Halt Some Sequester Woes, Provide Fiscal Stability
As pundits dissect the proposed budget deal hammered out by the committee co-chaired by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), CLASP is examining the proposal with a focus on how it affects low-income children, families and individuals. Following are questions about the deal with responses from several CLASP experts.
Dec 12, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai
Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Law Would Help Employers Do Good and Do Well
When fast food workers bravely took to the streets in September to protest the unlivable wages that many earn, the media shone a spotlight on the exploitative and unsustainable practices of some large employers. But while these unscrupulous businesses deserve all the attention they are getting, they don't represent the majority of business owners. In fact, many workers are lucky enough to work for businesses that truly care about them--businesses that know the value of their employees and want to do what's right for them, including ensuring access to paid leave.
Dec 12, 2013 | Julie Strawn
Consortium Reforms Shift Tax-Based Student Aid to Families Who Most Struggle with College Costs
Our package of reforms would realign the $34 billion federal investment in tax-based student aid with national goals of increasing college affordability, access, and success.
Dec 10, 2013 | Julie Strawn
Wealthiest Families Receive Largest Share of Tax-Based Student Aid
In 2013, the largest share (over 30 percent) of the federal government's $34 billion investment in tax-based student aid will go to the wealthiest fifth of American households.
Dec 09, 2013 | Rhiannon Reeves
Confronting the Child Care Eligibility Maze
A new report from CLASP and the Urban Institute, Confronting the Child Care Eligibility Maze: Simplifying and Aligning with Other Work Supports, aims to address two important challenges faced by low-income families eligible for child care assistance: burdensome administrative processes that make it difficult to get and keep child care benefits, and the cumulative challenges clients face when they try to access other benefits for which they are eligible.
Dec 06, 2013 | Neil Ridley
Despite Improving Employment Picture, Jobless Workers Face a Bleak Holiday with Federal Unemployment Benefits Set to Expire
This time of year, many jobless workers and their families face a difficult and uncertain holiday season. Unless Congress acts soon, 1.3 million workers will lose federal unemployment benefits when the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program expires on December 28. Another 850,000 workers will exhaust state unemployment benefits in early 2014 and lose access to federal unemployment assistance.
Dec 05, 2013 | Lauren French
Justice Begins at Home: Extending FLSA Protections to Home Care Workers
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that it would be extending the Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum wage and overtime protections to workers who provide home care assistance to older adults and those with illness, injury or disability. This was welcome news for the nearly two million home workers who have long been denied these basic protections that most U.S. workers already enjoy.
Dec 05, 2013 | Julie Strawn
Students with Least Amount of Need Receive the Most Tax-Based Student Aid
The federal government spends nearly $34 billion annually on student aid delivered through the tax system--a billion more than it spends on Pell Grants. Despite extensive research showing that low- and modest-income families are more likely to respond to changes in college costs and student aid, this tax aid provides substantial support to higher-income families who are well beyond middle class.
- Dec 03, 2013 | Julie Strawn The 34 Billion Dollar Question: Is Tax-Based Aid Advancing College Access and Completion Goals? The Consortium for Higher Education Tax Reform--a partnership of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at CLASP, Young Invincibles, the New America Foundation's Education Policy Program, and The Education Trust--has developed specific recommendations that would go a long way toward fixing current problems with tax-based aid.
- Nov 27, 2013 | Helly Lee Time to Carve Turkey, not SNAP Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday. Many Americans will travel far and near to celebrate with friends and family around dinner tables filled with elaborately prepared food. However, for many low income families, the holidays are an especially difficult time. Many struggle to provide the basics for their families, let alone a celebratory Thanksgiving feast.
- Nov 26, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews Early Education is not One-Size-Fits-All: Addressing the Unique Needs of Dual Language Learners More than one in four young children under age 6 in the United States have at least one parent who speaks a language other than English, and one in seven has at least one parent who is limited English proficient (LEP). Many of these children and some of their parents will learn English while learning or speaking another language. For early learning programs to fully reach their goals of supporting children's growth, development, and school readiness, they must be intentional about meeting the educational needs of dual language learners (DLLs). A recent report from the Migration Policy Institute identifies particular features of early learning programs that most effectively support DLLs.
- Nov 21, 2013 | Consortium for Higher Education Tax Reform Higher Education Experts Call for Tax Reforms to Improve College Affordability, Access, and Completion A consortium of higher education experts has called on Congress to reform tax-based student aid to ensure it reaches the low- and modest-income families who most need it to access college. With nearly $34 billion spent each year, this form of aid is more common than even Pell Grants, but action is needed to maximize its impact on college access and completion.
- Nov 21, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Child Care Workforce Study Reveals Large, Educated Workforce In 2012, the early care and education workforce consisted of about one million caregivers in center-based programs, 830,000 paid home-based caregivers and about 2.3 million unpaid home-based caregivers. The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) in the US Department of Health and Human Services recently released the first in a series of briefs as part of the National Survey of Early Care and Education project that sheds some light on the characteristics of the early care and education workforce across the country.
- Nov 20, 2013 | Christine Johnson-Staub The Importance of Family Engagement in Infant and Toddler Programs Family engagement strategies in child care and early education include families as partners and support families in parenting their children to help them reach their full potential. Research shows the value of building strong relationships among the adults in a young child's life and the positive impact those relationships can have on the family as a whole.
- Nov 20, 2013 | Lauren French New Report Finds that Four in Ten Women Lack Economic Security Despite the increasingly important role of women in America's workforce, many are still struggling to afford basic needs and make ends meet. In conjunction with Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-D), Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) recently hosted a congressional briefing to discuss these economic challenges.
- Nov 19, 2013 | Lauren French 75 Years of the FLSA: Celebrating and Looking Ahead This year marks the 75th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the first federal law to set standards for minimum wage, overtime, and child labor regulations. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor celebrated this milestone by bringing together workers, researchers, and advocates to discuss the development of the FLSA and the future of workplace protections
- Nov 14, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch SNAP Cuts Put Youth at Risk In a typical month in 2011, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) served 4.3 million low-income young adults ages 18-24, helping them buy needed groceries. These young adults would be particularly affected by the cuts proposed to SNAP in the House-passed Farm bill (H.R. 3102), which is now being considered by a conference committee.
- Nov 14, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews Investing in Young Children: A Fact Sheet on Early Care and Education Participation, Access, and Quality CLASP, together with the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), released "Investing in Young Children: A Fact Sheet on Early Care and Education Participation, Access, and Quality". The joint report reveals that significant underinvestment in early care and education programs at the state and federal levels has left large numbers of children underserved.
- Nov 13, 2013 | Hannah Matthews Strong Start for America's Children Act Introduced in Senate and House Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) introduced the Strong Start for America's Children Act: landmark legislation that provides for universal access to high-quality pre-kindergarten services for low-income children through a federal-state partnership and expands quality child care for infants and toddlers.
- Nov 13, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch House Farm Bill Places Families at Risk House and Senate conferees are now meeting to try to reconcile the differences between the Farm bills passed by the two chambers. The House-passed nutrition title includes two provisions that are sometimes described as work requirements for adults who are receiving benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). However, these provisions are missing critical protections. If these provisions were enacted into law, entire families could be denied benefits when members were willing to work but unable to find employment.
- Nov 08, 2013 | Olivia Golden Recommendations to the Congressional Budget Conference Committee CLASP offers recommendations to the Congressional Budget Conference Committee, including ending sequestration and defending core programs for low-income people.
- Nov 07, 2013 | CLASP A New Look at the GAO Report on Workforce Funding In January 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report entitled "Multiple Employment and Training Programs: Providing Information on Colocating Services and Consolidating Administrative Structures Could Promote Efficiencies." In this report, GAO identified 47 federal programs that provided support for employment and training activities in fiscal year 2009, with a total funding level of $17.6 billion. This statement has taken on a life of its own, and is often cited as evidence of extensive duplication and overlap between federally funded workforce development programs.
- Nov 07, 2013 | Marcie Foster and Kisha Bird Nearly One in Five Americans Has Low Basic Skills, but Solutions Exist to Strengthen America's Workforce Literacy, Numeracy, and Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments Among U.S. Adults: First Look examines basic skills by demographic and other socioeconomic factors, including race, educational attainment, foreign status, and age. This critical information will enable us to design smarter, more effective policy solutions that improve the skills of America's adults and youth.
- Nov 06, 2013 | Lauren French American Public Health Association Voices Support for Paid Leave In exciting news for earned sick days and paid family and medical leave advocates across the country, the American Public Health Association (APHA) has issued a new policy statement supporting steps to create paid leave policies. This is a tremendous endorsement for paid leave campaigns, as well as for millions of U.S. workers who currently lack any access paid leave.
- Nov 06, 2013 | Jodie Levin-Epstein Delaware Governor Jack Markell's Financial Literacy Inititative CLASP Deputy Director Jodie Levin-Epstein recently discussed financial capability initiatives with Delaware Governor Jack Markell. Governor Markell has spearheaded a financial empowerment program called "Stand By Me," a joint effort of his administration and the United Way of Delaware.
- Nov 07, 2013 | Marcie Foster and Kisha Bird From PIAAC to Policy Solutions: Promoting Postsecondary and Economic Success for Low-Skilled Workers A just-released international assessment of adult skills, the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) shows that a large portion of the U.S. population has low skills, impeding their ability to achieve economic success and build stronger families. Findings illuminate that the U.S. continues to struggle with improving the skills of our nation's adult workforce, particularly among disadvantaged and minority workers.
- Nov 04, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch New Health Insurance Marketplaces Support Work Much attention has been paid in the last few weeks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so-called Obamacare. So far, most of that discussion has ranged from the launch of the federal website to the overall effectiveness of the ACA in providing healthcare insurance to those who need it. One element that has not been discussed much, however, is the enormous benefit the full implementation of the ACA will be in promoting work and ensuring that low-wage workers will not lose access to health insurance by accepting a job.
- Nov 01, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan SNAP Benefits Decline for Low-Income People; Cuts Highlight Importance of Nutrition Aid Starting today, 47 million people who receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), including 22 million children and 9 million elderly and disabled people, will see a five percent cut in their monthly SNAP benefits. These cuts add up to an estimated $11 billion over three years. Moreover, households receiving SNAP could see even deeper cuts as a Congressional conference committee works to reconcile the House and Senate Farm bills.
- Oct 30, 2013 | Jodie Levin-Epstein A Nurse, the Safety Net, and National Discourse Tears, tissues, and a standing ovation opened a recent briefing on poverty metrics in Washington, D.C. The occasion was the release of Half in Ten's latest numbers on reaching the goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years. Chelsey Hagy opened the briefing with her personal story of how she persisted in her goal to become a nurse despite significant hardship. She credited her success to government programs that helped her with a range of expenses, including health care for her special needs son, nursing school costs, and rent subsidies that enabled her young family to keep a roof over their heads. As Hagy recounted her path, she choked on words and dabbed at her eyes. So, too, did some in the audience.
- Oct 30, 2013 | Lauren French D.C. Workers and Businesses Show Support for Earned Sick Leave More than 140 business leaders, restaurant workers, advocates, public health professionals and Washington, D.C. residents signed up to testify before a recent joint committee of the city council on proposed minimum wage and earned sick and safe leave legislation. The rush of people eager to speak at this Monday, October 28 meeting is evidence of the importance of the bills under consideration, which would raise the minimum wage and amend the existing Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act. Earned sick leave advocates are calling on the committee to send a comprehensive bill addressing both earned sick leave and a minimum wage increase to the full city council. At the hearing, the majority of council members supported extending earned sick and safe leave. Councilmember Vincent B. Orange, Sr., chair of the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs, unequivocally stated that "we will get sick leave passed."
