HPPR Health, Education & Welfare

Health

‐state policy‐impact of federal policy‐rural health care delivery‐access & availability

Education

‐state policy‐programs and opportunities‐access & availability

Welfare

‐state policies‐income levels‐wellness‐quality of life

In the wake of rape charge filed in an attack on a 13-year-old girl in the office of a foster care contractor, Kansas lawmakers said Tuesday they’ll investigate what went wrong.

One legislator said state officials and the contractor responsible for watching over the alleged victim will face tough questions later this month.

Colorado has the fourth worst teacher pay gap in the country. A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute found Colorado teachers make 35.1 percent less that other workers living in similar parts of the state with similar education.

The paper tracks teacher pay since 1979, when they made about 5.5 percent less than comparable workers nationally. By 2017 that gap had grown to 18.7 percent.

Texas Launches Mobile App To Help People Report Suspicious Activity

Sep 18, 2018

A new mobile app launched after a southeast Texas high school shooting last month will allow Texans to report on suspicious activity happening in their own communities and schools. 

Center for the Study of the American West

The Center for the Study of the American West in Canyon has received a major grant from Humanities Texas.

The Center for the Study of the American West, better known as CSAW, is fast becoming one of the nation’s most recognized centers for thought and research into the American West.

The grant of several thousand dollars annually will go toward producing the center’s annual “Forgotten Frontera” community conversation event.

A nine-year-old boy in Colorado took his own life on the first week of school this year. The tragedy highlighted a pervasive problem in the state and in the Mountain West region as a whole -- the high suicide rate -- especially among youth. Goal Academy in Pueblo, Colorado is a charter program with high schools around the state that focuses on both academic and mental wellbeing.   

Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma imprisons more people than any other state, which means the Sooner State remains the largest per capita incarcerator in the world. State Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh is trying to change that, and he may have found part of the answer in the nation’s previous leader in imprisonment, Louisiana.

Sepsis hits nearly two million people in the U.S. a year and kills more than a quarter million. It’s a particular problem in nursing homes, where the aging, confused and immobile are especially susceptible.

In Kansas, scores of nursing homes have received federal citations since 2015 for practices that can put residents at a higher risk of sepsis.

Colorado’s prison population has increased seven-fold since 1980 and the number of felony cases filed by prosecutors has jumped 50 percent in just five years — sparking a statewide incarceration boom that costs Coloradans almost $1 billion a year, according to an analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.

For the first time in years, the uninsured rate in Texas is starting to climb again. After the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014, the state’s uninsured rate dropped from 22 percent to about 16 percent in 2016. However, that trend has started to move in another direction.

Seventh grade Texas social studies teachers will likely still be required to describe Alamo defenders in terms of their “heroism” and refer to William B. Travis’ letter “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” contrary to an initial recommendation of a board-appointed work group.

The Kansas State University Foundation had its second-best fundraising year in history.

The foundation announced Monday that it raised $174.2 million in fiscal year 2018.

The Kansas State Board of Education approved new standards Tuesday for students learning English as a second language.

The changes come as the number of students learning English grows in the state. Kansas Department of Education statistics show they made up nearly 12 percent of students in 2017.

From Texas Standard:

The start of the new school year is one of the busiest seasons for the The Boy Scouts of America, which happens to be among of the country's biggest youth organizations. Right now, the group's representatives are focused on recruiting new scouts, but this year, they're taking a different tack with their usual membership drive.

Kansas State University announced plans to upgrade facilities for each of its 16 sports programs.

The $230 million-plus master plan was unveiled by Athletic Director Gene Taylor on Friday. The school said the projects will be financed through private donations.

The largest of the projects is an $85 million renovation of Bramlage Coliseum, the university's 30-year-old basketball stadium. This project will include a new grand entry and ticket office, along with space for a K-State athletics hall of fame.

From Texas Standard:

Two years ago, the Houston Chronicle investigated how Texas had been creating the false impression that there was declining demand for special education. The investigation was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and it showed that Texas had found ways to cap the number of special-education students, and block others from even qualifying. It was essentially a money-saving strategy, but now the federal government says it's time to pay up, and fix the system.

