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Earth Policy Institute;
Those of us who track the effects of global warming had assumed that the first large flow of climate refugees would likely be in the South Pacific with the abandonment of Tuvalu or other low-lying islands. We were wrong. The first massive movement of climate refugees has been that of people away from the Gulf Coast of the United States. Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in late August 2005, forced a million people from New Orleans and the small towns on the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts to move inland either within state or to neighboring states, such as Texas and Arkansas. Although nearly all planned to return, many have not. Unlike in previous cases, when residents typically left areas threatened by hurricanes and returned when authorities declared it was safe to do so, many of these evacuees are finding new homes. In this respect, the U.S. hurricane season of 2005 was different. Record-high temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico surface waters helped make Hurricane Katrina the most financially destructive hurricane ever to make landfall anywhere. In some Mississippi Gulf Coast towns, Katrina's powerful 28-foot-high storm surge (8.5 meters) did not leave a single structure standing. There was nothing for evacuees to return to. The destruction of housing and infrastructure in St. Bernard Parish, a low-lying 40-mile-long peninsula (64 kilometers) extending southeast from New Orleans, rendered most of it uninhabitable. The Katrina storm surge that raised the water level in Lake Pontchartrain so high that it breached the levees and flooded New Orleans left much of the city unfit to live in. Even today, a year later, large parts of the city are without basic infrastructure services such as water, power, sewage disposal, garbage collection, and telecommunications. Interestingly, the country to suffer the most damage from a hurricane is also primarily responsible for global warming. Many evacuees were able to return in a matter of days, but many more were not. New Orleans' population before Katrina struck was 463,000. Claritas, a private demographic data-gathering and analysis firm, reported that after the hurricane New Orleans' population shrank to 93,000. By January 2006, it had recovered to 174,000. By July 2006, the city still had only 214,000 residents, less than half of its pre-Katrina population. Three Louisiana coastal parishes (counties) also registered substantial population declines. The population of St. Bernard Parish plummeted from 66,000 residents to 15,000 in July 2006. South of New Orleans, the population of Plaquemines Parish declined from 29,000 to 20,000. Densely populated Jefferson Parish, also bordering New Orleans on the south, dropped from 453,000 to 411,000, a loss of 42,000. Mississippi's three coastal counties each lost population. The July tabulation showed Hancock County had lost 8,000 residents. Harrison County, which includes the town of Gulfport, lost 12,000, and Jackson County 4,000. (See data at http://www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2006/Update57_data.htm)
Pew Center on Global Climate Change;
Examines the use of portfolio standards as a policy tool to promote renewable electricity generation in all states. Provides case studies from Texas, Massachusetts, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. Explores future policy development and implementation.
In 2008, Lumina asked SPEC Associates (SPEC) to evaluate the foundation's grant making aimed at improving the productivity of higher education through statewide policy and program change. The initiative was initially known as Making Opportunity Affordable and later became known more broadly as Lumina's higher education productivity initiative. Eleven states received planning grants in 2008 and a year later seven of these states received multi-year grants to implement their productivity plans. In 2009, Lumina published Four Steps to Finishing First in Higher Education to frame the content of its productivity work. In 2010, the foundation, working with HCM Strategists, launched the Strategy Labs Network to deliver just-in-time technical assistance, engagement, informationsharing and convenings to states. Lumina engaged SPEC to evaluate these productivity investments in the seven states through exploring this over-arching question: What public will building, advocacy, public policy changes, and system or statewide practices are likely to impact higher education productivity for whom and in what circumstances, and which of these are likely to be sustainable, transferable, and/or scalable?
Does providing instruction-related professional development to school principals set in motion a chain of events that can improve teaching and learning in their schools? This report examines professional development efforts by the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Learning in elementary schools in Austin, St. Paul, and New York City.
National Institute on Money in State Politics;
From 2003 through 2007, teachers' unions gave $112.5 million to committees working on 88 ballot measures in 22 states. In addition, international unions NEA and AFT and their affiliates gave almost $53 million to political campaigns for state candidates and political party committees.
Incumbent legislators received $21 million of the $29.7 million given to legislative candidate committees.Nearly 97 percent of the money given by teachers' unions came from the home state of that union.Teachers' unions made up only 1 percent of the more than $4 billion given to all candidates from all sources between 2003 and 2007.Teachers' union contributions represent a small percentage of all money given to candidates or political party committees.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2006, conducted for America's Second Harvest (A2H), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed in-person interviews with more than 52,000 clients served by the A2H food bank network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 30,000 A2H agencies. The study summarized below focuses mainly on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the A2H network.
Key Findings: The A2H system served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas provides food for an estimated 174,900 different people annually. 35% of the members of households served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2). 43% of client households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1). Among client households with children, 76% are food insecure and 44% are experiencing hunger (Table 6.1.1). 49% of clients served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1). 34% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1). 29% of households served by the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas included approximately 260 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 204 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 173 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter. 71% of pantries, 37% of kitchens, and 39% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1). 76% of pantries, 53% of kitchens, and 59% of shelters of the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas reported that there had been an increase since 2001 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1). Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for the agencies, accounting for 76% of the food used by pantries, 38% of kitchens' food, and 36% of shelters' food (Table 13.1.1). For the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, 90% of pantries, 65% of kitchens, and 80% of shelters use volunteers (Table 13.2.1).