- Oct 29, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit A Strengths-Based Look at the State of the Black Child "Being labeled 'at risk' is like being voted least likely to succeed. For where there is no faith in your future success, there is no real effort to prepare you for it," says Carol Brunson Day, one of the many experts to contribute commentary to the National Black Child Development Institute's latest publication, Being Black Is Not a Risk Factor: A Strengths-Based Look at the State of the Black Child.
- Oct 24, 2013 | Christine Johnson-Staub The Road to Universal Pre-K in the Empire State After decades of experience with a pre-kindergarten system that works for children in some communities and not for others, the Center for Children's Initiatives and the Campaign for Educational Equity in New York State are recommending a path that would make pre-k available to all children. "Making Pre-Kindergarten Truly Universal: a Statewide Roadmap" proposes making pre-kindergarten part of the state public school financing formula.
- Oct 23, 2013 | Neil Ridley Shutdown, Sequester Hit Workforce Programs In addition to the economic costs, the shutdown affected workforce programs that help people prepare for work, find jobs and build the skills they need to compete in a tough job market.
- Oct 23, 2013 | Kisha Bird CLASP Report Highlights the Challenge of Young Black Male Unemployment, Offers Policies, Practices to Address Deep-Seated Problem In the current labor market, many youth and young adults are struggling to find work. Far too many are either unemployed or working in low-wage jobs with minimal hours, unable to take care of themselves and their families. The long-term employment mobility and earnings of youth and young adults will be severely impacted without early work experience and adequate participation in the labor market during these critical years.
- Oct 23, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Child Care Assistance Policies: At a Pivot Point The National Women's Law Center's (NWLC) annual report, finds that states are at a pivot point in child care assistance policy as states make important decisions to build on their subsidy systems. The report finds that families are better off under one or more key child care assistance policies than they were last year in 27 states -- but in 24 states, families are doing worse.
- Oct 18, 2013 | Olivia Golden The Real Costs of the Federal Shutdown Even as we celebrate the resumption of federal operations, we need to look closely at the true costs of start-and-stop government, including the damage it does to high-quality, reliable, and effective public services. When you tally the real costs this way, they add up to far more than the short-term economic losses for families and communities.
Oct 18, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Tom Salyers
The Federal Government is Open Again
Thanks to Congress passing and President Obama signing H.R. 2775, the government was able to re-open October 17 after a 16-day partial shutdown. This fact sheet describes the headlines of what H.R. 2775 does.
- Oct 18, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Data Show Critical Role of Head Start in the Lives of Poor Children and Their Families Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) provide poor children and their families with vitally important early education and family support services. In 2012, the Head Start preschool program served over 946,000 young children and their families and Early Head Start served more than 151,300 children under age 3 and 16,175 pregnant women. CLASP's new fact sheets on Head Start preschool and Early Head Start, based on Program Information Report (PIR) data from the 2011-2012 school year, explore the characteristics of children and families served by the programs, as well as the programs themselves and their staff.
- Oct 17, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Signs of Culture Change: San Francisco Passes Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance Workers who are caregivers to children or other dependents often face considerable hardships as they try to meet their caregiving obligations while performing their jobs. In San Francisco, workers will soon have a potential avenue to address these issues. Last week, the city's board of supervisors unanimously passed the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, which will give workers who have personal caregiving obligations the right to request changes to their working conditions in order to meet these obligations.
- Oct 17, 2013 | Vickie Choitz CLASP and Greater Twin Cities United Way to host forum on Career Pathways On November 7, CLASP will be participating in Strengthening Your Career Pathways Systems: Tools, Tips and Tactics in St. Paul, Minnesota. The forum is hosted by Greater Twin Cities United Way and sponsored by CLASP. The day-long event will feature local, state, and national leaders committed to supporting career pathways.
- Oct 16, 2013 | Olivia Golden and Stephanie Schmit CLASP Responds to Senate Finance Committee Letter on Mental Health Improvements On September 30, CLASP submitted comments to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in response to their letter soliciting recommendations on how to improve the mental health system. CLASP's comments highlighted both barriers in the current mental health system and opportunities for improvement.
- Oct 10, 2013 | Tom Salyers What the Federal Government Shutdown Means to Low-Income People As the partial government shutdown continues, we are closely monitoring the effects and implications on low-income people. To ensure we keep you as current as possible, we have revised this Q&A -- originally posted on October 1 -- to reflect changes, update our information, and provide additional insights. I have gathered thoughts from CLASP colleagues, including Marcie Foster, Olivia Golden, Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Hannah Matthews and Neil Ridley about the impact of the shutdown on low-income families and individuals. In addition, we obtained information from other organizations. This revision encompasses the insights of all.
- Oct 09, 2013 | Marcie Foster and Janne Huang U.S. Workers Lagging Behind on Basic Skills The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released its world report of the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), comparing the skill levels of adult workers across 24 developed countries. The report reveals that the U.S. is lagging behind other nations and must do more to strengthen skills development systems and boost economic opportunity for America's workers.
- Oct 09, 2013 | Olivia Golden Why Cherry-Picking Programs to Fund is No Way to Govern Head Start and WIC (formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) are among the most crucial public programs for young children's wellbeing and long-term success. Both target vulnerable young children and their parents, with Head Start providing early childhood education along with comprehensive family support and WIC providing nutritious food, counseling on healthy eating, and health care referrals to low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children under age 5.
- Oct 03, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews Better for Babies: Parents, Providers, and Caregivers Supported by and Linked to Community Resources This post is the final installment in a series highlighting the findings from CLASP's recent study and subsequent publication, "Better For Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies."
- Oct 01, 2013 | Hannah Matthews Impact of Government Shutdown On Child Care and Early Education Programs Congress did not enact a continuing resolution bill by midnight September 30, thereby triggering a partial government shutdown effective October 1. We hope that most child care and early education programs will continue operating as usual, but that will depend on how long the shutdown lasts and the circumstances of individual states.
- Oct 01, 2013 | Olivia Golden Curtain Rises on Health Insurance Marketplaces: Health Care for Millions of Uninsured is Just Three Months Away
- Oct 11, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch 2013 Update: Random Drug Testing of TANF Recipients is Costly, Ineffective and Hurts Families
- Oct 01, 2013 | Lauren French Working Mother's 100 Best Companies Provide Paid Leave Model for the Nation Working Mother magazine recently released its 28th annual list of the 100 Best Companies for working moms, honoring employers who offer flexible work schedules and benefits that provide support for women and working parents.
- Oct 01, 2013 | Vickie Choitz and Manuela Ekowo 90 Days Left! CLASP Welcomes Your Feedback on the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Beta Framework CLASP and the Alliance partners are collecting feedback on the Beta Framework until December 31, 2013; there are 90 days left to submit feedback on the criteria, indicators, and shared metrics to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Alliance partners are in the process of reviewing the framework with key stakeholders, practitioners, and community leaders, as well as field-testing it in their states.
- Sep 30, 2013 | Hannah Matthews A Win-Win for Children: Raising Smart, Healthy Kids Together with eight early childhood and public health organizations, CLASP is releasing Raising Smart, Healthy Kids In Every State, a report that details the early childhood and health benefits of President Obama's plan to expand early education through an increase in federal tobacco taxes. Enacting this early learning proposal with an increase in federal tobacco taxes would eventually provide two million children a year with access to high-quality preschool and prevent 1.7 million kids from becoming smokers.
Sep 24, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews
Better for Babies: Helping Low-Income Families Access Quality Child Care Options
The new report is part of CLASP's Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care Project. The foundation of Charting Progress is a Policy Framework comprised of four key principles describing what babies and toddlers in child care need. One of the key principles is that families need access to quality child care options. For low-income families, child care assistance is essential to affording the high costs of infant and toddler care. State child care subsidy policies can determine whether and how parents with very young children can get and retain assistance for and access to quality care.
- Sep 24, 2013 | Marcie Foster and Manuela Ekowo More Aid, Better Results: No-strings-attached financial aid keeps students on the road to success A recent National Bureau of Economic Research report examines the impact of student eligibility for a need-based state grant program in Florida on student outcomes by comparing eligible recipients to those just below the income eligibility cutoff. The study provides evidence that an increase in financial aid--with no strings attached--may increase student persistence and completion, and accelerate progress.
- Sep 23, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Taking Food from the Mouths of Children A coincidence of timing last week highlighted the contrast between the needs of hungry families in America and the political will in Washington to help them.
- Sep 19, 2013 | Lauren French D.C. Council Considers Expanded Paid Sick Leave Law On Tuesday, the D.C. Council introduced legislation that would finally give restaurant workers and new employees access to earned sick days. The new law, proposed by Marion Barry with the support of nine other councilmembers, would expand on the 2008 Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act (ASSLA). Although the ASSLA, the second earned sick days law to be passed in America, was an important milestone for workers and advocates it includes numerous exemptions that leave many workers in the District unprotected and struggling to care for their health and the health of their families.
- Sep 18, 2013 | CLASP Child Poverty in the U.S.: What New Census Data Tell Us About Our Youngest Children This fact sheet examines children and poverty in the U.S. in response to the 2012 poverty data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Sep 18, 2013 | Hannah Matthews The Children Are Still Poor in America Since the early part of the decade, the number of young children - those from birth to 5 years of age - living in poverty in the United States has been climbing. While that number held steady in 2012, according to data released today from the U.S. Census, the poverty report is far from good news.
- Sep 19, 2013 | Hannah Matthews and Stephanie Schmit Senate Moves Forward with Reauthorization of CCDBG The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions took another step toward seeing through the long overdue reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) through the passage of the bipartisan Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013.
- Sep 18, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Justice for Direct Care Workers Direct care workers--workers who provide home care assistance to older adults and people with illnesses and disabilities--have long been excluded from minimum wage and overtime protections enjoyed by most other classes of workers. Yesterday, the DOL announced a final rule that will end the loophole that has denied these essential service providers fair
- Sep 12, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Neil Ridley Subsidized Employment Helps Long-Term Unemployed Reconnect to Workforce Stimulating Opportunity, a new report from the Economic Mobility Corporation, highlights the role subsidized employment programs can play in reconnecting long-term unemployed workers to the workforce.
- Sep 12, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Better for Babies: Infants and Toddlers Need Nurturing, Responsive Providers They Can Trust to Care for Them as They Grow and Learn Recently, CLASP released a report, Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies, that presents data from a recent state survey of child care subsidy, licensing, and quality enhancement policies. It provides a national picture of infant-toddler child care.
- Sep 06, 2013 | Lauren French Grandparents Day Drives Home Importance of Paid Leave This Sunday, September 8, marks the annual celebration of National Grandparents Day. This holiday reminds us of the critical support that paid leave provides in caring for our older Americans. Paid leave greatly improves the quality of life and economic security of seniors by allowing them to address their own health needs while remaining in the workforce, and by allowing working family members to provide quality care to elder loved ones.
- Sep 05, 2013 | Lily Jamaludin Sharing Prosperity in Philadelphia The 2008 Great Recession hit Philadelphia much harder than many other places in the country, exacerbating already-increasing poverty and unemployment rates. Since then, the city's recovery has been much slower than elsewhere. In fact, poverty in Philadelphia is the highest among the nation's ten largest cities, and the city has a stunning 28% poverty rate, 13 points higher than the national average. While some parts of the city are thriving and bustling, others remain mired in poverty, violence, and failing infrastructure.
- Sep 05, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews Better for Babies: Healthy and Safe Environments in Which to Explore and Learn This post is the second installment in a series highlighting the findings from CLASP's recent study and subsequent publication, "Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies," that presents data from a recent state survey of child care subsidy, licensing, and quality enhancement policies. It provides a national picture of infant-toddler child care.
