TANF Cash Benefits Fell by More Than 20%: A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows that cash assistance benefits for the nation’s poorest families with children fell in purchasing power in 2014 and are now at least 20% below their 1996 levels in 38 states, after adjusting for inflation. While eight states raised Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits between July 2013 and July 2014, the remaining states did not, allowing inflation to continue to erode the benefits’ value. No state cut TANF benefits in nominal dollars in the past year, the report said. And, every state’s TANF benefits for a family of three with no other cash income were below 50% of the poverty line.
New K-12 Education Data Set Published: The National Center for Education Statistics releases the Selected Statistics From the Public Elementary and Secondary Education Universe: School Year 2012-13. There were 98,454 public elementary/secondary schools last year. This number includes 1,483 new schools that opened for the first time. States reported that 1,493 schools closed since 2011-2012. Most operating schools were regular schools (89,031) that were primarily responsible for instruction in the standard curriculum as well as other areas. An additional 2,034 schools focused primarily on special education services; 1,403 schools were identified as vocational schools; and 5,986 were identified as alternative education schools.
Barriers to Emergency Children’s Telemedicine Treatment: The Journal of Telemedicine and e-Health publishes a new study on barriers to the adoption of emergency telemedicine techniques when treating children. Telemedicine involves the use of real-time interaction across geographic distance through the use of technology that connects patients and providers to enhance the standard of care at the site or clinic where the patient is located. Telemedicine can involve video conferencing to provide a rural clinic with expert pediatric consultation. The study found that lack of physician buy-in, difficulty using the technology, differing incentives for providers and patients, difficulties with credentials among hospitals, and challenges of integrating telemedicine into existing work processes all were associated with less frequent use of telemedicine when treating youth in emergency settings.
Nearly 1 in 3 Teenagers Has Online Regrets: The latest Digital Diaries research from AVG Technologies finds that almost a third of teens (28%) say they regret posting something online. The research also found 32% have had to ask someone to remove content posted online about them, because they didn’t like it (61%) or it was too personal (28%). The global research questioned almost 4,000 teenagers aged 11-16 years old on the topic of online privacy. Although 70% have changed their settings on Facebook to make it more difficult for people to find them and 71% say they understand what online privacy means, only 29% say they properly “know” all of their Facebook friends. Of those who asked for online content about them to be removed, 18% identified their mom as the posting culprit.
$125K Teacher Salaries Make a Huge Difference: In a new study, Mathematica describes gains made by The Equity Project (TEP) charter school in New York City which pays its hand-picked staff of teachers $125,000 a year, nearly double that of normal NYC teacher salaries. It found that the school had statistically significant test-score gains in math, English arts, and science by 2012-13, the school’s fourth year of operation. Those gains translate to about a year and half of extra math learning for the first cohort of students at the school, and about two-thirds of a year in reading. The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a supporter of charter schools.
CHIP Improves Children’s Access to Health Care: New evidence from a nationwide evaluation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reveals that CHIP has successfully expanded coverage for children who would otherwise be uninsured, increasing their access to care and reducing financial burdens on their families. The study, mandated as part of the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) of 2009, presents new information on the evolution of CHIP from 1997 to 2012, including whether the program is meeting its goals and how it was affected by CHIPRA and the Affordable Care Act. For example, CHIP, along with Medicaid, contributed to the decline in uninsured rates among low-income children, which fell from 25% in 1997 to 13% in 2012. Since CHIP was enacted, coverage rates improved for all ethnic and income groups, and coverage disparities narrowed significantly for Hispanic children.