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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

High housing costs in MA impacting childrens’ overall well-being

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

Massachusetts is known for its quality education and health care systems, but high housing costs are straining family budgets and impacting childrens' well-being, according to a new report.

The 2024 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds more than 30% of children statewide live in cost-burdened households, including nearly half of Hispanic families.

Adam Jones, a policy analyst with MassBudget, said children without stable housing will struggle to thrive.

"It's hard for children and families to support health," said Jones. "It's hard to support academics. It's hard to support social comfortability if you're moving, you can't keep a friend group and you can't engaged in other activities."

Jones said it will take new thinking and investments at the state and local level to fix the housing crisis - including an expansion of the state's rental voucher program, and allowing towns to levy fees on high-end real estate transactions to pay for more affordable housing.

Despite ranking top in the nation for education, some indicators worsened for Massachusetts children.

The report shows a slight increase in those ages three and four not enrolled in school while fourth-grade reading proficiency declined.

Sixty-five percent of eighth-graders are considered not proficient in math.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said the rate of chronic absenteeism among students is nearly double pre-pandemic rates with disruptive results.

"Their test scores tend to be lower, they tend to be more likely to be suspended and less likely to complete school on time," said Boissiere. "It also affects the overall atmosphere of the classroom as the teacher is always working to catch students up."

Boissiere said the number of Massachusetts high school students graduating on time has improved slightly since 2019, but a lack of student readiness will ultimately hurt the U.S. economy.

She said ensuring students have access to low-cost meals, in-person tutoring, and mental health services will improve academic outcomes and the likelihood of employment after high school.




Disclosure: Annie E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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