Archive

Archive for the ‘interest groups’ Category

2014 Multicultural Population Quick Facts

July 22, 2014 Comments off

2014 Multicultural Population Quick Facts
Source: AARP Research

This set of fact sheets provides a one-page snapshot of 50+ African American and Hispanic populations in select metropolitan markets.

Each fact sheet includes information on the population size, education, employment, income, grandparents living with grandchildren, food insecurity and buying power. Hispanic/Latino fact sheets also include data on citizenship status and English language use.

Data points are based on the most recent available from cited sources and represent the 50+ population unless otherwise indicated.

About these ads

67 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Nationwide in First Half of 2014

July 22, 2014 Comments off

67 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Nationwide in First Half of 2014
Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Today the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund issued a new report stating that 67 officers have been killed in the line of duty during the first half of 2014—a 31 percent increase over the same period last year.

Of these 67 officers, 26 were killed in traffic-related incidents; 25 were killed by gunfire; and 16 died due to job-related illnesses and other causes.

Key Facts

  • Traffic-related incidents were once again the leading cause of officer fatalities, with 26 officers killed in the first half of 2014—a 37 percent increase over the same period last year.
  • Firearms-related fatalities spiked to 25 in the first half of this year—a 56 percent increase over the first six months of 2013. Investigating suspicious persons or situations was the leading circumstance of fatal shootings, with six officer fatalities; followed by ambushes, with five officer fatalities.
  • Sixteen officers died due to other causes in the first half of 2014, the same as the number reported during the same time last year. Job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, increased 62 percent in the first half of 2014, with 13 officer fatalities compared to eight during the same period last year.
  • California led all states with eight officer fatalities; followed by Florida, New York, Texas and Virginia each with four peace officer fatalities.

Return on Educational Investment: 2014 — A District-by-District Evaluation of U.S. Educational Productivity

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Return on Educational Investment: 2014 — A District-by-District Evaluation of U.S. Educational Productivity
Source: Center for American Progress

In 2011, the Center of American Progress released the first-ever attempt to evaluate the productivity of almost every major school district in the country. That project developed a set of relatively simple productivity metrics in order to measure the achievement that a school district produces relative to its spending, while controlling for factors outside a district’s control, such the cost of living and students living in poverty.

The findings of that first report were worrisome and underscored the fact that the nation suffers from a productivity crisis. The data suggested that low productivity might cost the nation’s school system billions of dollars a year. What’s more, too few states and districts tracked the bang that they received for their education buck.

In this updated report, CAP uses these same metrics to once again examine the productivity of the nation’s school districts. We embarked on this second evaluation for a number of reasons. In many areas, education leaders continue to face difficult budget choices, and more than 300,000 education-related jobs have been lost since the start of the Great Recession. At the same time, the advent of the new, more rigorous Common Core standards will demand that far more from educators, including better, tougher exams. In short, many educators are being asked to do more with less.

But still, school productivity has not become part of the reform conversation, and with this project, our hope is to shine a light on how productivity differs across districts, as well as to identify key areas of reform. Moreover, for the first time, we conducted a special analysis of educational fiscal practices, diving deep into state budgeting approaches. We believe that if our education system had a more robust way of tracking expenditures, it could do more to increase productivity. Together with this report, we have also released analysis by CAP Senior Policy Analyst Robert Hanna on twin districts. Hanna’s analysis looks more closely at the programs and practices of more effective districts.

Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Entombed: Isolation in the US Federal Prison System
Source: Amnesty International

The USA stands virtually alone in the world in incarcerating thousands of prisoners in longterm or indefinite solitary confinement, defined by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment as “the physical and social isolation of individuals who are confined to their cells for 22 to 24 hours a day”. More than 40 US states are believed to operate “super-maximum security” units or prisons, collectively housing at least 25,000 prisoners. This number does not include the many thousands of other prisoners serving shorter periods in punishment or administrative segregation cells – estimated to be approximately 80,000 on any given day.