In 2015, a woman donned a clown mask and slipped into a Dollar General Store in Wichita just before closing time.

In the final moments of the robbery that eventually got her three years in prison, she did something that could complicate her life for many more years to come.

She flashed a stun gun, stuffed the $3,400 in her coveralls and fled.

Jonathan Baker

Since 1939, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch has been thought of as a safe space for at-risk youth in the Texas Panhandle. But late last year, allegations of abuse--spanning decades--surfaced.

On Friday morning, former Boys Ranch residents gathered in Amarillo to bring attention to what they say happened to them at the faith-based facility.

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Oklahoma has, in recent years, gained national attention as a center for earthquakes. But a different kind of seismic shift hit the Sooner State this week—one of the political variety.

As The Tulsa World reports, this spring when Oklahoma’s teachers went on strike, they were dismissed and mocked by many of the state’s Republican officials. This, despite the fact that Oklahoma’s per-student spending has decreased by almost 25% in the past 10 years.

Two teacher associations sued Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and the Texas Education Agency on Wednesday, arguing they rolled out a law incentivizing partnerships with school districts and charter schools in a way that weakened protections for public school employees.

Wichita Public School teachers are receiving a more than a 3.5 percent increase in salary. In Topeka, the increase is nearly 8 percent, that district's largest in 26 years.

School districts across Kansas are raising salaries, restoring cut positions and adding new jobs.

More children are being born at hospitals that help mothers start breastfeeding, as well as teaching them the health benefits.

The trend is national, but Kansas is ahead of the curve. Forty percent of babies here are born in hospitals recognized for their efforts to support breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding protects against diseases, so the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it for the first six months of life.

For the second six months, it recommends continuing that while introducing babies to other foods.

No children pulled into the Kansas foster care system have slept in offices so far this month.

Having zero kids sleep in offices is significant for the state child welfare agency, which saw 85 kids crashing on cots or couches back in April. The number of kids left without a placement in a group or foster home was down to single digits in June and July.

At the same time, the overall number of kids in foster care has also been dropping by a few dozen kids per month since April. But there are still 7,500 children in out-of-home care.

If the experience of getting a bat stuck in your house or office isn’t unpleasant enough, Kansas health officials say it also means you should go get checked for rabies.

From Texas Standard:

The system of small hospitals that provides emergency and other health care to millions of rural Texans is in trouble. As many as 18 rural hospitals in Texas have closed since 2013, and many more may be on the verge. These closures can devastate local economies and leave some of the most vulnerable Texans with few health care options.

Wallethub

When it comes to women’s equality, High Plains states don’t fare as well as many other states across the country, according to new a new study by the personal finance website Wallethub.

The website compared all 50 states across 16 key indicators of gender equality, looking at everything from the gap between female and male executives to the disparity in unemployment rates for women and men.

Troubled Medicaid contractor Maximus could soon have a new contract with Kansas officials that pays it more to do less.

State officials say that appears to be the price of getting the job of processing applications for the privatized Medicaid program, KanCare, done right.

Every year, 232 women in Kansas endure the heartache of losing a baby to stillbirth or infant death.

To help reduce that rate, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment began a partnership with "Count the Kicks," an Iowa-based stillbirth prevention awareness campaign.

The program teaches expectant women to count their babies’ movements daily in the third trimester. That way, women will know to call their doctor if there is a change in the baby’s normal pattern.

Who What Where Nguyen Why / Wikimedia Commons

The scores are in for Texas Panhandle school districts, under the state’s controversial new A-F grading system.

As MyHighPlains.com reports, every school in Amarillo and Canyon met state standards.

The number of public school staff members armed as part of the school marshal program in Texas is set to more than double as the new school year begins.

A Medicaid committee in Texas is requiring those who comment at its meetings to disclose more details about their ties to pharmaceutical companies after a Center for Public Integrity and NPR investigation into the drug industry's influence on such boards.

The state is one of the latest to respond to the findings of the Medicaid, Under the Influence project. Officials in Arizona, Colorado and New York have already taken action.

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