Policy Matters Blog

Ohio’s littlest learners make big strides

by Policy Matters Ohio on November 18, 2016
Cleveland expands its program and Cincinnati and Dayton approve preschool for all (read more)

Take A Stand Against Potential Unemployment Compensation Benefit Cuts

by Policy Matters on November 17, 2016
Policy Matters Ohio joins workers in testimony to the Joint Committee on Unemployment Compensation Reform. (read more)

The fictional unemployment “lifestyle”

by Policy Matters Ohio on October 27, 2016
When jobs are widely available, almost everyone goes to work. Many people who lose their jobs, unfortunately, aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits at all. Most of those who are eligible for unemployment nonetheless return to work well before their benefits run out. When people do have to turn to unemployment, their income is usually half or less than half of what they were earning when working. The average benefit in Ohio is about $350 a week, less than the poverty level for a family of three. All of these facts reinforce what should be intuitive – most workers want to stay employed and want to get a new job as quickly as they can. People turn to unemployment compensation when forced to because their employer laid them off; if you are at fault for losing your job because you quit or were fired, you’re not eligible for these benefits.  (read more)

Federal food aid helps Ohio kids thrive

by Policy Matters Ohio on October 24, 2016
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Food aid kept 741,000 Ohio children from being hungry in 2014 – more than a quarter of our babies and toddlers, nearly a third of our elementary school kids and about a fifth of our teens. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – also known as SNAP or food stamps – is one of American’s best anti-poverty programs, particularly because it is so well suited to help children. SNAP helps families put food on the table. Food insecurity — limited access to enough food for an active, healthy life — among children falls by roughly a third after their families receive SNAP benefits for six months. SNAP improves infant health. Mothers provided with SNAP during pregnancy as the program gradually expanded nationwide in the 1960s and early 1970s gave birth to fewer low birth-weight babies. (read more)

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