Senate Democrats have a plan that would cut child poverty nearly in half

“The US is one of the only developed countries in the world without a child allowance — a government program giving every family a set amount of money per child, no strings attached.

A new proposal by Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet (CO) and Sherrod Brown (OH) would change that. The American Family Act of 2017 would dramatically expand the child tax credit, which currently offers up to $1,000 a year for families with significant earnings but little or nothing for many poor people, to pay:

  • $3,000 per year, or $250 per month, per child ages 6 to 18
  • $3,600 per year, or $300 per month, per child ages 0 to 5

The benefits would be distributed monthly, in advance, so that families can pace out their spending and smooth their incomes. Because the CTC, like the earned income tax credit, is currently paid out through tax refunds, it sometimes leads to a perverse situation in which families use it to pay down debt they never would’ve had to incur if they’d gotten the money earlier.”

From Voxhttps://go.edc.org/2rwq

The ‘Problem Child’ Is a Child, Not a Problem (NYT)

“Matt’s behavior started to turn around in fifth grade, after his parents began using Collaborative Problem Solving (C.P.S.), a technique designed to build self-regulation skills. Many children are lagging in skills like impulse control, managing frustration and understanding social cues that are the foundation of self-control. Suspension does nothing to build those skills. Collaborative Problem Solving, in contrast, recognizes that behavior is not simply a function of motivation; it’s a function of skills and practice. C.P.S. replaces a traditional philosophy of “children do well when they want to” with one that ‘children do well when they can.'”

The Important Role of the Transition to Kindergarten for Low-Income Children

Drawing on his new report, Connecting the Steps: State Strategies to Ease the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten, New America’s Aaron Loewenberg writes in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: 

“Transition activities such as teacher home visits; parent orientation sessions; and collaborative meetings and trainings between principals, child care center administrators, and pre-K and kindergarten teachers are key strategies for closing the persistent achievement gap between low-income students and their wealthier peers.

In fact, a 2005 study established a link between the number of transition activities schools facilitated prior to and near the beginning of the kindergarten year and gains in academic achievement by the end of the year. These positive gains were greatest for children whose families were low- or middle-income.

separate study, which focused on pre-K programs, found a positive association between the number of transition activities undertaken by pre-K teachers and kindergarten teachers’ later perceptions of student skills, particularly those of low-income students. Unfortunately, while low-income children stand to benefit the most from a smooth transition to kindergarten, they are also the least likely to attend schools that provide meaningful transition activities.”

https://go.edc.org/c7sd

 

“What really stands out is our neglect of children.”

“When you compare the U.S. social welfare system with those of other wealthy countries, what really stands out now is our neglect of children. Other countries provide new parents with extensive paid leave, provide high-quality, subsidized day care for children with working parents and make pre-K available to everyone or almost everyone; we do none of these things. Our spending on families is a third of the advanced-country average, putting us down there with Mexico and Turkey.”

Paul Krugman, NYT: What’s Next for Progressives

A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education

I’m pleased to share my commentary in today’s Education Week, “A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education (print edition title).” It begins:

“Education policy has become as polarized as the rest of American politics. In the new administration, disagreements over standards, funding, school choice, and students’ civil rights are sure to intensify. Yet despite this polarized state of affairs, liberal and conservative education priorities are converging in a number of important respects, driven in part by mounting research findings. Common ground is emerging where conservative commitments to character formation, strong families, and local solutions meet liberal commitments to services that help low-income families overcome obstacles to improving their quality of life.

Borrowing a term from the Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, I suggest that a number of educational priorities, described below, are “purple”—they resonate with both red and blue constituencies. Further, these priorities animate a powerful reform movement that is spreading across the country ….”