While US authorities have always been able to segregate prisoners for their own protection or as a penalty for disciplinary offences, super-maximum security facilities differ in that they are designed to isolate prisoners long-term as an administrative control measure. It is a management tool that has been criticized by human rights bodies, and is being increasingly challenged by US penal experts and others, as costly, ineffective and inhumane.

Unsafe and Harassed in Public Spaces: A National Street Harassment Report

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Unsafe and Harassed in Public Spaces: A National Street Harassment Report
Source: Stop Street Harassment

In 2014, SSH commissioned a 2,000-person nationally representative survey in the USA with firm GfK. The survey found that 65% of all women had experienced street harassment. Among all women, 23% had been sexually touched, 20% had been followed, and 9% had been forced to do something sexual.

Among men, 25% had been street harassed (a higher percentage of LGBT-identified men than heterosexual men reported this) and their most common form of harassment was homophobic or transphobic slurs (9%).

IIHS issues recommendations on used vehicles for teens after research finds many aren’t driving the safest ones

July 17, 2014 Comments off

IIHS issues recommendations on used vehicles for teens after research finds many aren’t driving the safest ones
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Many teenagers are driving vehicles that don’t offer good crash protection and lack important safety technology, new research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows. To help guide parents toward safer choices, IIHS has compiled its first-ever list of recommended used vehicles for teens.

IIHS is known for its ratings of new vehicles, but for many families, a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ isn’t in the budget. In a national phone survey conducted for IIHS of parents of teen drivers, 83 percent of those who bought a vehicle for their teenagers said they bought it used.

With that reality in mind, the Institute has compiled a list of affordable used vehicles that meet important safety criteria for teen drivers (see below). There are two tiers of recommended vehicles with options at various price points, ranging from less than $5,000 to nearly $20,000, so parents can buy the most safety for their money, whatever their budget.

At What Cost? How Community Colleges that Do Not Offer Federal Loans Put Students at Risk

July 16, 2014 Comments off

At What Cost? How Community Colleges that Do Not Offer Federal Loans Put Students at Risk
Source: Institute for College Access and Success

In 2013-14, nearly one million community college students across the nation were denied access to federal student loans, the safest and most affordable way to borrow for college. Our issue brief includes national and state-by-state analyses of loan access by race/ethnicity and urbanicity, and takes an in-depth look at North Carolina, California, and Georgia.

Impact of Finances 50+ Training Classes on Individuals’ Financial Behaviors

July 15, 2014 Comments off

Impact of Finances 50+ Training Classes on Individuals’ Financial Behaviors
Source: AARP Research

AARP Foundation, in collaboration with Charles Schwab Foundation, designed and disseminated a financial capability curriculum targeted to the 50+ age group to approximately 11 organizations nationwide. Classes were offered beginning in September 2012 through December 2013. Approximately 2,775 people participated in these classes.

The purpose of the report is to evaluate the impact of the financial training by:

  • Comparing behaviors relating to key financial topics before and after participating in the class
  • Determining whether desired financial behaviors increased after participating in the class

A pre-test post-test evaluation methodology was designed by AARP in which financial behaviors, including behaviors around spending, saving, budgeting, investing, handling debt, etc., were measured prior to training and at two follow-up time points (3- and 6-month post training). Analysis of respondents’ financial behaviors pre- and post-training reveals notable findings on the impact of the training classes:

1. Participants’ levels of anxiety about their financial situations decreased significantly from before to after the training, with the proportion “very worried” dropping by 36% (from 22% to 14%) from pre-training to six months post-training, while those “not very/not at all worried” increased 24% (from 34% to 42%) during the same time period.

2. Participant scores on the Financial Management Behavior Scale (FMBS) measured at three points in time show that there was a statistically significant improvement in average scale scores pre- and post-training.

