February 23, 2018

Dropping Knowledge

NC Child and North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) published their 2018 North Carolina Child Health Report Card this week. Here are a few highlights (or lowlights):

  • NC received a D in birth outcomes, ranking 42nd in the nation for infant mortality
  • NC received an A in insurance coverage, with 95.5 percent of children having health insurance in 2016
  • NC received a D in school health: only 50 school districts met the recommended school nurse ratio of 1 nurse for every 750 children
  • NC received an F in housing and economic security, with almost half (49.2 percent) of children ages 0-5 living in poor or low-incomes homes

NC child report card graphic

For Your Consideration

Two education reports were released recently that highlight opportunities and challenges in education in North Carolina.

The first looks at the success of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s postsecondary education initiative, the Appalachian Higher Education Network (AHE Network). The AHE Network is a collection of centers in 10 states, including North Carolina, that aim to increase the Appalachian region’s postsecondary education attainment. According to the report:

“The 2015 graduates of the high schools participating in the AHE Network’s programs had a postsecondary education enrollment rate of 63.5%, a rate 9.5 percentage points higher than the reported postsecondary education enrollment rate of 54% for students graduating from low-income high schools.”

The report details the services the AHE Network provide to students — ranging from ACT prep to business etiquette — and is a good example of ways to address the many barriers to postsecondary education for students in Appalachia.

The second report, “Our Stories, Our Struggles, Our Strengths” looks at the perspectives and experiences of Latino teachers. Using focus groups of Latino teachers from five states including North Carolina, the report outlines challenges Latino teachers face such as being stereotyped as inferior teachers, as well as strengths they bring to the classroom such as connecting with their Latino students and being an advocate for Latino families.

Food for Thought

Fiscal watchdogs have been sounding the alarm on the rising U.S. deficit since Congress passed the tax cut and subsequent spending bill. The Cato Institute released a new tax and budget bulletin, “Budget Restraints That Work,” that examines lessons learned from successful efforts at budget restraint in Chile and Switzerland and not-so-successful efforts in the United Kingdom and United States.

The authors conclude with 11 lessons for fiscal rules aimed at lowering deficits, including:

  • Political will is needed to achieve fiscal discipline and sustain rules.
  • Rules must have provisions to deal with recessions.
  • Formulaic rules, which use trends to estimate revenues, tend to be the simplest and most transparent way of setting spending caps.
  • There should be a clear but limited escape clause for genuine emergency situations.

Need to Know

myFutureNC, a statewide commission examining educational attainment, will be in Greensboro on February 28th from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering located at 2907 E. Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro, NC 27401. They want to hear from all of you: educators, parents, students, service providers, faith leaders, business people, government representatives, and other community members. RSVP here. Future sessions are scheduled across the state. 

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