At long last, the feds are treating local journalism as critical infrastructure

September 24, 2021 | Monterey County Weekly (California)

By Erik Cushman, includes “In Washington, D.C., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer signed on as a co-sponsor of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which gives the bill real prospect for inclusion in the massive $3.5 trillion reconciliation package that will be considered later this month.”

Many teacher pension plans get failing grade: New report

September 24, 2021 | Money

By Kaitlin Mulhere, includes “… Sometimes states that don't participate in Social Security make up for it with more generous pension formulas. Connecticut and especially Massachusetts, for example, pay out generously to teachers who work for more than three decades. … Aside from long vesting periods and the lack of an …”

COVID-19 spurs school choice legislation – Missouri, 4 other states pass education savings account bills

September 24, 2021 | The 74

By Wayne D’Orio, includes “As the new school year ramps up, much of the national attention is focused on mask mandates and how aspects of U.S. history will be taught. But away from the spotlight, the issue of school choice is quietly gaining acceptance, with seven states passing legislation this year that assists parents in at least partially funding their children’s education outside of public schools. …”

How Michigan families will benefit from a $1.4 billion investment in child care

September 23, 2021 | Chalkbeat Detroit

By Koby Levin, includes “… Those are just a few features of a $1.4 billion investment in Michigan’s child care system. The new state budget, which draws heavily on federal COVID aid dollars, is expected to have an immediate impact on families with young children, and to close funding gaps in the early education system that have destabilized the early childhood workforce and left wide swathes of the state in ‘child care deserts.”

Budget reconciliation must support a quality education for all students

September 23, 2021 | Center for American Progress

Includes “… state and local policymakers should use funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act to meet the economic, health, academic, and social-emotional needs of children, families, and educators. But this is just the start of what is necessary … The Center for American Progress recommends that federal, state, and local governments use ARP funds and funding from the budget reconciliation package to …”

Care matters: A report card for care policies in the states

September 23, 2021 | The Care Foundation

By Julie Kashen and Amanda Novello, includes “For too long, the United States has treated managing both care and work as an individual responsibility and failed to enact common-sense care policies … In September 2021, committees in the House of Representatives voted to pass President Biden’s care economy proposals that include paid family and medical leave, comprehensive child care, universal preschool, …”

More effort is needed to protect the integrity of the Child Care and Development Fund Block Grant Program

September 23, 2021 | U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General

Includes “The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) block grant program is a Federal-State partnership to provide eligible, low income families with help paying for child care at a provider of their choice. … We found that States differed in the scope of CCDF program integrity activities and varied substantially in the degree to which they conducted specific program integrity activities, as shown in Figure 1.”

Lightfoot bets on improving economy, uses federal funds to balance budget

September 22, 2021 | WTTW News (Chicago)

By Heather Cherone, includes “Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to close a projected $733 million budget gap in 2022 relies on $385 million in federal relief funds, approximately $298 million in savings and cuts and bets that the city’s economy will improve quickly as the COVID-19 pandemic finally wanes. … Ald.” 

Time for the mayor to turn frank talk on pensions into action

September 22, 2021 | Crain’s Chicago Business

By Joe Cahill, includes “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a refreshingly realistic take on the public employee pension crisis, and an unsparing assessment of political leaders who avoid confronting it. Too bad she's not equally clear-eyed and courageous about what it will take to defuse the fiscal threat she describes so accurately.”

Mayor unveils $1.7 billion Milwaukee budget proposal that relies heavily on federal funds

September 22, 2021 | WISN ABC-12 News (Wisconsin)

Includes “Mayor Tom Barrett unveiled what was expected to be his final city budget Tuesday morning. ‘Change is likely to come to city government,’ he said before the Common Council. After 17 years as mayor, President Joe Biden has nominated Barrett to serve as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. Barrett's budget is filled with dire warnings.”

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