3. Looking at other discrete indicators of change in financial behaviors, most significant post-training (6-month) change was found in the following “positive” behaviors:

  • calculating net worth
  • reducing financial fees
  • reducing spending and/or increasing earnings
  • prioritizing debt payment
  • reviewing credit card statement

Likewise, frequency of some “negative” behaviors declined significantly 6 months post, including:

  • being overdrawn
  • being contacted by a collector
  • taking out a payday loan

4. Developing a clear financial goal was a major accomplishment for those who took the training, with a 50% improvement rate in participants setting a goal. Among those with a defined goal, the proportion with an Action Plan increased 40% by the end of the study period.

No Time to Waste: Evidence-Based Treatment for Drug Dependence at the United States Veterans Administration Department of Veterans Affairs

July 13, 2014 Comments off

No Time to Waste: Evidence-Based Treatment for Drug Dependence at the United States Veterans Administration Department of Veterans Affairs
Source: Human Rights Watch

The 39-page report states that more than one million US veterans take prescription opioids for pain, and nearly half of them use the drugs “chronically,” or beyond 90 days. Alcohol and drug dependence is strongly associated with homelessness and mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression, psychological conditions that affect 40 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in VA care. Drugs or alcohol are involved in 1 of 3 Army suicides, and the VA estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

Summer Fun: How Much Hotter Will Your City Be?

July 11, 2014 Comments off

Summer Fun: How Much Hotter Will Your City Be?
Source: Climate Central

If it feels hot to you now in the dog days of this summer, imagine a time when summertime Boston starts feeling like Miami and even Montana sizzles.

Thanks to climate change, that day is coming by the end of the century, making it harder to avoid simmering temperatures.

Summers in most of the U.S. are already warmer than they were in the 1970s. And climate models tell us that summers are going to keep getting hotter as greenhouse gas emissions continue. What will this warming feel like? Our new analysis of future summers illustrates just how dramatic warming is going to be by the end of this century if current emissions trends continue unabated.

Higher Education, Library Principles to Preserve Network Neutrality

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Higher Education, Library Principles to Preserve Network Neutrality
Source: EDUCAUSE

On July 10, 2014, EDUCAUSE joined other leading higher education and library associations (listed below) in proposing a set of network neutrality principles for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use in developing new regulations to preserve the “open Internet.” These groups urged the FCC to adopt these principles in light of a recent court decision vacating two of the key network neutrality rules previously in place, which they believe creates an opportunity for Internet providers to block or degrade (e.g., arbitrarily slow) certain Internet traffic, or prioritize certain services, while relegating the online content and services of colleges, universities, and libraries to the “slow lane.” The groups argue that new network neutrality rules based on these principles will ensure that the Internet remains a vital, vibrant platform for teaching, learning, research, and community support and engagement.

The organizations endorsing the principles are:

American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
American Council on Education (ACE)
American Library Association (ALA)
Association of American Universities (AAU)
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
EDUCAUSE
Modern Language Association (MLA)
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)

EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

July 10, 2014 Comments off

EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Source: Environmental Working Group

Two-thirds of produce samples in recent government tests had pesticide residues. Don’t want to eat bug- and weed-killers? EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce helps you shop smart. We highlight the cleanest and dirtiest conventionally-raised fruits and vegetables. If a conventionally grown food you want tests high for pesticides, go for the organic version instead. And remember – the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh risks of pesticide exposure. Dirty Dozen™ Plus highlights hot peppers and leafy greens – kale and collard greens – often tainted with unusually hazardous pesticides.

Human Rights Campaign Foundation 2014 Corporate Equality Index

July 8, 2014 Comments off

Human Rights Campaign Foundation 2014 Corporate Equality Index (PDF)
Source: Human Rights Campaign

Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.

In the 2014 CEI report, 304 major businesses — spanning nearly every industry and geography — earned a top score of 100 percent and the distinction of “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”

AARP — African American/Black Social Issues Study

July 8, 2014 Comments off

African American/Black Social Issues Study
Source: AARP

This study examined the importance of key social issues facing African-Americans/ Blacks who are age 50 or older. It also gauged their optimism in regard to these social issues.