- Sep 03, 2013 | Marcie Foster and Julie Strawn President Lays Out Bold Agenda for Higher Education Reform CLASP's Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success comments on President Obama's plan for the reform of higher education as part of a national tour focused on college access and affordability. The president's plan targets three major areas of reform: paying colleges and students for performance, promoting innovation and competition, and ensuring student debt is affordable.
- Sep 03, 2013 | Hannah Matthews As Young Children Head Back to School, the Importance of Early Education is Clear Addressing child poverty requires solutions across a broad spectrum of policy areas, including job creation, job quality, and economic and social supports for children and their parents. Central to any sound poverty reduction strategy is a focus on children's early education opportunities. Too many young children in low-income families arrive in kindergarten without prior experience in a high-quality early education program that can help prepare them for school success.
- Aug 30, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Labor Day Shines Light on Challenges, Courage of Low-Wage Workers Shaniqua, a 20-year-old mother, works for McDonald's in New York City, where she can rarely get 40 hours a week. She struggles to afford food, diapers, and other basics. Nick, a McDonald's worker in Indianapolis, survives on $800 per month while caring for his chronically ill mother and disabled brother. Medical bills from a recent sinus infection cost him nearly a month's wages. Dearius, an assistant manager at a Memphis Church's Chicken, says fast food workers are tired of struggling to provide for their kids. And Shonda, a 38-year-old mother of three who works at a KFC in Oakland, says she and other strikers "just want to be able to make enough money to provide the basic necessities of life: food, rent, clothing for my children."
- Aug 29, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews It Is Time to Do Better for Our Babies: CLASP Releases Study of Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies Today, CLASP, is releasing a new report, Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies, that presents data from a recent state survey of child care subsidy, licensing, and quality enhancement policies. It provides a national picture of infant-toddler child care-one that shows significant room for improvement.
- Aug 29, 2013 | Katherine Saunders and Marcie Foster More Undergraduate Students Receive Financial Aid but Still Fall Short of Meeting College Costs While more undergraduates are receiving student aid, the average college student still suffers from significant unmet need-the "gap" between college costs and what students can afford to pay on their own or with grant aid. Community college students are among those undergraduates with substantial unmet need. In 2007-2008, over 98 percent of independent, full-time community college students with incomes in the bottom three quartiles (<$30,622) had unmet need. And in 2012-2013, the average full-time community college student had more than $6,000 in unmet need, according to the College Board.
- Aug 28, 2013 | Jodie Levin-Epstein Taking a Train Ride to History The economy in which the dream was rooted has changed dramatically: the decline of manufacturing was not on the horizon; most moms were not in the workforce; and, low-paying jobs then could more often serve as stepping stones to higher-paying positions. Today, the notion that if you work hard you can get ahead and your children will be better off --the core of the American Dream -- is not as possible to achieve as it once was.
- Aug 28, 2013 | Linda Harris Half a Century Later: What Are the Economic Prospects for Young Black Men? Beginning on Labor Day, CLASP will be releasing a series of reports and briefs about youth of color that focus on issues impacting their life outcomes, including school discipline, unemployment, dropout prevention, and community interventions. The first in the series, Feel the Heat: the Unrelenting Challenge of Young Black Male Unemployment, addresses the historically intractable nature of black male unemployment.
- Aug 27, 2013 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success Building the Middle Class with Better Skills and Wages: Who Would be Helped by Stronger Pathways? The Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) and CLASP have developed profiles of adult workers in every state who are in need of better skills and wages. Each state profile estimates the number of adult workers (ages 25-64) who are without two or four-year college degrees or have limited English skills and who earn less than the state median wage or are in the labor force but have not worked for the last year. The data sheets show the employment status, education level, race/ethnicity, age, gender, and English language proficiency of these workers and whether they earn above or below poverty-level wages.
- Aug 27, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Sequester II: The Scariest Sequel This Fall, Coming to a Community Near You?? During the last days of 2012, the political news was dominated by stories of the "fiscal cliff" and "sequestration." At the last minute, Congress and the President came to a deal that extended most of the Bush-era tax cuts and other provisions that would otherwise have expired on January 1, 2013. Taxes were allowed to rise for some of the wealthiest households, and payroll taxes returned to their usual levels. Congress temporarily postponed the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts of sequestration - but they began to take effect on March 1.
- Aug 26, 2013 | Emily Firgens Tips for Promoting Health Insurance Coverage Through Children's Public Benefits Programs The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) "Ten Ways to Promote New Insurance Opportunities" series of fact sheets offers information tailored to Head Start, SNAP, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs, along with schools, on how they can help with outreach and enrollment efforts.
- Aug 20, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Hannah Matthews TANF Child Care in 2012: How Low Can It Go? Federal TANF funds used for child care, including direct spending and transfers to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, have reached the lowest level since 1998.
- Aug 19, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Support for Low-Income Families Falls Again Spending data released by the Administration for Children and Families shows that state spending of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and related state maintenance of effort (MOE) funds declined again in federal fiscal year 2012.
- Aug 16, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan SNAP Benefits to Drop in November: Congress Considers Further Cuts This November, every household receiving SNAP benefits will see their benefits decline when a provision of the 2009 Recovery Act expires. The average benefit per person per meal for a SNAP recipient will decrease from a paltry $1.50 to just $1.40. This cut will affect all 47 million SNAP recipients, including 22 million children and 9 million elderly and disabled people. In fiscal year 2014 alone, these cuts will add up to an estimated loss of $5 billion in SNAP benefits.
- Aug 13, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai To Support Breastfeeding, Paid Family and Medical Leave is Crucial Having the time to bond with a new baby is crucial for many reasons. One reason why those first weeks after a baby is born are so vital is the importance of the breastfeeding relationship. However, for many mothers, that relationship is soon disrupted - as many as a quarter of mothers return to work less than 10 days after the birth of their child, and half are back at work by 40 days post-partum. Breastfeeding can and does continue once women return to work - the new federal healthcare law is helping to ensure that employers provide the accommodations that breastfeeding moms need. But to get off to a good start and ensure that breastfeeding can continue on, mothers need sufficient time away from work. And for most women, unpaid maternity leave is not a viable option.
- Aug 08, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Getting Down to Business Newsletter - August 2013 Getting Down to Business is CLASP's monthly update on the latest news about business and paid leave.
- Aug 08, 2013 | Julie Strawn and Marcie Foster Recommendations to the House of Representatives on the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act Over the last three decades, college costs have increased nearly four times faster than median family income. Financial aid has not filled the growing gap, and "unmet financial need" - the share of college costs not covered by financial aid or what the family is expected to contribute-has risen sharply. Half of community college students had unmet financial need in 2007-2009, averaging $4,500, as did 43 percent of students at public four-year colleges or universities, with their unmet need averaging $6,400. As a result, students must work more and borrow more, with debt now averaging more than $26,000 for recent four-year college graduates. Rising costs and rising debt make college a riskier investment for students and families, who lack the information they need to shop around for colleges and programs of study that will provide them with the best opportunity to earn a credential and secure a good job after graduation.
- Aug 02, 2013 | Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant Where Do We Go From Here? Solutions in the Wake of Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman President Obama acknowledged some important truths in his speech about the Zimmerman verdict - truths no president has ever stated so plainly. First, America's criminal laws are applied unevenly, resulting in racial disparities in "everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws." In 2010, the Sentencing Project found that African Americans were incarcerated at a rate 5.6 times higher than that of whites. Research shows that this trend was exacerbated by the "war on drugs" that began in the 1980s. In 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the sentencing disparities for crack versus powder cocaine. This legislation came about, in part, because of research that showed both versions of the drug were essentially the same. Prior to the passage of this law, 80 percent of those sentenced for dealing crack cocaine were African American.
- Aug 02, 2013 | Kisha Bird Bi-Partisan Partnership Helps to Advance Workforce Legislation in the Senate This week the Senate Health, Education, Workforce and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (S. 1356). A rare example of bi-partisanship in Washington these days, the bill was voted out of committee with a majority of support from both sides of the aisle. This movement marked the most significant progress in this chamber in several years to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
- Aug 02, 2013 | Neil Ridley Senate Committee Advances Bill to Reauthorize Workforce and Adult Education Programs In a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted overwhelmingly on July 31 to advance a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorization bill (S. 1356). The Senate action is the first significant push to reauthorize WIA since House passage of a reauthorization bill (H.R. 803) in March.
- Jul 31, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Poverty Trends: Declining Wages Require Growing Income Supports Conversations about the War on Poverty often begin with this dispiriting fact: the official U.S. poverty rate is stuck at 15 percent, essentially where it was 50 years ago when the War on Poverty began. Part of the answer can be found in the fact that the official poverty measure has not kept pace with the programs we have created to address it. The more fundamental answer has to do with the decline of wages, particularly at the low end of the labor market. Where once the safety net was designed to assist those who were not expected to work, or who were temporarily out of work, today's largest safety-net programs do much more by supplementing the wages of low-earning workers, particularly those with children.
- Jul 31, 2013 | Helly Lee House Subcommittee Learns about Strengthening the Safety Net Today, the House Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing on improving the safety net. Witnesses described what improvements are needed to the nation's safety net programs, but more importantly, one witness highlighted what is already being done in their state to better serve families.
- Jul 31, 2013 | Hannah Matthews Public Supports Investments in Early Learning; Will Congress Listen? Seventy percent of Americans favor providing 4-year-olds with access to high-quality preschool, according to results of a national survey of voters released today by the First Five Years Fund (FFYF). The survey found that approval of early learning investments was strong across party lines.
- Jul 29, 2013 | Lavanya Mohan Few TANF Applicants Test Positive for Drug Use; Testing is Costly and Ineffective This year alone, at least 30 states have brought forward proposals to screen or chemically test individuals applying for public benefits for drug use. Kansas and Texas recently enacted suspicion-based drug testing for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and Unemployment Insurance applicants, respectively. As we have discussed, drug testing public benefit applicants is ineffective, costly, and stigmatizing. This proof can be found in data from states that have already implemented drug testing laws.
- Jul 26, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai After Celebrating an Earned Sick Days Law, What's Next? Top Tips on Implementation When San Francisco became the first jurisdiction in the country to pass an earned sick days law, when Connecticut became the first state, and when Seattle followed in the footsteps of its fellow west coast city, advocates and supporters cheered. Now, as Portland and New York City move to implement their recently passed sick days laws - and, hopefully, as others soon follow suit - we can continue to celebrate the pioneering earned sick days laws by ensuring that the hard work and lessons learned from the implementation process don't go unheeded.
- Jul 25, 2013 | Emily Firgens A Pathway to Citizenship Plays a Positive Role in Children's Development A new report from Migration Policy Institute (MPI) suggests that having an unauthorized immigrant parent is associated with negative developmental outcomes, including include lower cognitive skills and emotional well-being in early childhood and higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms in adolescence.
- Jul 23, 2013 | Marcie Foster and Molly Fries Senators Take Action to Restore Access to Financial Aid for College-Ready Students without a High School Equivalency This week, Senators Patty Murray (WA) and Al Franken (MN) will introduce an amendment to the Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 (S. 1334) that would strengthen the Pell Grant program in the coming years and increase access to federal student aid programs for low-income and underrepresented students.
- Jul 23, 2013 | Neil Ridley Pathways Back to Work Act Introduced Four years after the official end of the Great Recession, the economy is improving, but the nation is struggling with slow job growth and high unemployment. Long-term unemployment in particular remains at record levels: nearly two out of five of the unemployed, or about 4 million workers, have been out of work for more than six months and large numbers have been jobless for more than a year. Numerous studies confirm that it is very difficult for long-term unemployed workers to re-enter the workforce.
