by Greta Feldman
Image available here.
In July 2017, journalist Emily de la Bruyère traveled to two small towns in southwestern Ohio to report on the opioid epidemic and its impact on families and communities. Her five-part series produced intimate ethnographies, but she made clear what most already knew—this issue is not confined to any one place or demographic. At the same time, however, it weighs especially heavy on impoverished and depressed communities. I recently spoke with Emily to better understand the national narrative and how local, state and federal governments are addressing the crisis. She made several notable points which are important in considering the issue at large:
by Stacy Ham
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In June 2017, Ballou High School in D.C. (“Ballou”) was praised for getting each senior student to graduate.[i] Three months ago, that praise turned into criticism after NPR and WAMU 88.5 conducted an investigation of Ballou’s attendance records. The investigation found that half of the high school’s graduates missed at least three months of school in one year.[ii] Out of the 164 students that graduated in 2017 at Ballou, only fifty-seven were actually attending and passing courses in accordance with the school district’s policy. In other words, only about one-third of the graduates should have been allowed to graduate.[iii]
To learn more about government benefits that protect children, check out From Welfare to Work: What the 1996 Welfare Reform Initiative has Meant for Children, by Erin Holland, available on Westlaw.
by Molly Thornton
In the weeks leading up to the government shutdown in January of 2018, President Trump issued a series of tweets in which he warned that a government shutdown would have a devastating effect on the nation’s military. In reality, much of the Department of Defense would continue working during a shutdown, continuing “operations necessary for the safety of human life or the protection of property.” In addition to exaggerating the effect of a government shutdown on the military, President Trump’s tweets completely ignored a group that is far more vulnerable to the effects of a shutdown than the military: low-income children.
When the federal government last shut down in 2013, the Republican-led House refused to pass an appropriations bill unless President Obama and the Democrat-led Senate would agree to a budget that eliminated funding for the Affordable Care Act. Lasting a period of sixteen days, the shutdown had a significant negative impact on a number federally-funded programs on which low-income children and their families rely. One such example is the program Head Start, which operates centers that prepare low-income children for success in Kindergarten. Without funding to pay employees, Head Start centers across the country were forced to close for up to nine days, affecting over 6,300 low-income children and their families.