Key findings from the study show:

  • Access to high quality health care and having a financially secure retirement are the most important issues facing age 50+ African-Americans/Blacks age 50 and older.
  • The respondents are more optimistic that the country is moving in the right direction in regard to access to high quality health care.
  • There is less optimism that the country is moving in the right direction in regard to having a financially secure retirement.
  • Respondents age 75 and older are more optimistic than those ages 50-64 that the country is moving in the right direction about having a financially secure retirement.

Understanding the U.S. National Innovation System

July 4, 2014 Comments off

Understanding the U.S. National Innovation System
Source: Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

The conventional view of innovation is that it is something that just takes place idiosyncratically in “Silicon Valley garages” and R&D laboratories. But in fact, innovation in any nation is best understood as being embedded in a national innovation system (NIS). Just as innovation is more than science and technology, an innovation system is more than those elements directly related to the promotion of science and technology. Rather, it also includes all economic, political and other social institutions affecting innovation (e.g., a nation’s financial system; organization of private firms; the pre-university educational system; labor markets; culture, regulatory policies and institutions, etc.). Indeed, as Christopher Freeman defined it, a national innovation system is “the network of institutions in the public and private sectors whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify and diffuse new technologies.”

This report identifies the broad elements that make up a national innovation system, including a description of the innovation success triangle, which measures the business environment, regulatory environment, and innovation environment of a nation, and is used to predict the success of an innovation system in promoting technological development and economic growth. It then uses this framework to analyze the U.S. national innovation system and assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual components and whether those components are improving, stable or deteriorating relative to our competitors. Unfortunately, in many areas the U.S. national innovation system falls behind our global competitors, hampering our ability to foster the innovation that is imperative for success in the 21st century economy.

The State of Learning Disabilities — Third Edition, 2014

July 3, 2014 Comments off

The State of Learning Disabilities — Third Edition, 2014 (PDF)
Source: National Center for Learning Disabilities

This revised and expanded 2014 edition of The State of Learning Disabilities reflects NCLD’s commitment to ensuring that everyone who is concerned about the well-being of individuals — with or without identified learning disabilities — has access to the most relevant and updated information.

This new report is much more than a collection of facts. It provides an overview of what learning disabilities are, of the impact they have on the lives of children during the school-age years and of the ways that they shape the rocky transition that teens and young adults all too frequently have when moving from school to postsecondary educational settings and the workplace.

This report has been reformatted to tell a story about the realities of LD in society today: where we’ve been, where we are now and where we seem to be heading. It also points to areas of interest and concern where data specific to individuals with learning disabilities are either outdated, limited or missing. These areas encompass such topics as Response to Intervention, charter schools, vouchers, online and blended learning and juvenile justice.

Also worthy of mention in this new report is a section devoted to public perceptions of learning and attention issues. Recent work has yielded results from national surveys and interviews that offer insights into how learning challenges are understood and misunderstood. These data tell a critical story about the realities of having LD in today’s world.

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing

July 1, 2014 Comments off

War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing
Source: American Civil Liberties Union

All across the country, heavily armed SWAT teams are raiding people’s homes in the middle of the night, often just to search for drugs. It should enrage us that people have needlessly died during these raids, that pets have been shot, and that homes have been ravaged.

Our neighborhoods are not warzones, and police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies. Any yet, every year, billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment flows from the federal government to state and local police departments. Departments use these wartime weapons in everyday policing, especially to fight the wasteful and failed drug war, which has unfairly targeted people of color.

As our new report makes clear, it’s time for American police to remember that they are supposed to protect and serve our communities, not wage war on the people who live in them.