- Jul 22, 2013 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success "Beta" Framework Details Criteria, Indicators, and Shared Metrics for High-Quality Career Pathway Systems Today's education and workforce development systems were designed for different times. They reflect an era when postsecondary credentials were not required by nearly two-thirds of the workforce and lifelong learning was more avocational than a key ingredient to sustained individual economic security and global competitiveness. That's why these systems were not designed to provide all workers with a seamless path to earning credentials and, despite all good intentions, have shortcomings and disconnects that can block the road to educational and economic success.
- Jul 19, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: Linking Women's Economic Security and Small Business Success Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's press conference yesterday announcing the House Democrats Economic Agenda for Women and Families, "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds," ended with Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez's speech highlighting the importance of the Agenda to small businesses. Velasquez is the ranking Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, which represents a community not always associated with support for policies like those in the newly announced agenda. Yet, as Velasquez showed, small business men and women have many reasons to support these policies.
- Jul 18, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Implementing Earned Sick Days Laws: Learning from Connecticut's Experience This week CLASP releases the third in a series of briefs on how earned sick days laws are being implemented. The first two briefs, released earlier in the spring, highlighted best practices emerging from the west coast with San Francisco and Seattle's earned sick days laws. The third brief takes us to the east coast, where the first, and so far only, state-level sick days law exists. In Connecticut, state officials overcame challenges associated with a tough economic climate as they wrote guidelines and conducted outreach to employers and employees.
- Jul 18, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Emily Firgens Despite Current, Proposed Investments in Early Education, U.S. Lags Far Behind Other Countries While it is great news that the importance of early education is starting to gain traction across the country, it is crucial to recognize where we are as a country and how far we have to go. President Obama has proposed big investments in early education, and the Senate appropriations committee took the first steps recently toward making that proposal a reality. This investment in young children would come at a critical time as the U.S. falls behind other nations and many families lack access to high-quality child care and early education options.
- Jul 18, 2013 | Marcie Foster Senate Continues Higher Education Investments in Low-Income Students Last week, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) marked up and passed a bill to provide continued funds to a number of essential student aid and education programs that help low-income students access and succeed in postsecondary education. The bill, passed on a straight party line vote, also targets key goals of reducing college costs and increasing college completion rates. Specific provisions include:
- Jul 18, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Senate, House on Contrasting Paths for 2014 Spending; Funding for Low-Income Workers, Families at Stake The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill to provide funding for the federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for fiscal year 2014, which begins on October 1, 2013. These Departments are in charge of a huge range of programs and services, many of which serve low-income workers and families. The House Appropriations Committee is headed down a very different path. It has not yet released a bill to assign funding levels to specific programs, but its budget for these Departments is significantly less - by $44 billion - and would necessitate reductions to key programs that help low-income families gain and maintain economic security. This bill would provide slightly higher overall funding levels than appropriated for FY 2013, allowing for targeted new investments.
- Jul 17, 2013 | Lavanya Mohan In States Failing to Expand Medicaid, People of Color are Disproportionately Left Uninsured A recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that low-income individuals of color will be disproportionately affected by state decisions on whether or not to expand Medicaid.
- Jul 17, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan Steps in the Right Direction: States Improve TANF Programs A handful of states have recently done the right thing for low-income families by passing laws that improve their TANF programs. California, Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska have all enacted laws that strengthen TANF programs to serve needy families.
- Jul 15, 2013 | Emily Firgens The Importance of Strengthening Our Country's Safety Net for Our Children The importance of safety net and work support programs is the central focus of a new policy brief from the Foundation for Child Development (FCD) and First Focus. The brief, A Stronger Safety Net For America's Children, provides an overview of the opportunities and challenges currently facing public safety net and work support programs for children and their families.
- Jul 12, 2013 | Helly Lee House Passes Farm Bill Without SNAP Yesterday, in an unprecedented move, the House of Representatives passed a five year Farm Bill that focuses just on agriculture issues and omits the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other important provisions that address nutrition.
- Jul 10, 2013 | Child Care and Early Education Senate Labor-HHS Mark-up Shows Significant Investment in Early Childhood Yesterday, as part of the 2014 appropriations process, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies marked up a bill with significant investments in early childhood programs.
- Jul 10, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: How House SNAP Cuts Would Make it Harder for Low-Income Workers to Get Ahead Americans overwhelmingly agree that our safety net programs should support low-income workers in their efforts to become self-sufficient - and that these programs should not leave workers worse off when they get a raise or increase their hours. But few know that the changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) made by the House Agriculture Committee would have done just that by forcing all states to enforce "gross income limits" that cut SNAP recipients off if they earn just a dollar more than the threshold. Such policies create a "poverty trap" or "cliff effect" that make it harder for workers to get ahead.
- Jul 09, 2013 | Child Care and Early Education Served Up: The Child Care Challenges of Restaurant Workers The restaurant industry is tough. Low wages, unpredictable schedules, and long hours are hard enough. Add the stress of finding affordable, high-quality child care during the hours when restaurant employees need it, and working in the industry poses critical challenges to the well-being of the whole family. To enable restaurant workers who are parents to both care for their families and do their jobs effectively, we need stronger work supports and job quality policies like a higher minimum wage, expanded child care assistance, and earned sick leave.
- Jul 03, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Getting Down to Business Newsletter - July 2013 Getting Down to Business is CLASP's monthly update on the latest news about business and paid leave.
- Jun 28, 2013 | Kisha Bird Supreme Court Sends Affirmative Action Case Back to Lower Court Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-awaited decision on the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (UT) case. This challenge was brought by a white student, Fisher, who claims she was denied admission to UT due to an admissions policy that considers race. For months, advocates of racial justice and supporters of affirmative action anxiously waited for this decision as it would have major implications for racial preferences in admissions to public colleges and universities, as well as for the broader legacy of affirmative action.
- Jun 28, 2013 | Helly Lee Senate Passes Immigration Bill; A Critical Step Toward Needed Reform Yesterday, the Senate voted and passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) by a bipartisan vote of 68-32. Vice President Joe Biden -- who typically only participates in critical legislative discussions -- presided over the historic vote in the Senate to pass an immigration bill that provides a path to citizenship for nearly 11 million immigrants. While we have deep concerns about some portions of the bill, it is a critical step in the effort to reform our immigration system.
- Jun 25, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Why the Failure of the Farm Bill Was Good for Low-Income Families Last week, the House of Representatives rejected the Farm Bill by a 195-234 vote. The bill, which usually enjoys support from both sides of the aisle, was defeated by an unlikely -- and bi-partisan -- coalition of those who opposed the deep cuts of more than $20 billion to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) and those who thought that the bill did not go far enough in cutting nutrition programs and agricultural subsidies.
- Jun 25, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai State, Local Policies Make Important Steps Forward for Workplace Flexibility As working caregivers across the country increasingly find themselves at wits end trying to meet work deadlines, arrange childcare, get dinner on the table, and take elderly relatives to medical appointments, important developments in the movement to make workplaces more family-friendly are finally gaining political traction.
- Jun 24, 2013 | Abigail Newcomer ACA Toolkit and Webinar: Helping Students Understand Health Care Reform and Enroll in Health Insurance As part of Benefits Access for College Completion, CLASP has teamed up with Young Invincibles to develop a new guide and webinar for community college leadership, faculty, and staff that shows how to connect their students to health coverage.
- Jun 24, 2013 | Molly Fries Audit: D.C. Sick Days Law Doesn't Hurt Business, Must Be Strengthened When you or your child are sick, the last thing you want to do is go to work. Taking a day off can often be the difference between feeling healthy and productive and feeling terrible while risking the health of your coworkers. Sadly, for many families, taking a day off isn't an option.
- Jun 24, 2013 | Lavanya Mohan and Elizabeth Lower-Basch The Unfinished Work of "Making Work Pay": Expanding the EITC for Childless Workers The city of New York recently announced a plan to test the effects of expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income childless workers.
- Jun 21, 2013 | Helly Lee Farm Bill Fails in the House: Would Have Wreaked Havoc on SNAP On June 10, the Senate passed its version of a Farm Bill, which includes smaller but still significant cuts to SNAP. The House could now attempt to move the Senate bill, or pass a short-term extension. While SNAP will continue unchanged in the absence of an enacted Farm Bill, such Congressional inaction would cause significant problems with respect to the breadth of agricultural policy that the Farm Bill addresses.
- Jun 21, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Rallying Around the Importance of Investing in Infants and Toddlers The earliest years of life are a period of incredible growth. Infants need the right conditions and experiences -- including consistent relationships with caring adults and adequate health and developmental supports -- to properly shape their brains and build a healthy foundation for life. These experiences during the infant and toddler years shape the architecture of the brain-including cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional capacities-at a phenomenal rate and lay the foundation for future growth and learning.
- Jun 21, 2013 | CLASP and Partner Organizations Comments on the Proposed Hardship Exemption Regulations of the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008 Along with several other organizations, CLASP suggests revisions to the recently proposed regulations implementing the hardship exemption of D.C.'s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008.
- Jun 20, 2013 | Lily Jamaludin Why Workplace Policies Need to Keep Up with Realities of Family Care Imagine having to choose between caring for a loved one and trying to pay the bills. That's the decision millions of workers in middle and lower-income families face as more and more Americans must provide care for an older relative. This week, the AARP released a report entitled "Keeping Up with the Times: Supporting Family Caregivers with Workplace Leave Policies." The report highlights the necessity for public policies to address the needs of an increasing number of working caregivers. "Keeping Up with the Times" examines three public policy solutions: unpaid family and medical leave; paid family and medical leave insurance; and, earned sick time.
- Jun 19, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Home Visiting with Unlikely Suspects At the recent Oklahoma SmartStart Conference, we shared our work at CLASP in researching how home visiting programs can partner with "unlikely suspects" - small, home based child care providers, and family, friend and neighbor (FFN) caregivers - to benefit providers, the children they care for, and their families.
- Jun 18, 2013 | Lily Jamaludin Study Shows Workers with Earned Sick Days are Healthier, More Productive A study in the "American Journal of Public Health" found that diseases like influenza spread more quickly throughout the workplace when employees don't have earned sick days. Despite this, politicians have lately been making controversial decisions on earned sick leave bills.
- Jun 18, 2013 | Abigail Newcomer Why Community Colleges Should Care about Obamacare As part of Benefits Access for College Completion, CLASP has teamed up with Young Invincibles to develop a new guide and webinar for community college leadership, faculty, and staff that shows how to connect their students to health coverage.
- Jun 13, 2013 | New Perspectives on Transforming States' Health and Human Services: Practical Commentaries on the First Year of the Work Support Strategies Initiative CLASP is pleased to be part of the Work Support Strategies Initiative (WSS), a multi-state effort to design and test cutting-edge improvements in policy, service delivery, and technology to help low-income working families get and keep the benefits for which they are eligible.
- Jun 12, 2013 | Marcie Foster and Helly Lee Rubio Immigration Amendment Would Delay Path to Citizenship for Millions This week, the Senate began floor debate on their immigration reform bill, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744). The proposal that passed out of the Judiciary Committee is the result of months of bipartisan negotiations and includes provisions to increase border security measures and create a path to earned citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants, beginning with a new Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status.
- Jun 12, 2013 | Kisha Bird "Gatekeeper Credentials" - The Changing Landscape of High School Equivalencies: Exploring the Implications for Access and Equity for Communities of Color Last month, CLASP, in partnership with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, held a timely and important roundtable discussion on high school equivalency: "Gatekeeper Credentials" - The Changing Landscape of High School Equivalencies: Exploring the Implications for Access and Equity for Communities of Color. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the new high school equivalency tests, including the GED, that will take effect in 2014, hear perspectives of local providers, discuss concerns, and identify next steps to ensure low-income communities and communities of color have adequate access to earn a secondary credential. Participants included a cross-section of youth, education, and workforce policy advocates, practitioners and program providers, along with civil rights advocates.
