We had a great time this week at the Colorado Gives Day rally on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol. Sponsored by ColoradoGives.org and FirstBank, the Dec. 6 donation event offers 24 hours to give where you live. Please consider supporting our work to ensure every child in Colorado has every chance to succeed: bit.ly/COGivesCCC.
Thank you for helping us sell out our Annual Luncheon featuring Wes Moore! If you purchased seats, please send the names of your guests to Annie Slothower so we can quickly check everyone in before the event starts at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. If you haven’t purchased a seat but want to attend, we may have a limited number of seats available to purchase at the door. Email Annie for details: email@example.com. We’ll see you Wednesday.
A report from the National Center for Health Statistics released this week found that fewer families with children have had problems paying medical bills in the last five years. The percentage of children in families who have problems paying medical bills decreased from 23.2 percent in 2011 to 17.6 percent in the first six months of 2016. Overall, in the last five years, 12.7 million fewer people under age 65 live in families that have problems paying medical bills.
During this same time period, the number of people with health insurance coverage increased significantly. In 2011, 46.3 million people were uninsured. In the first six months of 2016, the number of uninsured had dropped to 28.4 million. An estimated 20 million people have gained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Health insurance coverage is a primary indicator of whether families can afford to pay for medical costs.
In July 2016, the Education Commission of the States and several partners convened a group of the nation’s top experts on K-3 education for a ‘Thinkers’ meeting to reflect on research and identify state policy levers with the greatest potential to impact student outcomes. Earlier this week, ECS published their findings in K-3 Policymakers’ Guide to Action to highlight the essentials for building a high-quality state K-3 system. Attention to K-3 policies is vital for meaningful improvements in student academic outcomes and has the potential to improve graduation rates and later life success.
The report identifies six policies that can improve the quality of K-3 education and that are essential for student success. They include:
- Funding that is strategic, blended and equitable.
- Full-day kindergarten and mandatory attendance-age requirements.
- Workforce development: teachers, leaders.
- Alignment across the continuum: governance and standards, resources and program quality.
- Curriculum, instruction and assessments.
The recommendations highlight the importance of continuing to advance quality Pre-K systems in states, while serving as a reminder to policymakers that it is just as important to ensure quality early elementary experiences that reinforce the benefits of early childhood education. Click here to read the report.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Accountability Working Group is requesting your feedback by Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 on key accountability decision points. The group, comprised of 27 regional school leaders, representatives and other key stakeholders have met over the last several months to research, discuss and brainstorm options for the accountability decision points in the ESSA state plan. The six decision points are: 1) English learner assessment policy (1st year in the US), 2) Long-term goals and interim measures, 3) English learner progress measures, 4) Minimum number of students, 5) Method for identifying and exiting schools for support and improvement, 6) “Other indicator” of school quality or student success.
For more information regarding accountability, click here to access presentations for each individual decision point, or contact Leslie Colwell, Vice President of Education Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org. Leslie is currently serving on the Accountability Work Group that developed these recommendations.
In 2015, 80 percent of all babies born in Colorado were born to a mother who received early prenatal care, defined as care beginning during the first trimester. Early prenatal care varies widely by county, however, with only 50 percent of babies in Dolores County born to a mother who received early prenatal care, compared to 100 percent in San Juan County. To find data on access to early prenatal care in your county, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.
We’re looking for parents in the Denver area who want to use their voice to advocate for high-quality education opportunities for their children and all Colorado kids. The Colorado Children’s Campaign Parent Academy is for parents interested in learning how to advocate for high-quality education in both their communities and at the state level.
Participants will develop an understanding of the education system at the state level and dive deeply into effective advocacy strategies. Expert speakers on advocacy techniques and the current state of education in Colorado will join participants as they learn the fundamentals of becoming an effective advocate in their local schools or at the State Capitol.
Applications will be open through Dec. 12. Selected applicants will be notified of their acceptance by Dec. 16. For more information or questions regarding the Denver Parent Academy please contact Stephanie Perez-Carrillo at email@example.com or at 303-620-4525. Click here for more information and to apply to the 2017 Denver Parent Academy
An report released this week by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy examines the influence of race, place and income on health outcomes for Coloradans. The report, called “Vital Signs,” uses interactive maps, graphics and stories from across the state to highlight how a person’s background and environment perpetuate disparities in life expectancy, physical health and other outcomes.
The report’s findings include:
- Income affects life expectancy of Coloradans. Wealthier Coloradans live 6 years to 10 years longer than people in the bottom quartile of wage earners, and men in the bottom quarter of the income distribution in Colorado have not seen any improvement in life expectancy in the past 14 years. The longevity gap between low- and high-income people varies substantially depending on where you live.
Life Expectancy for Men in Colorado, by Income Group (2001-2014)
Source: Raj Chetty et al., The Association between Income and Life Expectancy in the United States, 2001-2014.
- Nearly 23 percent of Coloradans living at or below the federal poverty level (about $24,000 per year for a family of four) report experiencing poor or fair physical health. At each progressively higher income level, a declining share of people report poor or fair health. People of color are disproportionately likely to live in poverty, and they are also more likely to experience the negative health consequences associated with living in poverty.
- The economic gap between urban and rural areas of the state has continued to widen since the Great Recession, which has direct consequences on health outcomes. Median household income is 29 percent lower in rural areas of the state compared to urban areas. Poverty and unemployment rates are also higher in rural counties. Because health is so closely tied to resources, it is not surprising that the poorest health outcomes are concentrated in the southern part of the state, where poverty rates are highest.
The report is particularly relevant as Colorado becomes an increasingly multiracial state. Between 2000 and 2015, people of color increased from one quarter of the state’s population to nearly one third. By 2021, kids of color are projected to make up a majority of Colorado’s child population. Communities of color in Colorado are disproportionately low-income, more likely to live in high poverty neighborhoods and attend high poverty schools, and are at a greater risk for poor health outcomes. As the state’s demographics continue to shift, it is critical to ensure that all children have the opportunity to grow up healthy, no matter the circumstances of their birth.
Find the full report here, and visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center for more data around children’s health in Colorado.
Colorado policymakers are looking for more information about the benefits and challenges involved in working in early childhood settings. Working with Early Milestones Colorado, the Colorado departments of Education and Health and Human Services are asking early childhood education providers to complete a survey to gather more insights and help update Colorado’s Early Childhood Professional Development Plan.
By completing the survey, you will receive two professional development hours honored by Child Care Licensing and by Colorado’s Professional Development Information System (PDIS), and be entered into a drawing to win one of ten $200 cash prizes and one admission to the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference! For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to take the survey.
In 2015, 9 percent of all babies in Colorado were born at a low birthweight. Low birthweight babies weigh 5.5 pounds or less at birth and are at higher risk for health problems like respiratory distress syndrome and heart problems. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is the principal cause of low birthweight births in developed countries. However, the percent of births in Colorado to women who smoked during pregnancy has fallen by more than half in the past two decades, while the percent of babies born at a low birthweight has remained fairly flat. Research shows that infants born to women at high altitudes have lower birth weights on average than those born to low-altitude mothers, but do not have the same negative health consequences and risks like low weight babies born to smoking mothers. To find data on the percent of low-weight births in your county, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.