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Monthly Newsletter

Monthly Newsletter - February 2011

Budget Watch

This week… the House and Senate are racing to negotiate a budget agreement before the temporary Continuing Resolution (CR) that is currently funding federal agencies and programs expires at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 4th. Without such an agreement, the federal government would shut down. As of this writing, it appears that a tentative agreement may have been reached between House and Senate leaders to extend government funding for another two weeks, through March 18, with $4 billion in cuts that have yet to be debated. The House has already passed a FY 2011 Appropriations bill which makes an unprecedented $66 billion in cuts to federal programs such as Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, and the Title I education program for disadvantaged children between now and September 30, 2011. Once the new temporary CR has been signed, the Senate will debate its own FY 2011 Appropriations bill for this period. If you find budget talk confusing or hard to follow, go to our Budget Watch page for a simple roadmap through the process.

When it's budget cutting time they always start with the easiest targets

However, as Congress continues the battle to fund spending for the rest of this fiscal year (through September), we also are preparing to fight next year’s budget battle as well. Earlier this month, President Obama released his budget for FY 2012, which essentially lays out a blueprint of the administration’s priorities and includes important increases in education, early childhood, and support for abused and neglected children, all intended to help support our future workforce. House and Senate action on the FY 2012 Budget will come after FY 2011 funding levels are resolved.

This year, the federal budget process is especially complicated, but also especially critical, with major differences between the House and Senate in the magnitude and type of cuts proposed. Through our Budget Watch page, we will keep a close eye on the budget battles and keep you informed, so you can help ensure funding for key programs for children and other vulnerable populations by weighing in with your Congressional representatives.

Moving Ahead with Educational Reform

Amidst the budget frenzy described above, the one policy concern that seems most likely to get attention and even bipartisan attention in Congress this year is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), better known as the “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB), a play on CDF’s trademarked mission statement to “Leave No Child Behind.” With data showing that more than 60 percent of all children in grades fourth, eighth and twelfth grades cannot read or do math at grade level, and the data for children of color much worse: 80 percent of children of color in grades four, eight, and 12 cannot perform at grade level, Congress has the opportunity with the reauthorization of ESEA to set American education on the path towards equality and excellence for all children. Children cannot wait. CDF is committed to seeing that children living in concentrated poverty, children without access to full-day kindergarten, children attending drop-out factories, and children in foster care and those in juvenile detention get the educational supports and stability they need. There is a mismatch today between U.S. jobs and children who will be qualified for them in the future. Congress and the President must act on education or the outlook for our children and for our nation is grim indeed. The administration's Blueprint for Education Reform provides a framework for a reauthorized ESEA that helps all children succeed, but Congress will have to go beyond the Blueprint in order for federal education policy to become the engine of equality rather the locomotive of inequality. It’s time to truly Leave No Child Behind. Please contact your Representative and Senators and urge them to act now on the ESEA Reauthorization in a way that will level the playing field for our most vulnerable children.

Children in the States

Children In the States

CDF recently updated its Children in the States fact sheets. These fact sheets provide basic statistics and rankings regarding the well-being of children in each state, looking at poverty, health, hunger, child welfare, early childhood development, education and youth at risk. There is also a national fact sheet. Find out how children in your state fare.

UPDATE: Black Community Crusade for Children


Last month, CDF launched the second phase of the Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC), a campaign to confront the crises Black children in America face. New surveys of Black adults and youth were released along with the Portrait of Inequality 2011 report. Check out new videos of Black faith leaders addressing the crises, including a rousing sermon by CDF Board member Dr. James Forbes, Jr., during a meeting of key Black stakeholders last December.

Read Marian Wright Edelman’s most recent Child Watch® Column, “A Call to Black Families”.

Sad News for the CDF Freedom Schools Family

CDF is sad to report that a former CDF Freedom Schools® scholar, Mr. Chris Pence, was shot and killed last month in the Frankford section of Philadelphia, PA. Our deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with Chris’ mother and those who survived him. Chris was a scholar at one of the Freedom Schools inaugural programs for four consecutive years, becoming an honor roll student and star athlete in high school. The tragedy of gun violence occurs every day in this country.  It is all the more tragic when it snuffs out a life filled with so much hope and promise, and one of our own family. Download CDF’s Protect Children, Not Guns 2010 report to learn more about the toll gun violence is having on our nation’s children and youth.

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