From 1995 through 2002, P/PV worked with six neighborhoods around the country to develop and institute a framework of "core concepts" to guide youth programming for the nonschool hours. The goal was to create programming that would involve a high proportion of each neighborhood's several thousand adolescents. This report summarizes the basic lessons that emerged from this Community Change for Youth Development (CCYD) initiative. The lessons address such topics as the usefulness of a "core concepts" approach; the dos and don'ts of involving neighborhood residents in change initiatives; the role of research; the role of youth; and the capacity of neighborhood-wide approaches to attract high-risk youth.
Despite the current recession, temporary employment will likely represent an increasing share of the labor market in the future, particularly for entry-level and low-wage occupations. In recent economic downturns, the temporary help sector has been among the first to rebound, coming back strongly after times of high unemployment. In this climate, alternative staffing organizations, which couple temporary placements with key supportive services, are well-positioned to provide needed assistance to both disadvantaged job seekers and employers.
A Foot in the Door presents P/PV's findings from the national Alternative Staffing Demonstration, funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. It provides a close examination of four alternative staffing organizations (ASOs) and their efforts to help low-skill and low-wage job seekers find employment. Unlike typical for-profit staffing firms, ASOs may offer -- in addition to the temporary jobs they help participants secure -- retention and supportive services, access to better jobs and assistance obtaining full-time, permanent employment. Fees charged to employers largely cover the costs of these services, making ASOs distinct from other workforce development strategies that depend entirely on foundation grants or public contracts and are usually required to serve certain populations. In contrast, ASOs are flexible on both the supply and demand sides -- they can make adjustments to whom they serve to meet employer needs and identify businesses that are a good match for job seekers. Our findings suggest that when this flexibility is combined with the provision of appropriate supportive services, it may open doors for populations that would otherwise have difficulty accessing these opportunities.
A companion report from the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston's John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies focuses on the capacity of the four ASOs to generate job assignments and serve two sets of customers -- job seekers and employers -- and explores the financial and operational implications of meeting mission and income-generation goals.
Human Rights Watch;
Programs teaching teenagers to "just say no" to sex before marriage are threatening adolescent health by censoring basic information about how to prevent HIV/AIDS, Human Rights Watch charged in a new report released today. The forty-seven page report focuses on federally funded "abstinence-only-until-marriage" programs in Texas, where advertising campaigns convey the message that teenagers should not use condoms because they don't work. Some school-based programs in Texas do not mention condoms at all. Federal health agencies share the broad scientific consensus that condoms, when used correctly, are highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. Yet the U.S. government currently spends more than $100 million each year on "abstinence-only-until-marriage" programs, which cannot by law "promote or endorse" condoms or provide instruction regarding their use. The Bush administration is advocating a 33 percent increase in funding for these programs.
In this paper we estimate the budgetary impact of the Cato Institute's Public Education Tax Credit model legislation on five states and present a generalized spreadsheet tool ("the Fiscal Impact Calculator") that can estimate the program's effect on any other state for which the necessary input data are supplied. It is estimated that, in its first 10 years of operation, savings from the PETC program would range from $1.1 billion for South Carolina to $15.9 billion for Texas. Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York are estimated to enjoy 10-year savings within that range.
Public Education Tax Credits reduce the state and local taxes owed by anyone who pays for the private schooling of an eligible child. Parents can claim credits for their own children's educational costs, and other taxpayers (including businesses) can claim credits when they pay for the education of someone else's child, either directly or by donating to a nonprofit scholarship-granting organization.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by The Capital Area Food Bank. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2010, conducted in 2009 for Feeding America (FA) (formerly America's Second Harvest), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed inperson interviews with more than 62,000 clients served by the FA national network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 37,000 FA agencies. The study summarized below focuses on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the FA network. Key Findings: The FA system served by The Capital Area Food Bank provides emergency food for an estimated 478,100 different people annually.46% of the members of households served by The Capital Area Food Bank are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2).56% of households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1).Among households with children, 75% are food insecure and 32% are food insecure with very low food security (Table 220.127.116.11).42% of clients served by The Capital Area Food Bank report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1).46% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1).24% of households served by The Capital Area Food Bank report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)The Capital Area Food Bank included approximately 361 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 330 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 256 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter.76% of pantries, 65% of kitchens, and 66% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1).Among programs that existed in 2006, 84% of pantries, 80% of kitchens, and 49% of shelters of The Capital Area Food Bank reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1).Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for agencies with emergency food providers, accounting for 74% of the food distributed by pantries, 52% of the food distributed by kitchens, and 42% of the food distributed by shelters (Table 13.1.1).As many as 92% of pantries, 86% of kitchens, and 77% of shelters in The Capital Area Food Bank use volunteers (Table 13.2.1).