- Jun 11, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Business Associations Launch "Better Workplaces, Better Businesses" Website The first-ever national compilation of business supporters for earned sick days and family leave insurance is now available online through a partnership between the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), the Main Street Alliance and Social Venture Network (SVN). Previously, listings of businesses supporting paid leave legislation were only available on sites for individual campaigns. "Better Workplaces, Better Businesses" not only offers a central listing of businesses who support federal, state, and local laws that provide employees earned sick days and family leave insurance, but also provides the latest business and leave news clips, research, polling, business testimony, and more.
- Jun 05, 2013 | LGBT Workers Forced to Play By Different Rules; Poverty Rates High In recent weeks, there has been important attention given to issues affecting the economic wellbeing of LGBT. According to "New Patterns of Poverty in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community," a new report from the Williams Institute, employment discrimination can be a key feature of economic status, which is why LGBT are more vulnerable to being poor than heterosexuals.
- Jun 05, 2013 | Hannah Matthews President Proposes Smart and Urgent Investment with Early Learning Plan We can do much to reduce poverty and increase opportunity in this country. And central to nearly every serious plan is a significant investment in child care and early education.The long term effects of high-quality early education for disadvantaged children have been well-documented. In February, President Obama first announced a plan for unprecedented investments in early learning. Central to his Early Learning Plan is universal preschool for low-income children, a proposal that would advance this country's educational system and global competiveness, as well as improve the lives of millions of young children and their families.
- Jun 04, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Emily Firgens Low-income Mothers of Young Children Experience Higher Rates of Major Depression A recent Urban Institute brief looks at the prevalence of major depression in mothers of young children, the extent to which mothers receive treatment, the relationship between health insurance and accessing treatment, and how mothers rate the effectiveness of their treatment. According to the brief, one in every 11 low-income mothers experienced a major depressive episode in the past year - 8.8 percent compared to 7.5 percent among mothers with young children across all income groups.
- Jun 03, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch A Shredded Safety Net Following welfare reform, the number of families receiving assistance declined dramatically. Buoyed by the strong economy and the expansion of other key work supports, including child-care subsidies, public health insurance under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, the number of single mothers in the workforce increased and child poverty declined. However, starting in the early 2000s, progress stalled and poverty rates began to climb again.
- May 31, 2013 | Lavanya Mohan It is Time to Update and Strengthen Supplemental Security Income There is widespread agreement in America that individuals who have severe disabilities that prevent them from working should not be left destitute as a result. We have a program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), that is supposed to ensure that is the case. And indeed, SSI provides desperately needed income support to more than 8 million Americans, who receive an average payment of $517.20 per month. However, SSI's income exclusions and asset limit guidelines have not been adjusted for inflation in decades. These outdated standards undermine our commitment to keep these most vulnerable individuals out of poverty.
- May 30, 2013 | Julie Strawn, Marcie W.M. Foster, and Patrick Reimherr Getting More College Students to Graduation Day - New Data on Public Two-Year Institutions Over the past few weeks, college students across the country have been walking the stage and gleefully retrieving their diplomas. Unfortunately not everyone gets that happy ending. In the U.S., almost 30 percent of college students leave without completing a credential and don't return (over a six year period). Conventional wisdom, backed up by some recent reports, such as those from Complete College America and the College Board Study Group, suggests that the completion problem largely lies with "non-traditional students" (often defined as older, working students who attend less than full-time). But more comprehensive data released last fall by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) paint a different picture. Rather than isolating age or enrollment intensity as the critical factors that explain differences in completion rates at two-year schools, the NSC data offer compelling evidence that two- and four-year institutions enroll fundamentally different types of students, and therefore the completion challenge should be viewed through that prism.
- May 29, 2013 | Lavanya Mohan and Elizabeth Lower-Basch With Rent this High and Wages this Low, How Can a Family Survive? A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) shows the wide gap between wages and housing costs across the country.
- May 29, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch New Research Shows Value of Subsidized Employment Programs to Employers, Employees On May 21, CLASP and the National Transitional Jobs Network (NTJN) hosted a webinar featuring Mark Elliott and Anne Roder of Mobility, presenting on new research they have conducted on the value of subsidized employment programs.
- May 23, 2013 | Helly Lee Where Poverty and Immigration Policies Intersect On May 21, after two weeks of hearings and dozens of votes on amendments, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.744) by a bipartisan vote of 13-5. Although the word "poverty" does not appear in the title of the bill, it was at the core of some of the committee's most contentious debates and will likely remain a focus when the bill reaches the Senate floor in June.
- May 20, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan Medicaid Expansion Significantly Decreases Financial Hardship and Improves Mental Health A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the impact of expanded Medicaid coverage has gained national attention. Despite what opponents of Medicaid expansion are saying, the study does show significant improvements in mental health and financial security.
- May 20, 2013 | Christine Johnson-Staub Financing Partnerships: Gather 'Round the Table In April, CLASP colleague Stephanie Schmit and I had the pleasure of attending the Smart Start Oklahoma Conference, and presenting on the topic of financing partnerships. I know financing is not the most popular topic in the early childhood field. Most of us are in this for the kids and families, and we would rather talk about child development than dollars. And yet, when it comes to serving children and families the most common challenge is money.
- May 16, 2013 | Child Care and Early Education Feds Propose New Child Care Regulations Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius unveiled the Administration's newly proposed draft child care regulations. With this first revision to the regulations since 1998, the federal government seeks to improve quality and increase accountability in child care programs funded by Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG).
- May 16, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch The Most Important Problem Facing Children in the US Today This week, the Academic Pediatric Association (APA) Task Force on Childhood Poverty declared that childhood poverty is "the most important problem facing children in the US today" and issued a Strategic Road Map for addressing it as a public health issue. The APA Task Force commits to raising the voice of pediatricians to build public support for policies that will both reduce childhood poverty and address the negative effects of poverty on children's physical and mental health and development
- May 14, 2013 | Child Care and Early Education CLASP Heads to White House to Thank President Obama for Early Learning Proposal On Monday, CLASP was proud to visit the White House with our partners from the Strong Start for Children Campaign to deliver 30,000 letters and pictures to Cecilia Munoz, Director of President Obama's Domestic Policy Council. Children and advocates delivered these messages to thank President Obama for proposing his early learning initiative.
- May 13, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Emily Firgens Parental Unemployment Takes its Toll on Children In an average month in 2012, 6.2 million children lived with unemployed parents, and 12.1 million children were affected by an unemployed or underemployed parent. A recent report from the Urban Institute and First Focus analyzes unemployment from the perspective of children, looking at the impact a parent's job loss can have on children and how many children around the country have been affected by this.
- May 13, 2013 | Helly Lee and Lavanya Mohan Proposed SNAP Cuts Would Result in Millions of Empty Dinner Tables This week, both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees will mark up their versions of a Farm Bill that includes provisions on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Despite the program's effectiveness-helping over 47 million people afford nutritionally adequate meals and make ends meet-and a long history of bipartisan support, SNAP continues to face threats of deep cuts.
- May 09, 2013 | Patrick Reimherr, Tim Harmon, Julie Strawn, and Neil Ridley Better Information Becomes a Priority in the latest Round of TAACCCT Grants In its newest round of Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants, the Department of Labor took a significant step toward transparency for students by requiring state-consortium applicants to develop an online Employment Results Scorecard. Originally enacted as part of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, the TAACCCT grant program awards funds to institutions to expand and improve education and training programs that can be completed in two years or less. TAAACT-funded programs support displaced and other at-risk workers in their pursuit of skills and credentials in "high-wage, high-skill" employment.
- May 09, 2013 | Emily Firgens The Importance of Home Language for Young Dual Language Learners A new series of handouts from the Office of Head Start's National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness highlights the importance of home language in children's development, and how this can be supported in the home, classroom, and community.
- May 08, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Workers and Employers Benefit From Subsidized Jobs: New Research Findings On Tuesday, May 21, from 2 pm - 3:15 pm EDT, CLASP and the National Transitional Jobs Network will host the next in our series of webinars on subsidized employment and transitional jobs.
- May 06, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge 2013 Competition: Continued Investment on the State and District Levels The Department of Education has released the details of its third round of Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) funding. The 2013 competitive grant program is focused on expanding access to high-quality early learning opportunities.
- May 02, 2013 | Patrick Reimherr and Julie Strawn CLASP Urges Congress to Make Tax-Based Student Aid More Effective for Low-Income Students In preparation for possible comprehensive tax legislation, the House and Senate tax-writing committees have been reviewing options for reform. CLASP recently participated in briefings for members of the House Ways and Means Committee on reform of family tax benefits and of tax-based student aid. We also submitted written comments to both the House and Senate tax-writing committees, urging policymakers to consider key reforms to tax-based aid.
- Apr 30, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Emily Firgens Federal Investment is Critical as Preschool Programs Face Decreased Funding, Stalled Enrollment As the early childhood community rallies around President Obama's recent budget proposal to expand access to high-quality early learning for young children, a critical foundation of that proposal -- pre-kindergarten -- continues to erode. The State of Preschool 2012 released by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) this week reports that nationally, investments by states in pre-kindergarten programs have declined dramatically
- Apr 23, 2013 | Write a Letter Thanking the President for His Historic Early Childhood Investment With our partners from the Strong Start for Children - Building America's Future campaign, CLASP will be collecting thank you notes from across the country and delivering them to the White House. Please join us in thanking President Obama for making investments in young children a priority!
- Apr 23, 2013 | Helly Lee Immigration Bill Envisions Path to Citizenship Last week, the bipartisan Senate "Gang of 8" introduced S. 744 the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. If enacted, this bill would be the largest scale change to immigration laws in over 25 years. One of the major hallmarks of the bill is that it provides a path to citizenship for aspiring citizens, many of whom have lived and worked in this country for many years.
- Apr 22, 2013 | Lauren French Workers' Memorial Day Brings Paid Sick Days Into Focus On April 28, we will observe Workers' Memorial Day to remember the men and women who have suffered and died on the job from workplace injuries and diseases. Forty-two years ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, with the goal of improving workplace safety and protecting workers from hazards on the job. Although there have been vast improvements since the law's enactment, there is still much work to be done in guaranteeing every worker the right to a safe job.
- Apr 18, 2013 | Emily Firgens Lowest Income Families Remain Burdened by High Child Care Costs The U.S. Census Bureau has released its most recent edition of Who's Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2011. This periodic report uses Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data from the 2008 panel to examine the characteristics of children and their families in different types of child care arrangements.
- Apr 15, 2013 | Helly Lee and Lavanya Mohan Highlighting State EITC Efforts on Tax Day Because of the federal EITC program's proven anti-poverty success, many states have adopted similar state-level Earned Income Tax Credits added onto the federal EITC. Low-income families and individuals who are eligible for the federal EITC are also eligible for the additional state EITC. Currently, 26 states provide a state EITC, 23 of which provide a refundable or partially refundable EITC. In facing tough budget decisions, however, many states have turned to the EITC as a place to cut costs while other states are pushing for improvements to their state programs.
- Apr 15, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Head Start Designation Renewal System - Round One Negotiations Begin The Office of Head Start has recently announced the results of the first round of the Head Start Designation Renewal System (DRS). Of the Head Start grantees required to re-compete for their funding in the first round of DRS, 80 maintained their funding, 25 will be replaced by new programs and 14 grantees will have their grants split between new and existing providers.
