Archive for the ‘Gov – US’ Category

Mortality in the United States, 2013

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Mortality in the United States, 2013
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Vital Statistics System, Mortality

  • Life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2013 was unchanged from 2012 at 78.8 years.
  • The age-adjusted death rate of 731.9 per 100,000 standard population did not change significantly from 2012.
  • The 10 leading causes in 2013 remained the same as in 2012, although unintentional injuries became the fourth leading cause, while stroke became the fifth. Age-adjusted death rates significantly decreased for 4 leading causes and increased for 2.
  • The infant mortality rate in 2013 of 596.1 infant deaths per 100,000 live births did not change significantly from the rate in 2012. The 10 leading causes of infant death in 2013 remained the same as in 2012, although maternal complications became the third leading cause, while Sudden infant death syndrome became the fourth.

Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (2015)

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (2015)
Source: National Research Council

A Framework for K-12 Science Education and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) describe a new vision for science learning and teaching that is catalyzing improvements in science classrooms across the United States. Achieving this new vision will require time, resources, and ongoing commitment from state, district, and school leaders, as well as classroom teachers. Successful implementation of the NGSS will ensure that all K-12 students have high-quality opportunities to learn science.

Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards provides guidance to district and school leaders and teachers charged with developing a plan and implementing the NGSS as they change their curriculum, instruction, professional learning, policies, and assessment to align with the new standards. For each of these elements, this report lays out recommendations for action around key issues and cautions about potential pitfalls. Coordinating changes in these aspects of the education system is challenging. As a foundation for that process, Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards identifies some overarching principles that should guide the planning and implementation process.

The new standards present a vision of science and engineering learning designed to bring these subjects alive for all students, emphasizing the satisfaction of pursuing compelling questions and the joy of discovery and invention. Achieving this vision in all science classrooms will be a major undertaking and will require changes to many aspects of science education. Guide to Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards will be a valuable resource for states, districts, and schools charged with planning and implementing changes, to help them achieve the goal of teaching science for the 21st century.

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New From the GAO

January 9, 2015 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Transportation Disadvantaged Populations: Nonemergency Medical Transportation Not Well Coordinated, and Additional Federal Leadership Needed. GAO-15-110, December 10.
Highlights –

NCDC Releases 2014 U.S. Climate Report

January 9, 2015 Comments off

NCDC Releases 2014 U.S. Climate Report
Source: NOAA

The 2014 annual average contiguous U.S. temperature was 52.6°F, 0.5°F above the 20th century average. This ranked as the 34th warmest year in the 1895–2014 record. Very warm conditions dominated the West, while the Midwest and Mississippi Valley were cool.

The average contiguous U.S. precipitation was 30.76 inches, 0.82 inch above average, and ranked as the 40th wettest year in the 120-year period of record. The northern United States was wet, and the Southern Plains were dry; the national drought footprint shrank about 2 percent.

In 2014, there were eight weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These eight events resulted in the deaths of 53 people. The events include: the western U.S. drought, the Michigan and Northeast flooding event, five severe storm events, and one winter storm event.

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview
Source: NOAA

The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is the Nation’s Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather and climate events in their historical perspective. As part of its responsibility of monitoring and assessing the climate, NCDC tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. NCDC is frequently called upon to provide summaries of global and U.S. temperature and precipitation trends, extremes, and comparisons in their historical perspective. Found here are the weather and climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2014. The U.S. has sustained 178 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2014). The total cost of these 178 events exceeds $1 trillion.

Oversight Committee Releases 348 Page Report on Legislative, Oversight Accomplishments

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Oversight Committee Releases 348 Page Report on Legislative, Oversight Accomplishments
Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Legislative Work

Through its efforts, the Committee has seen 23 bills enacted into law and 74 bills passed by the House between 2011 and 2014. Notably, the bipartisan Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) was signed into law by the President on May 9, 2014 (p. 35). The DATA Act “requires Federal agencies to publicly report all of their obligations and expenditures–encompassing both external spending, such as grants, loans, and contracts, and internal spending on salaries, supplies, and facilities.” By putting spending information online in an easily searchable format, the DATA Act increases transparency and accountability of federal spending.

On December 19, 2014, the President also signed the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (p. 40). FITARA improves federal IT acquisition, which costs taxpayers nearly $80 billion a year, by providing “common-sense good governance reforms to assist the government in its adoption and employment of critical IT resources.”

Oversight Work

Between 2011 and 2014, the Committee “held more than 350 full and subcommittee hearings, sent over 2,000 letters requesting information from government agencies, officials and interested parties, issued over 100 subpoenas compelling the production of documents, and published nearly 60 oversight and investigative staff reports.” The Committee has investigated the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service, the Administration’s failed rollout of ObamaCare and its lack of transparency, the Department of Justice’s Operation Fast and Furious, and the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.

The Committee staff worked tirelessly in each investigation, spending countless hours reviewing documents and materials to uncover answers owed to the American people. For instance, in the IRS targeting scandal, the Committee reviewed millions of pages of documents from the IRS, Treasury Department, and other agencies and conducted 52 transcribed interviews that amounted to 309 hours of testimony (p. 69). The Committee’s investigation found that 80 percent of the delayed requests for tax-exempt status were for conservative non-profit groups, and that not a single “Tea Party” group was approved by the IRS between February 2010 and May 2013.

The Committee has also worked to root out waste, fraud, and abuse by the federal government with oversight of wasteful federal stimulus spending, unsuccessful federal IT acquisitions, abuses at federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, agency obstruction of Inspectors General, and whistleblower protections. The District of Columbia has also been a priority for Chairman Issa, who has worked closely with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC, “to pass federal legislation to address the needs of the city, including bills to promote economic development and to ensure fiscal stability (p. 278).”

Employment Situation– December 2014

January 9, 2015 Comments off

Employment Situation– December 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 252,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.


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