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W.K. Kellogg Foundation;
As the country becomes more diverse, schools that successfully engage all families will transform learning and leadership. This executive summary captures "takeways" from partnerships forged by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) to create environments where teachers, families and community members can effectively collaborate and share power.
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice;
The Robina Institute recently completed work with the Kansas Prisoner Review Board to improve and streamline their revocation process by reducing the number of offenders revoked on post-release supervision and reducing the time revoked offenders spend in prison. Dr. Edward Rhine, Assistant Professor Ebony Ruhland, and Dr. Julia Laskorunsky examined multiple decision points in the Kansas system to provide technical assistance and policy recommendation to the Board.
Environmental Working Group;
As the southern Great Plains get hotter and drier, is federal policy that encourages farmers not to adapt to climate change leading to another Dust Bowl?
That's the troubling question raised by a new EWG report that shows how a provision in the federal crop insurance program provides a strong financial incentive for growers to plant the same crops in the same way, year in and year out, regardless of changing climate conditions. What's worse, this program is focused on the same southern Great Plains counties hit hardest by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the worst man-made environmental disaster in American history.
The federal crop insurance program guarantees farmers' earnings from their crops won't fall below a percentage of their usual income. The percentage is set based on a multi-year average of a farmer's actual crop yields. Averaging good and bad years grounds the program in reality.
But a provision called the Actual Production History Yield Exclusion – snuck into the 2014 Farm Bill during conference negotiations – allows growers to drop bad years from their average crop yield calculations. The government simply pretends these bad years didn't happen. In some cases, more than 15 bad years can be thrown out when calculating the average yield, resulting in artificially inflated insurance payouts.
It makes sense for crop insurance to give growers a break if they're occasionally hit by one or two bad years, but keeping growers on a treadmill of failed crops and insurance payouts is foolish. Helping farmers adapt to the new weather conditions would be considerably better, and was exactly what helped growers survive the Dust Bowl and return to productivity.
The southern Great Plains are getting hotter and drier. Drought has been common over the last 10 years and forecasts show the number of days above 100 degrees quadrupling by 2050. Implementing conservation practices to adapt to changing climate conditions is vital for growers who want to stay in business.
Some, but not enough, growers are already adopting conservation techniques in this region. Savings from ending the misguided yield exclusion policy could be used to help more growers change the way they farm to face the challenges posed by a changing climate.
Chicago Council on Global Affairs;
This report focuses how immigrants have helped offset native-born population loss and revitalized an aging workforce by examining 46 Midwestern metro areas as a refresh of a similar study published by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2014. Metro areas are a useful barometer by which to measure the impact of immigration because the economies of central cities and their suburbs are tightly connected and because large immigrant communities are found in both central cities and suburbs of metro areas. Also, the extent to which immigration matters to metro-area economies heightens the importance of immigration as an issue and raises the stakes for immigration reform.
Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice;
How much weight does a prior conviction carry at sentencing for a current offense? The answer is that it greatly depends where the offender is sentenced. In some states, a prior felony means a few extra months imprisonment. In others, it can mean additional years. In 2015, the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice published the Criminal History Enhancements Sourcebook, which provides a detailed comparison of the various ways 18 U.S. sentencing guidelines jurisdictions use an offender's prior criminal record to enhance punishment for a current crime. Among the primary takeaways from the Sourcebook are that (1) jurisdictions have very different approaches to criminal history enhancements and that (2) these different approaches can have considerable impacts on important policy outcomes like racial disparities and the financial costs of imprisoning more offenders (many of whom are aging and convicted of non-violent crimes). This Policy Brief illustrates the extraordinary variation in the use of criminal history enhancements by comparing the impact of criminal history scores for offenders in three states: Kansas, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.
Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED);
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
Why is there so much difference in the health of residents in one county compared to other counties in the same state? In this report, the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program explores how wide gaps are throughout Kansas and what is driving those differences. This information can help Kansas state leaders as they identify ways for everyone to have a fair chance to lead the healthiest life possible. Specifically, this document can help state leaders understand: 1. What health gaps are and why they matter 2. The size and nature of the health gaps among counties within Kansas 3. What factors are influencing the health of residents, and 4. What state and local communities can do to address health gaps.
The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Greater Horizons Annul Report.
Family Conservancy, The;
The report includes data that will allow districts, schools, centers, funders, and supporters to better understand who is accessing early childhood services, what services are being accessed, and who is providing those services.
The survey showed that schools, centers, and homes differed with respect to children served, program characteristics, and staff characteristic. Likely as a result of their access to more sources of revenue, school-based programs were more likely to be accredited, to have appropriately educated teachers who receive fair compensation and benefits, to offer services such as transportation and summer school, and to use strategies to engage families compared to centers and homes. The focus on formal learning opportunities varied with respect to program type. School-based programs were most likely to use a curriculum and to assess kindergarten readiness (100% and 71%, respectively), followed by centers (74% and 50%, respectively), then homes (65% and 32%, respectively).
This report is part of a series of 21 state and regional studies examining the rollout of the ACA. The national network ---- with 36 states and 61 researchers ---- is led by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York, the Brookings Institution, and the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Kansas report highlights the diverse approaches to implementation taken by elected officials including Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, Governor Sam Brownback, and the Kansas Legislature. The political landscape changed this year when Commissioner Praeger decided not to seek re-election. Her replacement, Commissioner-Elect Ken Selzer, has expressed opposition to the ACA.
American Mental Health Counselors Association;
This comprehensive study shows that 6.7 million uninsured people with a mental illness are currently eligible for coverage under the Medicaid Expansion that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. But the majority of these individuals with mental health conditions will be left out in the coverage cold due to their state's antagonism toward the Medicaid Expansion health insurance initiative.