- Apr 15, 2013 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success With All Eyes on Taxes Today, Check Out Our Recommendations on Tax-Based Student Aid In February of this year, the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success at CLASP released a major report entitled, Reforming Student Aid: How to Simplify Tax Aid and Use Performance Metrics to Improve College Choices and Completion. The report describes college affordability and completion challenges and provides detailed policy options for Congress and the Obama Administration on making federal aid more effective, more efficient, and simpler for students and parents to use. We produced a five-part chart series to highlight major figures from the report and have compiled them into a single InFocus posting to celebrate Tax Day!
- Apr 15, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Julie Strawn, and Patrick Reimherr Comments on Education and Family Tax Benefits CLASP submits comments on family and education tax credits to the Education and Family Benefits Working Group, House Committee on Ways and Means as part of the committee's work to review possible changes to the federal income tax system.
- Apr 12, 2013 | Kisha Bird Budget Proposal Makes Key Investments, But Still Falls Short On Wednesday, President Obama released his long-awaited budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014. Typically, the President's budget is released in February. This year, it was pushed back as he and Congress addressed the recent budget sequestration -- arbitrary and indiscriminate cuts enacted through the Budget Control Act and the ongoing tug of war to fund the federal government.
- Apr 12, 2013 | Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant Supporting Black Male Achievement in Education and Employment: The President's 2014 Budget This week, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. This proposal reflects the Administration's priorities to ensure a world-class education for all students, provide opportunities for employment, and build strong communities. The budget includes several areas of investment that could provide education and employment opportunities for black boys and young men along the age continuum from cradle to career. It also expands supports to low-income communities for revitalization, poverty reduction, increased jobs, and decreased violence.
- Apr 12, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Obama Proposal Combines High-Stakes Poker on Federal Budget, Important Proposals for Low-Income People The budget President Obama released this week was not the typical Administration budget. Usually, the President's budget is a statement of his vision for the country and his priorities for spending. It traditionally comes before the House and Senate budget resolutions and lays out the agenda that he thinks Congress should follow.
- Apr 11, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit The President's Budget: Historic for Early Childhood The President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget provides historic investments across several early childhood programs. These include investments in a comprehensive birth-to-five early education continuum including child care, home visiting, Head Start, Early Head Start, and preschool-all critical programs for children, especially the most vulnerable children.
- Apr 03, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Supporting School Success for Children Receiving TANF This week, committees in the Tennessee legislature approved a bill that would cut parents' TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) cash assistance benefits if their children failed to be promoted to the next grade at school. This proposal is based on an inaccurate and stereotyped belief that poor parents need to be coerced into caring about their children's school achievement. If enacted, it will create new paperwork burdens for schools and welfare agencies, already straining under budget cuts. Most importantly, it risks pushing the most vulnerable children even deeper into poverty.
- Apr 03, 2013 | Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant Taking Aim at Gun Violence: Rebuilding Community Education and Employment Pathways In a single generation, our nation is faced with the prospect of losing over 132,000 black men and boys to gun violence. In black communities, gun violence is about far more than reforming gun control laws and empowering law enforcement. The absence of opportunities in these communities gives rise to criminal activity and the loss of too many young lives. Solving the crisis of gun violence in communities requires that America address the issue of concentrated poverty and geography.
- Apr 03, 2013 | Christine Johnson-Staub States Strengthen Work Support Strategies in First Year of Initiative States involved in the Work Support Strategies (WSS) project are making administrative and programmatic decisions that help families more easily acquire benefits for which they're eligible. Reports on the initial planning year of the project (2010-2011), released by the Urban Institute today, indicate that participating states have made progress in simplifying application processes, streamlining eligibility policies, and coordinating the administration of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly Food Stamps), Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and child care assistance.
- Apr 01, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Sequestration, Budgets, and Continuing Resolutions: The Story Continues The recent continuing resolution (CR) Congress passed contained small increases for both child care ($50 million) and Head Start ($33.5 million). For child care, it is estimated that the additional funds will serve 9,000 children and help to lessen the blow of the estimated sequestration cuts still in place. However, the CR did not eliminate sequestration.
- Mar 29, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch TANF and SSI: The Rest of the Story In last week's This American Life episode, which focuses on income support programs for people with disabilities, one segment reports on contractors who are paid by states or counties to assist individuals receiving TANF benefits in applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an income support program for low-income individuals who are unable to work due to disability. While not directly stated, many listeners may have been left with the impression that states are helping people who are not really disabled qualify for SSI, or that such efforts have been a significant driver of the growth in the numbers of individuals receiving SSI benefits. Neither of these is true.
- Mar 29, 2013 | Helly Lee Budget Amendment Foreshadows Immigration Debate Ahead This week, it may seem quiet on Capitol Hill as Congress is in recess, but last Friday was full of action on the Senate floor as the budget vote-a-rama was in full swing. Among the hundreds of amendments introduced, Senator Sessions (AL) offered one that would have prohibited both undocumented and lawfully present immigrants from qualifying for health care subsidies through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid.
- Mar 27, 2013 | Emily Firgens New Jersey Preschool Study Findings Bolster Call For Expanding Early Education Programs The recently released Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study: Fifth Grade Follow-Up shows that children who participated in the Abbott preschool programs increased their achievement in language arts and literacy, math, and science on fourth and fifth grade New Jersey standardized tests. Additionally, participation in the Abbott preschool program decreased the likelihood of grade retention and special education placement.
- Apr 01, 2013 | Helly Lee What Do You Do if You're Poor...And Disabled? Recently, National Public Radio (NPR) ran a series about federal disability programs that largely reinforce myths and stereotypes about the programs and the people who access them.
- Mar 26, 2013 | Neil Ridley Updated Resource for States: Toolkit on Federal Funding for Career Pathways CLASP announces the release of an updated resource, Funding Career Pathways and Career Pathway Bridges: A Federal Funding Toolkit for States. This toolkit is designed to help interagency state teams identify and facilitate "braiding" of federal resources to build career pathways for adults and out-of-school youth.
- Mar 22, 2013 | Child Care and Early Education Head Start by the Numbers: 2011 State Profiles Released CLASP's Head Start State Profiles reflect the most recent Head Start Program Information Report (PIR) data from 2011. Each profile includes data on all Head Start programs in the state: Early Head Start, Head Start preschool, and Migrant/Seasonal Head Start. The profiles also include information on Head Start participants, families, staff, and programs.
- Mar 21, 2013 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success Tax-Based Student Aid Accounts for Nearly Half of Non-Loan Federal Aid, Rivals Pell Grants Tax-based student aid has grown rapidly over the past decade and now represents nearly half of our nation's investment in non-loan federal aid. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that tax-based aid programs will cost more than $34 billion in FY12 through reduced federal revenues. Similarly, Pell Grant outlays are expected to total $35.6 billion in FY12.
- Mar 21, 2013 | Emily Firgens Providence's Early Childhood Initiative Wins Big for Its Focus on Early Language Development Providence, Rhode Island is working to ensure caregivers understand just how important a young child's early language development is, and how they can best support it, through their new early childhood initiative, Providence Talks. The initiative seeks to increase and improve upon young children's exposure to language and vocabulary. Pitched as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge contest, Provide Talks was recently awarded the contest's $5 million grand prize.
- Mar 20, 2013 | Helly Lee and Lavanya Mohan SNAP Benefits in the Crosshairs of Debate on Spending The budget resolutions introduced last week by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray are miles apart on funding for anti-poverty programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid. Threats to SNAP also continue outside of the budget debate as well with Senator Pat Roberts' bill, S. 458, proposing drastic cuts totaling $36 billion.
- Mar 18, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Follow the Money...or What Federal Budget Proposals Say about Our Priorities Last week, Senate Democrats and House Republicans moved forward on budget resolutions that offer visions of the role of the federal government and our nation's priorities. Both set targets for federal spending and revenues in fiscal years 2014 and beyond, but they would move the nation in dramatically different directions.
- Mar 18, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit We Need a Budget that Works for Kids and Families Despite continued budget negotiations for the current fiscal year (FY 2013) and the recent onset of sequestration, Congress must also move forward with budget resolutions for FY 2014. The budget resolutions show us the priorities of the House and Senate, which prove to be vastly different.
- Mar 15, 2013 | Marcie Foster Murray and Ryan Budgets Offer Divergent Visions for Access to Postsecondary Education and Student Financial Aid This week, two FY14 budget proposals emerged from Congress that presented contrasting paths for education and economic opportunity in the nation. Rep. Paul Ryan's budget, once again titled Path to Prosperity, echoes similar themes from last year's House budget, slashing critical higher education investments and cutting access to college for millions of low-income students. These and other draconian cuts are starkly different from Senator Murray's proposed budget, Foundation for Growth, which improves college affordability and makes smart investments in postsecondary education to ensure that U.S. students and workers have the skills and education needed to support continued economic growth.
- Mar 15, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Neil Ridley Navigating Federal Programs to Build Sustainable Career Pathways in the Health Professions: A Guide for HPOG Programs Healthcare is one of the fastest growing sectors in our economy, and there are many jobs in this sector that require fewer than 4 years of college education, have high demand, and offer good pay. However, low-income workers often face barriers to accessing the education and training they need to enter these jobs, including lack of information, poor basic skills, confusing and poorly aligned training programs, cost of training, and need for supportive services, such as child care and transportation. The Heath Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG), authorized by section 5507 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA; Public Law 111-148), address this issue by supporting models for providing education, training, and support services to enable recipients of cash assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals to obtain well-paying jobs in high-demand healthcare occupations. The HPOG program is one of several provisions of ACA aimed at supporting training for the healthcare workforce of the future.
- Mar 14, 2013 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success Large Share of Tax-Based Student Aid Goes to Higher Income Families To maximize the nation's investment in student aid, we must target resources to low and modest-income families -- those most likely to respond to incentives to enroll in and complete college. Unfortunately, tax-based student aid provides substantial support to individuals who are already highly likely to attend college and so may have little effect on access or completion for these students. In 2013, the Tax Policy Center estimates that 25 percent of the benefits of American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) will go to families making more than $100,000 per year; 29 percent of the benefits of the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) will go to families making more than $75,000; and almost half of the benefits of the Tuition and Fees Deduction will go to households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more.
- Mar 13, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch SNAP, Medicaid Block Grants Would Weaken the Already-Fragile Safety Net House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has put forward a budget proposal that calls for block granting of both Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). Rep. Ryan justifies this proposal by citing the supposed "success" of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant as a model.
- Mar 13, 2013 | Jodie Levin-Epstein Portland Wins Sick Day and Everybody Benefits The Portland City Council, on March 13, 2013, approved a bill establishing a minimum number of sick days for workers throughout the city. Portland now joins other jurisdictions around the nation -- San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut -- in establishing sick days laws.
- Mar 13, 2013 | Emily Firgens Using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) with Dual Language Learners The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is a validated classroom assessment tool that measures and provides data on the quality of teacher-child interactions. As CLASS is considered by more states for use in quality initiatives, understanding whether and how CLASS can reliably be used in early learning classrooms serving dual language learners (DLLs) becomes increasingly important.
- Mar 12, 2013 | Tom Salyers and Elizabeth Lower-Basch Confused by the Federal Budget? You Are Not Alone. We have a habit here Inside the Beltway of speaking in code and getting so deep into the woods on policy issues that we only see the trees and not the forest. Clearly, we are at that point right now in the continuing saga of the federal budget. Here's a quick rundown on just three of the terms being bandied about that are very likely to confuse many nationwide -- and probably even the majority of us in DC!
