Policy Matters Blog

Here’s why Ohio should invest in all-day kindergarten

by Policy Matters Ohio on October 18, 2016
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Talk to an educator or policymaker about elementary and secondary education in the United States and before long you’ll hear it referred to as “K-12.” The United States is not alone in maintaining a public education system that runs from kindergarten through grade 12, thus making kindergarten the foundation for the rest of a student’s academic life. However, there seems to be a difference of opinion within the United States about how strong that foundation should be. Nationally, there has been a clear trend toward making the base year of education as strong as possible by offering a full day of kindergarten. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of students enrolled in all-day K went from 28 percent in 1977 to 77 percent in 2013. (read more)

Student debt crisis expressed in art

by Policy Matters Ohio on October 6, 2016
Art often grapples with issues affecting society, so it is no surprise that the theme of student debt is now making its way into music and other art. References to college financing in art help show how pervasive the burden of student debt is in the United States. More than 40 million Americans have student loans totaling nearly $1.4 trillion. It is now the second largest form of personal debt. The 67 percent of Ohioans who borrow for their education have the 12th highest average debt load in the nation at $29,353. To discuss the distressing student debt crisis, 934 Gallery in Columbus recently hosted a panel on student debt and art. The panel was the first in an eight-part “Clarify” series created by Spotify and Mic.com. (read more)

Inefficient, redundant, costly bill should be killed

by Policy Matters Ohio on October 5, 2016
Senate Bill 329, which would give legislative committees the power to eliminate whole agencies in the executive branch, streaked through the Senate in two days. It is a blitzkrieg attack on public services. It would establish a “sunset” process that would abolish state agencies in the governor’s cabinet. Departments or agencies on the list would shut down unless the legislature authorizes continued operations. No one would seriously suggest that we shut down all our universities, prisons and nursing homes, lay off all our state highway patrol officers and end all projects to keep up our roads and bridges. If these things are going to continue, why impose a needless, time-consuming and expensive process of asking whether they should? These institutions do not need to demonstrate a public need for their continued existence; that is self-evident. (read more)

Out and about in October: News from Policy Matters

by Policy Matters Ohio on October 5, 2016
Justice: Our executive director Amy Hanauer joins president Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, the Reverend Jawanza Colvin of Cleveland’s Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, president Tom Steyer of NextGen Foundation, and the Reverend Tony Minor to discuss economic, educational, environmental and social justice, Friday, October 7 at noon at Cleveland State University’s Student Center, Room 313. Register here. Voice: Outreach coordinator, Daniel Ortiz will facilitate a free, bilingual session at Convención Hispana called “Make Your Voice Heard,” with staff from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Register here for this event at Max Hayes High School on Saturday, October 8 at 9:30 a.m. Economy: Amy also joins Ohio Voice, Cleveland Jobs with Justice and other immigration leaders to discuss the multiple costs of mass deportation on Thursday, October 6 at 10 a.m. (read more)

Remembering Alvin Schorr

by Policy Matters Ohio on September 30, 2016
Policy Matters’ Amy Hanauer pays tribute to social justice champion Alvin Schorr. (read more)

American incomes and health coverage up, poverty down in new Census data

by Daniel Ortiz on September 13, 2016
Data shows improvements in inflation-adjusted median income, poverty, and health insurance coverage.  (read more)

Guest blogger: Ohio to make it harder for struggling families to access high-quality childcare and preschool

by Policy Matters Ohio on September 1, 2016
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Beginning September 6, Governor John Kasich’s administration plans to forbid Ohio’s early learning and childcare programs from layering state funding and federal dollars to purchase and provide comprehensive enrichment services for low-income children and families. Despite the administration’s claims, these funds are not paying for the same services at the same time, but are used to increase the quality of the schools and centers serving the youngest – and most disadvantaged – Ohio children. That’s why federal Head Start encourages layering funds and why it’s been done in Ohio for over a decade. Kasich’s decision to prohibit layering will make it hard for Ohio to get future federal grants to expand access and improve the quality of early learning and childcare programs. (read more)

Guest blogger: Truth in advertising needed for charter schools

by Policy Matters Ohio on August 31, 2016
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Drug company ads are required to include a long list of possible side effects. Investment firm advertising includes disclaimers warning investors of risks. Many products and services are required to provide information to help consumers make informed decisions. Isn’t it time charter schools in Ohio were required to do something similar? Isn’t it time that publicly funded (yet for-profit companies), responsible for something as important as the education of our children, be required to demonstrate certain measures of effectiveness when they advertise? When considering the long-term implications related to the education of a child, don’t parents deserve to know some facts before making a decision based on a television commercial? Last year the Ohio School Boards Association added a couple planks to its legislative platform addressing this issue. (read more)

A rousing forum, a hollow tax giveaway, an unhealthy proposal: News from Policy Matters

by Policy Matters Ohio on August 17, 2016
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Poverty forum – Panelists from diverse backgrounds and an enthusiastic audience gathered July 18 to kick off the Republican National Convention with a conversation about poverty at Cleveland State University. Policy Matters, partnered with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity and CSU to talk about how federal policy can create opportunity and provide pathways out of poverty. The event drew about 200 people, including terrific speakers John Corlett, Colleen Cotter, Baldemar Velasquez, Ronnie Dunn, Jimmy Kemp and Jim McLaughlin. Our Executive Director, Amy Hanauer, moderated the panel, along with CNN political editor Juana Summers. Check out Spotlight’s recap of the Cleveland forum and a similar forum during the DNC in Philadelphia. Busy week — During that week of policy focus, we also had Zach Schiller speak at the Cleveland Public Library about who’s been left out in Cleveland, Daniel Ortiz be part of a panel on what women want from public policy (Amy, Amanda, Cynthia, Hannah, Kalitha and Wendy all gave him ideas!), Amy moderate a talk at Transformer Station on the intersection of art and politics, and Amy and Daniel each participate in a “dialogue den” organized by artists. (read more)

Sales tax holiday, other new tax breaks to cost Ohio $43 million

by Policy Matters Ohio on August 5, 2016
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Ohio’s budget office recently released new estimates of how much revenue the state will take in this fiscal year and they were down. One cause: A set of new tax breaks approved by the General Assembly in the past year. Altogether, the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) estimated, they’ll cost $43 million this year. That’s $43 million that instead could go into allowing more kids to go to preschool, cutting the cost of college tuition, or helping our inadequately supported public transit systems serve more riders, among Ohio’s many needs. What’s in this bundle of breaks? Most costly is the sales-tax holiday Ohioans will get this weekend, whose cost is pegged at $17.7 million. While the ability to buy back-to-school items without paying sales tax may seem like a good deal, it’s a poorly targeted policy that isn’t the best way to reduce a tax that falls more heavily on lower-income Ohioans. (read more)