Grades Need Improving



 

D-plus. C. Another D-plus. C-minus.  How’s that for a report card? What would you do if your child came home with those grades? You’d probably rush to the phone to schedule a parent-teacher conference. Maybe you’d hire a tutor. You’d definitely sit down with your child and try to figure out the problem. Those grades would not be acceptable. In this case, the scenario is reversed. These are the grades that California’s children have given us grownups when it comes to providing them with health coverage, early care and  education, and helping to eliminate childhood asthma and obesity. Each year, Children Now, an Oakland-based nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, issues a report and assessment of the wellbeing of our state’s  children. The news – as you can see by the grades – is that we come close to failing.  One million California kids are without health insurance. One in five high school students drops out. Fewer than half of our 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool, even though 85 percent of brain development occurs before age 4. And shameful as this is on an individual level, the long-term  societal repercussions are staggering. Neglecting our kids undermines the  economic prosperity of the state as a whole. For example, as the report points out, every time an uninsured child visits a hospital for a  preventable ailment, it costs $7,000 on average, almost six times the cost of providing health care in the first place.  The report does have some good news,  however. We get a B-plus in after-school  programs and a passable B-minus in both infant and adolescent health. The organization  presents some strong recommendations and steps for action to turn things around, even in our current economic climate. As Children Now president Ted Lampert points out, “By all  measures, smart investments in children make the most sense and should come first. That’s also what voters have been asking for and  promised for years.” We all need to be informed. You can read the full report online at www.childrennow.org/reportcard. Help for the Rainy Season As I sit here writing in mid-January, the weather is unseasonably warm and balmy. But I suspect this sunny reprieve will end soon and we’ll be back to some cold and wet days. Hunkering down at home can get a little boring after awhile, especially when the kids get antsy. This month’s magazine can help.  We want to tell you about a great outing that is close by, but will make you feel like you really got away. Head to the coast for the newly  renovated Monterey County Youth (MY) Museum, which features seven galleries that highlight the county’s major points of interest, from Pebble Beach’s golf courses to the Big Sur woods. It’s all kid-friendly with lots of hands-on activities and wiggle room on a rainy day. Read about it on page 138, and then turn to page 94 of our calendar section to find more great indoor play spots even closer to home.   Warmly (in a cool month),

 

D-plus. C. Another D-plus. C-minus. 


How’s that for a report card? What would you do if your child came home with those grades? You’d probably rush to the phone to schedule a parent-teacher conference. Maybe you’d hire a tutor. You’d definitely sit down with your child and try to figure out the problem. Those grades would not be acceptable.


In this case, the scenario is reversed. These are the grades that California’s children have given us grownups when it comes to providing them with health coverage, early care and education, and helping to eliminate childhood asthma and obesity. Each year, Children Now, an Oakland-based nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, issues a report and assessment of the wellbeing of our state’s children. The news – as you can see by the grades – is that we come close to failing. 


One million California kids are without health insurance. One in five high school students drops out. Fewer than half of our 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool, even though 85 percent of brain development occurs before age 4. And shameful as this is on an individual level, the long-term societal repercussions are staggering. Neglecting our kids undermines the economic prosperity of the state as a whole. For example, as the report points out, every time an uninsured child visits a hospital for a preventable ailment, it costs $7,000 on average, almost six times the cost of providing health care in the first place. 


The report does have some good news, however. We get a B-plus in after-school programs and a passable B-minus in both infant and adolescent health. The organization presents some strong recommendations and steps for action to turn things around, even in our current economic climate. As Children Now president Ted Lampert points out, “By all measures, smart investments in children make the most sense and should come first. That’s also what voters have been asking for and promised for years.”


We all need to be informed. You can read the full report online at www.childrennow.org/reportcard.



Help for the Rainy Season

As I sit here writing in mid-January, the weather is unseasonably warm and balmy. But I suspect this sunny reprieve will end soon and we’ll be back to some cold and wet days. Hunkering down at home can get a little boring after awhile, especially when the kids get antsy. This month’s magazine can help. 


We want to tell you about a great outing that is close by, but will make you feel like you really got away. Head to the coast for the newly renovated Monterey County Youth (MY) Museum, which features seven galleries that highlight the county’s major points of interest, from Pebble Beach’s golf courses to the Big Sur woods. It’s all kid-friendly with lots of hands-on activities and wiggle room on a rainy day. Read about it on page 138, and then turn to page 94 of our calendar section to find more great indoor play spots even closer to home.  


Warmly (in a cool month),

– Jill Wolfson

 

 

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