- Mar 12, 2013 | Marcie Foster New York's Move to Abandon the GED is a Game Changer New York State made headlines last week after it announced it would be dropping the GED as its high school equivalency exam -- a move that can only be defined as a "game changer" in adult education. Instead, the state will be working with CTB/McGraw Hill to develop an alternative exam, the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC), which New York believes will keep costs low and allow its Education Department to continue to serve adults and youth seeking to earn a high school equivalency diploma and gain greater economic mobility. New York's shift to the TASC is one of the most significant developments in adult education in decades. Since 1942, the GED has been synonymous with high school equivalency in the U.S. and widely recognized by potential candidates, employers, and postsecondary institutions.
- Mar 11, 2013 | Neil Ridley, Kisha Bird, and Marcie W.M. Foster House Workforce Bill Moves Forward Amid Rising Tensions Last week the House Education and Workforce Committee voted to advance a bill that restructures a range of federal workforce programs, including the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Tensions ran high during the legislative mark-up session and the hearing that preceded it, signaling a decline in the bipartisan spirit that has animated most reauthorization efforts in the past.
- Mar 11, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan Too Many Low-Wage Workers are Ineligible for UI Benefits A recent study by Policy Matters Ohio shows that several states, including North Carolina, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, have raised earning requirements to receive UI benefits. Such high monetary eligibility standards make it harder for low-income jobless workers, who already have the hardest time making ends meet, to receive UI benefits. They join states such as Washington and Ohio, which already had very high earnings requirements.
- Mar 07, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch In Face of Budget Constraints, State and Local Governments Find Creative Ways to Fund Subsidized and Transitional Jobs Programs Subsidized and transitional jobs are a proven way to give unemployed workers the opportunity to earn wages, build skills, and connect to the labor market, while also giving businesses an incentive to hire new employees when they might not have been able to do so otherwise. A variety of non-profit, social enterprise, and city and state public entities have operated transitional jobs and subsidized employment programs for almost 30 years. Funding from the TANF Emergency Fund in 2009-2010, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enabled the operation of such programs at a larger scale, and in more places, than had previously occurred. More than 260,000 individuals were placed in subsidized positions in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
- Mar 07, 2013 | Lavanya Mohan and Abigail Newcomer Millions Eligible for Health Coverage through Medicaid Expansion The decision to expand health coverage is being weighed by Governors and state legislatures across the country. In the majority of cases, it comes down to three questions: -Will the expansion improve health coverage and health outcomes for the uninsured? -Will states have the flexibility to design a program that fits their individual state context? -Will states and the federal government be able to afford the reform? On all three questions, CLASP argues the answer is yes.
- Mar 05, 2013 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success Tax-Based Student Aid Quadrupled - Largely Unnoticed - Over the Past Decade This is third in a five-part series highlighting work from CLASP's recent publication, Reforming Student Aid: How to Simplify Tax Aid and Use Performance Metrics to Improve College Choices and Completion. The paper was written as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation project Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery.
- Mar 04, 2013 | Christine Johnson-Staub Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Dollars Announced States working to coordinate and increase access to comprehensive services for young children in child care and early education settings have the opportunity to pursue new or renewed Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems (ECCS) funding through a competitive federal grant process announced on March 1.
- Mar 04, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Getting Down to Business Newsletter - March 2013 Getting Down to Business is a CLASP monthly update on the latest news about business and paid leave.
- Mar 04, 2013 | Lavanya Mohan CLASP Work Supports Newsletter - February 2013 CLASP is inaugurating this Work Supports e-newsletter to highlight the efforts of CLASP and our colleague organizations to help ensure low-income families get the support they need to stay employed and provide for their families.
- Mar 01, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan Drug Testing of Safety-Net Applicants Stigmatizes Poor Families This week, Florida's circuit court of appeals upheld the injunction on the state's suspicionless drug testing program. The decision will continue to prevent Florida from implementing its 2011 suspicionless, or universal, drug testing law on TANF applicants. The court decision affirmed in strong language that poverty alone does not provide reasonable suspicion for drug testing safety-net program applicants. CLASP has long held that, in addition to the constitutional concerns, suspicionless drug testing is costly and ineffective at identifying substance abusers.
- Mar 01, 2013 | CLASP and ASBC New Tool for Job Quality Advocates: A Primer on Business Certifications Today, CLASP and its partner, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), released a new tool for job quality advocates, including advocates for earned sick days and paid family leave. The jointly produced brief provides advocates with a primer on the nuts and bolts of the business certification movement and suggests ways to foster fruitful relationships between the movement and campaigns for improved job quality, such as earned sick days campaigns.
- Feb 27, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Implementing Earned Sick Days Laws: Learning from Seattle's Experience Advocates in Seattle fought hard to build the support necessary to pass this city's Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance. But the hard work did not end when the law passed in September 2011. Once the ink on Seattle's ordinance had dried, the process of implementing the law began.
- Feb 28, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Waiving Work Requirements in the TANF Program Attached is an excerpt from Elizabeth Lower-Basch's February 28 testimony before the Human Resources Subcommittee of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on waiving work requirements in the TANF Program. The subcommittee hearing focused on reviewing the Health and Human Services' proposed waivers of TANF work requirements. - See more at: http://www.clasp.org/issues/in_focus?type=temporary_assistance&id=0060#sthash.eFPhU5ig.dpuf
- Feb 28, 2013 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success Financial Pressures Drive Down College Completion - CLASP RADD Chart Series Continues Confronted with high costs and unmet financial need, low- and modest-income students and their families face a difficult choice: work more while in college, borrow more, or do both. When students cannot afford college, it not only limits access to higher education and drives up debt, it also increases (sometimes significantly) the time it takes to earn a degree and/or ultimately complete a credential.
- Feb 27, 2013 | Helly Lee SNAP: Just What the Doctor Ordered A new report by the Food Research Action Center (FRAC) confirms that there are significant health consequences associated with living in poverty and being food insecure. Research has shown that those living in poverty experience disproportionately worse health outcomes and often live in environments that do not promote healthy lifestyles such as fewer walking trails, parks, and full service-grocery stores offering affordable foods as well as poor air and water quality. Children living in poverty and experiencing food insecurity are also more likely to experience serious health issues such as obesity, poor oral and dental health, asthma and poor academic outcomes, behavioral and emotional problems. In addition, childhood poverty can have lasting implications into adulthood, increasing health risks and economic struggles later in life. - See more at: http://www.clasp.org/issues/topic?type=work_supports&topic=0004#sthash.WJV7Z9uP.dpuf
- Feb 25, 2013 | CLASP Tax Policy Center's Elaine Maag Highlights CLASP's Recent Paper on Reforming Tax-Based Aid This morning, Elaine Maag of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center (TPC), a leading voice in tax policy, highlighted CLASP's recent paper, Reforming Student Aid: How to Simplify Tax Aid and Use Performance Metrics to Improve College Choices and Completion on TaxVox, the TPC Blog. In writing Reforming Student Aid, CLASP partnered with TPC to estimate the budgetary impact of its proposals to reform tax-based student aid.
- Feb 21, 2013 | Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success College Costs Rising Four Times Faster Than Income, Two and a Half Times Faster Than Pell This short piece is first in a five-part series highlighting work from CLASP's recent publication, Reforming Student Aid: How to Simplify Tax Aid and Use Performance Metrics to Improve College Choices and Completion. The paper was written as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation project Reimagining Aid Design and Delivery.
- Feb 21, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Continuum of Learning Act Reintroduced Last week, Representatives Polis (D-CO) and Young (R-AK) reintroduced the bipartisan Continuum of Learning Act. The legislation, which is complementary to the President's new Early Learning Initiative, would strengthen the connections between early childhood programs, local education agencies, and elementary schools by making changes to Titles I and II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
- Feb 20, 2013 | CLASP New C-PES Report Calls for Consolidating Tax-Based Student Aid, Using Metrics to Improve College Choices and Completion The Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success (C-PES) at CLASP released today a major report, Reforming Student Aid: How to Simplify Tax Aid and Use Performance Metrics to Improve College Choices and Completion. The report describes college affordability and completion challenges and provides detailed policy options for Congress and the Obama Administration on making federal aid more effective, more efficient, and simpler for students and parents to use.
- Feb 20, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Using TANF to Fight Family Homelessness Today the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers TANF at the federal level, issued a memo reminding states of the range of services for homeless families that TANF funds can help support, from emergency services to longer term supports. ACF also highlights a few promising examples of states and localities that are using TANF to house homeless families as soon as possible and connect them to employment and support services so they can continue to pay rent when the temporary subsidy ends.
- Feb 20, 2013 | Abigail Newcomer and Lavanya Mohan It is Too Hard for Students to Access Financial Assistance Safety net programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or child care subsidies, can serve as temporary help to reduce low-income students' financial burdens. When students successfully graduate, they are more likely to secure jobs that enable them to support their families and pay increased taxes. And the best way out of poverty is through improved education and job skills that lead to more stable and better-paying jobs.
- Feb 19, 2013 | Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant, Linda Harris, and Kisha Bird Investing in Boys and Young Men of Color: The Promise and Opportunity Boys and young men of color in the United States face challenges in the areas of education, employment, and health. In the last several years, there has been greater focus on understanding these challenges and identifying potential solutions. While we know more about effective programmatic solutions, we still have much to learn about the systemic barriers that impede the success of males of color. Effecting policy changes in these areas will produce sustainable gains for boys and young men of color. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation commissioned CLASP to conduct a scan of these policy opportunities to inform the development of their Forward Promise Initiative.
- Feb 15, 2013 | Tom Salyers Maitre D': I Need a Place at the Table ... For 50 Million A Place at the Table is a new documentary that brings to life this country's chronic problem of hunger.
- Feb 15, 2013 | Julie Strawn and Marcie Foster Pell Grants on Solid Ground for Now - Let's Keep It That Way Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released updated cost projections for Pell Grants, the program that helps over 9 million low-income students each year afford college. The good news in those projections: the sizeable funding gap previously estimated for FY14 has turned into a surplus. And while Pell Grants - which can be used for 2- and 4-year degrees along with shorter occupational certificates - still are not out of the woods over the long run, the funding gap is now much smaller. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, program costs are now expected to be $33 billion lower over ten years (from 2013-22) than CBO predicted a year ago. The current cumulative surplus in FY13 is projected at $9.2 billion. If this is carried over to FY14 and the Pell Grant discretionary appropriation continues at its current level, the surplus for FY14 is projected to be almost $4.5 billion.
- Feb 14, 2013 | Vickie Choitz, Marcie W.M. Foster, and Patrick Reimherr Career Pathways Take the Next Step toward Quality and Scale Over the last decade, career pathways have evolved as an innovative approach to assist individuals in gaining marketable credentials and good jobs and to help employers access a skilled workforce. Postsecondary credentials (including both marketable noncredit, industry-based credentials such as Certified Manufacturing Technologist or Wind Turbine Technician and more traditional two- and four-year degrees) can be an avenue out of poverty and a lifetime of low-wage work. However, the nation's education and workforce development systems have not been designed to provide all workers with a seamless path to earning these credentials.
- Feb 14, 2013 | Christine Johnson-Staub Working Together to Achieve President Obama's Vision of High Quality Preschool for All The details of President Obama's historic and far-reaching universal preschool initiative, unveiled in the 2013 State of the Union Address are out. CLASP applauds the Administration's goals, and particularly the President's approach toward expanding access to high quality preschool, which draws on policy strategies states and experts in early childhood development have honed over decades of research and innovation.
- Feb 14, 2013 | Jodie Levin-Epstein Family Leave Insurance: Before the Smoke Settles "Holy smokes!" is how James Heckman, a Nobel prize winner in economics, enthusiastically reacted to the details of President Obama's early childhood education plans. Heckman's shout-out makes sense. One doesn't need to be a Nobel laureate nor an economist to see how this early education agenda could make a huge difference in providing opportunity to many more children. While the agenda is bold and multifaceted and deserves high marks, it also missed a vital opportunity by neglecting to address paid family leave.