Boomers & Vacation Plans: An AARP Bulletin Survey

July 1, 2014 Comments off

Boomers & Vacation Plans: An AARP Bulletin Survey
Source: AARP

Key Findings:

  • About six-in-ten (57%) American Boomers say they are planning to take an overnight vacation within the next 12 months.
  • Among those Boomers who have planned to take an overnight vacation in the next 12 months, about seven-in-ten (68%) report they are planning to take more than one overnight vacation, while three-in-ten (29%) report they are planning to make only one overnight vacation.
  • About half (47%) of Boomers who have an overnight vacation planned in the next 12 months, say they are planning for one to two weeks away on vacation, while one-third (34%) say they are planning for more than two weeks away on vacation.
  • Half (49%) of Boomers who have an overnight vacation planned in the next 12 months say they are planning to spend $1,000 to less than $5,000 for their overnight vacations. However, one-third (34%) say they are planning to spend less than $1,000 while eight-in-ten (13%) say they are planning to spend $5,000 or more for their overnight vacations.
  • The high majority (56%) of Boomers who have an overnight vacation planned in the next 12 months say their spouse or partner will be going with them, and one-in-seven (15%) say their child/children will be going with them, while one-in-six (17%) Boomers say they are planning on going self/alone for their vacation.
  • Two-thirds (64%) of Boomers say they will be going to another state within the U.S. and one-in-five (20%) report they will be vacationing within their own state. But, one-in-five (19%) Boomers report going out of the country for their vacation in the next 12 months.
  • The highest proportion of Boomers, who are planning for an out of country vacation, are planning on going to Europe (38%), followed by Latin or South America (21%), Caribbean (13%), and Canada (10%).

While asking about the motive for their overnight vacation within the next 12 months, most of Boomers say the main reason is either “To see, connect, or spend time with family and/or friends” (45%), or “For a pure fun, or relaxation” (38%).

New Older Driver Data Trends in Upward Direction

June 27, 2014 Comments off

New Older Driver Data Trends in Upward Direction
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

According to a new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, older Americans are extending their time behind the wheel compared to previous generations. For example, 84 percent of Americans 65 and older held a driver’s license in 2010 compared to barely half in the early 1970s. Today, one in six drivers on U.S. roads are ages 65 and older and this new research shows an increased automobility of older drivers with travel patterns indicating about a 20 percent increase in trips and a 33 percent increase in miles travelled between 1990 and 2009.

While upward trends indicate greater mobility for the silver tsunami, the Understanding Older Drivers: An Examination of Medical Conditions, Medication Use and Travel Behaviors report reveals that 90 percent of older drivers also use prescription medications with two-thirds taking multiple medications. Previous Foundation research has shown that combinations of medications, both prescription and over- the-counter, can result in an impairment in safe driving ability.

The report also reveals gender differences when it comes to medication-use behind the wheel. Older women that use medications are more likely to regulate their driving compared to men and, even without a medical condition, female drivers drive less than their male counterparts with a medical condition.

Ed Trust Calls for Linking Student Aid and Tax Benefits to College Access, Success, and Student Loan Repayment Rates

June 27, 2014 Comments off

Ed Trust Calls for Linking Student Aid and Tax Benefits to College Access, Success, and Student Loan Repayment Rates
Source: Education Trust

More than 600,000 undergraduates attend four-year “college dropout factories” with six-year graduation rates below 15 percent and “diploma mills” where nearly 3 out of 10 students who leave with debt are unable to repay their student loans, according to a new report released by The Education Trust. Approximately $15 billion is distributed annually to some 300 institutions that do not serve students well. These four-year schools are among the bottom 5 percent nationally in enrolling low-income students, graduating the students they serve, or graduating students with manageable debt and degrees that can support that investment without default.

The report, Tough Love: Bottom-Line Quality Standards for Colleges, lays out a comprehensive plan for the federal government to leverage existing resources, in the form of student aid and tax benefits, to protect students and taxpayer dollars from going to chronically underperforming schools. The plan also encourages elite colleges to open their gates to many more talented working class and low-income students.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 856 other followers