- Feb 13, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch President Obama's Rendering of a Strengthened American Economy In the 2013 State of the Union address last night, President Obama set out an ambitious agenda to strengthen the American economy, and ensure that the fruits of economic growth are broadly shared.
- Feb 13, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Christine Johnson-Staub President Announces New Preschool Initiative in the State of the Union Address Last night in the State of the Union address, President Obama took a bold step forward in improving the lives of children and families. President Obama's vision of making high quality preschool available to every child in the nation could impact the lives of all children, their families, and the country for generations to come with far-reaching educational, economic and social benefits. CLASP supports the President's proposal and will work with the administration to see it move forward as the official details of the initiative emerge.
- Feb 12, 2013 | Emily Firgens FMLA: 20 Years of Building Bonds Between Babies and Parents, Time Now For Paid Leave! As we celebrate FMLA 20 years later, we are also reminded of how far the U.S. still has to go in offering paid leave and fully supporting the needs of children and families.
- Feb 08, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit and Emily Firgens States Can Shape Child Care Subsidy Policies to Improve Access and Continuity Under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), states have significant flexibility to set their policies that determine how families apply for and receive child care assistance. Given the impact that child care subsidy policies have on children, families, and child care providers, it is imperative for states to design their subsidy policies based on the needs of low-income working families in their states, and with an aim of easing families' access to quality child care.
- Feb 07, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Business Support for the Family and Medical Leave Act The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which enables workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave to care for their own serious illness, a sick family member, or to bond with a new baby, has been used by millions of workers since its passage in 1993. As this important piece of legislation celebrates its 20th anniversary, new data shows that the vast majority of businesses find administering the law easy, and 80 percent of small businesses favor the legislation. But the data also point to a pressing need for paid leave programs, like those in California and New Jersey. In those states, family leave insurance programs have made it possible for employees to take paid family leave, easing the financial burden of caring for oneself and one's family. Research shows that businesses in California have found the state's Paid Family Leave (PFL) program to be good for or have little effect on business. This brief from CLASP demonstrates business support for both the FMLA and paid family leave, while highlighting the pressing need for paid leave.
- Feb 07, 2013 | By Patrick Reimherr, Marcie W.M. Foster, and Julie Strawn College Costs, Debt Still Top Public Concerns New public opinion research that emerged from a coalition of postsecondary education stakeholders, College Is Worth It, provides new evidence that Americans resolutely believe that college matters - and not just for an elite few. Moreover, the public believes that financial aid reform is necessary and should place a high priority on increasing the number of individuals with a postsecondary degree and making sure that college is affordable and accessible, particularly in light of a changing student demographic that includes higher proportions of adults with work and family responsibilities.
- Feb 05, 2013 | Helly Lee and Lavanya Mohan The President, the Gang of 8, and Immigration Reform The President and the Senate's bi-partisan Gang of 8 each introduced broad outlines of proposals to reform our broken immigration system. This is tremendous progress as immigration has remained a contentious issue in Congress and decision makers have steered away from addressing the issue for many years.
- Feb 05, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit Head Start Data Show Slight Changes in Use from 2010 to 2011 Annually, CLASP does an analysis of the Program Information Report (PIR) from the Office of Head Start. Using the PIR data provided by all Head Start programs, we develop analyses on such issues as participation, access to services, staff qualifications, and family characteristics. CLASP's DataFinder is now updated to reflect the PIR data from 2011.
- Feb 01, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch Congress: Do Not Prescribe the Wrong Medicine for Our Fragile Economy This week's economic report showed that the economy contracted slightly in the last quarter of 2012, and today's jobs figures showed that unemployment remains elevated at 7.9 percent. Long-term unemployment remains a problem as nearly five million workers have been jobless for six months or more. This news confirms that the recovery is still fragile and that we have a long way to go to get back to full employment.t would be a mistake to allow these deep cuts to take place at a time when the economy is still fragile. A number of the programs subject to the sequestration, including education and workforce programs, are supporting the economic recovery by helping people find jobs and by investing in the skills that employers will need to expand. Deep cuts at this time would be counter-productive.
- Feb 01, 2013 | Marcie W.M. Foster Shifting Gears States Driving Innovation in Education and Training for Low-Skilled Adults In 2007, the Joyce Foundation launched Shifting Gears, a state policy initiative designed to promote regional economic growth by improving the education and skills training of the workforce in six Midwestern states. These states-Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin-were tasked to create more seamless pathways to postsecondary credentials and good jobs for lower-skilled adults. The initiative was developed in the wake of a particularly marked transition in the Midwest from largely industrial economies structured around manufacturing to more diversified economies that promised new growth and new jobs. CLASP played a key role in Shifting Gears as the managing intermediary of the overall initiative and the primary provider of technical assistance.
- Jan 25, 2013 | Lavanya Mohan National EITC Awareness Day: Spread the Word The EITC reduces poverty, encourages work, sustains local economies, and has lasting outcomes on health and children's educational performance. On National EITC Awareness Day, and as we head into tax filing season, we encourage you to spread the word about the benefits and impact of the EITC and the child tax credit.
- Jan 25, 2013 | Hannah Matthews and Stephanie Schmit As Negotiations Continue, a Balanced Approach is Essential Once again policymakers have an opportunity to negotiate and come to agreement on action that would prevent harmful cuts to a host of important programs, including child care, Head Start, and a range of other education, health and human services programs. And so, while there was much build up and uncertainty approaching the January cliff, we must recognize that this isn't over yet -- and child care and early education programs, as well as other non-defense discretionary programs, are still at risk.
- Jan 22, 2013 | Christine Johnson-Staub Nontraditional Work Hours Influence Child Care Choices for Working Families To understand the needs of low-income working families and their child care providers, Illinois Action for Children recently examined the child care utilization of 50 single parents working nontraditional hours. The findings have been released in the report Choices in the Real World: the use of family, friend and neighbor child care by single Chicago mothers working nontraditional schedules. The study found that cost, flexibility, and availability during nontraditional hours frequently led low-income parents to use license-exempt family, friend and neighbor (FFN) child care providers.
- Nov 02, 2012 | Emily Firgens New CLASP Paper Looks at State Child Care Policies for Limited English Proficient Families CLASP's new paper, State Child Care Policies for Limited English Proficient Families, summarizes state-reported activities to better serve and engage with Limited English Proficient (LEP) families and providers through state child care assistance programs. The CCDBG State Plans, last revised for FFY 2012-2013, serve as the source of new information on how states' activities and policies target LEP and immigrant families, children, and providers.
- Jan 18, 2013 | Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant Race Still Plays a Role in Defining Poverty Recently, I was on Huff Post Live (a live-streaming program on Huffington Post) with an interesting panel of people discussing whether class defines segregation and poverty in our nation and whether race has lost its relevance. This discussion was based on a blog by Janita Poe on AI.com which asserts that class, not race, is what separates society today. If race were no longer a factor, then the experiences of the poor would not vary along racial lines. In fact, black and white families experience poverty very differently.
- Jan 18, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Chicago City Council Unanimously Passes Strong Anti-Wage Theft Ordinance Workers deserve to be assured they will be paid for the hours they work - this basic proposition seems obvious to most of us. Yet, for millions of workers across the country who are victims of wage theft, something that appears to be a question of simple fairness is out of reach. But there is hope for workers in Chicago, where yesterday City Council passed one of the strongest municipal anti-wage theft laws in the country. In a unanimous vote, the Council passed the law, which will allow the City to revoke or deny licenses to employers that steal their workers' wages.
- Jan 18, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai Earned Sick Days: What Consumers Want While many people assume that paid sick days are widely available to all, that is far from the truth for too many workers. This critical workplace protection is important both to workers and consumers. A new poll demonstrates that restaurants that do not offer their employees the opportunity to earn paid sick days do so at their own peril. The survey, put out by the National Consumers League (NCL), found that 92 percent of consumers believe that it is very important or important that the servers and cooks in the restaurants they patronize do not cook or serve while sick. Well over half of respondents agreed on the importance of allowing these workers to earn paid sick days. With consumers expressing a clear preference for fair sick leave policies, the message to business owners is also clear: to satisfy customers, employers must provide restaurant workers with just working conditions, including earned sick days. Policymakers should take note as well.
- Jan 17, 2013 | Emily Firgens Families and Children Experienced Decade-Long Decline in Economic Well-Being The Foundation for Child Development's (FCD) recent report on the well-being of children and youth in the U.S., finds that from 2001 to 2011 the percentage of children living below the poverty line rose from 15.6 percent to 21.4 percent, and the median income of families dropped $6,300 (in real dollars) during this ten-year period.
- Jan 15, 2013 | Stephanie Schmit High-Quality Early Education Provides Homeless Children with Continuity and Stability More than 1.6 million children in the United State live on the streets or in homeless shelters, and 42 percent of these children are under the age of six. Research shows that well-designed and well-implemented, high-quality early care and education programs can improve outcomes for all children, particularly those in low-income families, by connecting families to needed resources, providing stability, and, ultimately, helping children learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life.
- Jan 07, 2013 | Liz Ben-Ishai For Safe Food System, Workers Need Earned Sick Days On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration proposed two broad new food safety rules -- marking the first major food safety rulemaking since the 1930s. These rules are a major step forward for consumer safety. However, policy makers should take note that a major gap in labor protections for workers who handle our food continues to imperil the safety of our food system: most farmworkers and restaurant workers, as well as other food chain workers, receive no earned sick days, which means many are forced to come to work when sick. This lack of protections is not only unfair to workers, but also 1) dangerous for consumers, who risk infection and illness when they eat food handled by sick workers, 2) bad for businesses, and 3) harmful to the U.S. economy.
- Jan 02, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch The Fiscal Cliff Deal: What Changed and What's Still in Play As has been widely reported, due to last-minute Congressional action, the so-called "fiscal cliff" has been avoided with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012. However, some taxes did go up on January 1, and the automatic, across the board budget cuts known as sequestration have only been postponed, not prevented. Here's a handy guide to what happened to programs and taxes that affect low-income people, and what's still in play.
- Jan 04, 2013 | By Patrick Reimherr, Elizabeth Lower-Basch, and Julie Strawn No Cliff for Tax-Based Student Aid Several major tax incentives for higher education were scheduled to expire at the end of 2012. These incentives benefit college students -- or their parents, in the case of dependent students. Thanks to the bill averting the "fiscal cliff," the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), these tax-based student aid provisions have all been extended.
- Jan 02, 2013 | Emily Firgens Improving Preschool Access for Small Immigrant Communities It is widely accepted that high quality early education programs can have a significant impact on the academic, social, and health-related outcomes of young children, particularly those considered "at-risk" such as low-income children, immigrants, and English language learners (ELLs). In our increasingly diverse country, ensuring that these populations have access to high quality child care and early education opportunities should be a top priority. To examine how children and families in immigrant communities fare in Chicago, the Urban Institute has released a series of papers exploring the Illinois Preschool For All (PFA) program and the barriers and opportunities families in smaller immigrant communities face when it comes to accessing PFA.
- Jan 01, 2013 | Abigail Newcomer and Elizabeth Lower-Basch Affordable Care Act: One Year to Go To make sure that we all wake up on January 1, 2014 without regret, we propose the following New Year's resolutions to work together over the next year to spread the word and reduce barriers to accessing coverage under health care reform.
- Dec 21, 2012 | Hannah Matthews A Look Back and a Look Ahead This time last year, news of the first Early Learning Challenge grant recipients dominated early childhood headlines and advocates celebrated modest increases in funding for core early childhood programs in what was a very tight federal budget. This year, as we prepare to close the book on 2012, it feels as if challenges dominate.