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

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In the wake of last year’s mass shooting at Texas’s Santa Fe High School, Gov. Greg Abbott released a plan to obviate future shooting by releasing a 40-page plan to keep schools safe.

Thank you to Bruce Moseley, Executive Director of the Turn Center (and semi-finalist for best beard in Amarillo), for stopping by High Plains Morning to share some information about their organization’s upcoming sporting events with Kids Inc. (or, Kids Inclusion). Together, they’ll provide adaptive sports opportunities for all children in the Amarillo area. “We are excited that children with disabilities and without disabilities will get to play sports together!,” Moseley says.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

To address a shortage of rural vets, Texas Tech plans to build a new vet school, which would be the second in the state. But A&M said doing so would detract state resources without solving anything.

From The Texas Tribune:

From Texas Standard.

Nonmedical exemptions for vaccines have been on the rise over the past few years. They allow parents to bypass vaccination requirements for their children, based on religious or philosophical beliefs. These exemptions are often referred to as NMEs. A recent report published by the Public Library of Science Journal of Medicine, or PLOS Medicine, analyzed trends in the 18 states that permitted NMEs, from 2009 to 2017. Texas is one of them.

Public Domain via Pixabay

Oklahoma’s foster care system has been beleaguered by high rates of abuse and neglect for years.

And, as The Tulsa World reports, much of that child abuse is due to Oklahoma’s high levels of meth addiction, with the state’s opioid addiction struggles adding to the problem in recent years.

Public Domain

Today is our nation’s birthday, and for many across the High Plains, it’s a time to break out the fireworks.

But here on this windy, grassy flatland, those Black Cats and bottle rockets can be deadly to you and your neighbors. With that in mind, here are a few safety tips, courtesy of the National Council on Fireworks Safety.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer says he will continue to push for a Medicaid work requirement despite a recent court order blocking a similar policy in Kentucky.

Last week, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee in the District of Columbia, questioned whether the Trump administration had adequately considered the consequences of Kentucky’s work requirement before reversing longstanding federal policy to approve it.

Army veteran Cody Bolkenstyn remembers when his vehicle exploded in Iraq. And for him, hearing the sound of fireworks on the Fourth of July can put him back into that moment.

“It’s hard to control my breath,” he said. “In that instant I feel like I just got blown up or shot and then I kind of come back to reality really quick.”

Charles Edward Miller / Flickr Creative Commons

According to an editorial in The New Yorker this week, Tuesday’s Oklahoma primary elections “show the lasting impression of the teacher walkout.”

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

West Texas A&M opened a simulated emergency operations center on campus to train student teachers on how to respond to crises, including active shooters and natural disasters.

From The Texas Tribune:

CANYON — In a college classroom in the Texas Panhandle this fall, student teachers will study more than how to plan lessons or manage a classroom. They'll learn what to do when a gunman attacks their school.

How The School Funding Formula Works In Texas

Jun 27, 2018

The most basic thing to understand about school funding is that every student in the state of Texas has a dollar figure hanging over his or her head. But not every kid is worth the same amount of money in the eyes of state.

A Topeka shelter has been receiving children who were separated from their parents at the border for about two weeks, its executive director confirmed Friday.

The Topeka campus of The Villages, Inc. started accepting children who had entered the country without a parent or other relative last year. It’s been scaling up its capacity for migrant children since then, and can now house up to 50 of those kids.

(This story has been updated.)

Kansas continues to underfund its schools, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Monday — a decision that could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars more over the next four years.

But because the Legislature agreed to significant hikes in funding this spring, the justices gave it another year to add to the amount it sends to local school districts.

The high court could have forced lawmakers back to Topeka in coming weeks to fix the problem or face school closures, something the state’s lawyers begged it not to do.

So far this month, eastern Kansas foster care contractor KVC Kansas hasn’t had any kids sleep in its offices. St. Francis, the contractor for the rest of the state, has had four kids overnight, according to the latest update from the state child welfare agency.

In recent months, each of those contractors logged dozens of overnight stays per month.

Flickr Creative Commons

It appears that the historic raise promised to Oklahoma’s teachers may be in trouble.

As The Guardian reports, despite promises made by state lawmakers to give Oklahoma’s educators a $6,100 a year pay increase, conservative activists in the state are circulating a petition to rescind the tax hikes meant to pay for the raises.

Adrian Jones. Evan Brewer. Conner Hawes. Lucas Hernandez.

News coverage of those children’s deaths and others under the state’s watch galvanized public outrage over the past three years and drew more scrutiny to the troubled child welfare system in Kansas.

Texans think the Legislature should expand Medicaid to more low-income people and make health care more affordable, according to a survey released today from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Kansas teachers have lost their second attempt to get tenure back for thousands of educators through the courts — but say they will continue their battle at the Legislature.

“So this is a disappointment,” teachers union spokesman Marcus Baltzell said of the decision handed down by the Kansas Supreme Court Friday. “But it's just one step."

Friday’s decision from the state’s highest court was unanimous.

Justin Cozart / Wikimedia Commons

According to a new survey in Amarillo, most residents of the city feel safe.

As The Amarillo Globe-News­ reports, more than 80 percent of the survey’s respondents said they feel “somewhat safe,” “very safe” or “neutral” in Amarillo.

Werneuchen / Wikimedia Commons

A number of abortion-rights groups are suing the State of Texas, in an attempt to overturn dozens of laws they say hinder the rights of Texas women.

As The Dallas Morning-News reports, six organizations and one doctor have brought a federal suit against the state, hoping to repeal several laws, including one requiring a 24-hour waiting period between having a sonogram and an abortion, and another that says parents must consent to a minor having an abortion.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer’s proposed Medicaid work requirement would create a “catch-22” for some low-income Kansans, according to a report released Tuesday.

The report, from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities — a nonpartisan research organization that supports Medicaid expansion — said work requirements could jeopardize their coverage.

Only about a third of kids in Texas are getting vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is linked to several cancers. The state ranks 47th in the country for its vaccination rate, according to the Texas Medical Association.

Children entering the Kansas foster care system will soon have a new short-term place to stay in Kansas City.

With kids sleeping in their offices several nights a month, KVC Kansas, one of the state’s two foster care contractors, has been looking to open some sort of crisis center for the past year.

Federal rules in place since January 2017 have not curbed the use of antibiotics in pork production, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group whose food and environment agenda includes responsible antibiotic use.

Five-year-old Ridley Fitzmorris sits at a picnic table in his backyard in Lawrence, one leg dangling and the other tucked beneath him. His eyes are focused on a row of Hot Wheels that his therapist asked him to count.

“One, two, three,” he says in a whisper, his finger hovering over each toy car until he reaches the last one. Turning to an iPad that he uses to communicate, he clicks an icon. “Eight,” the computerized voice announces.

“Good job!” cooes therapist Ashley Estrada, a specialist in treatment for children with autism. “You did it by yourself."

From Texas Standard.

As many reacted with shock this week to the deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, we also learned from the Centers for Disease Control that suicide rates have risen in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016, the latest year for which complete data is available. Though Texas remains below the national rate, suicides have been rising here, too. The state experiences 12.9 suicides per 100,000 Texans. Across the nation, there were more than twice as many suicides as homicides in 2016. The CDC says these trends cannot be linked to any specific medical diagnosis. 

From Texas Standard.

In efforts to avoid strict state sanctions, Houston ISD, San Antonio ISD and Waco ISD are all school districts that have recently either considered or adopted plans to consolidate several of their consistently failing public schools into charter school partnerships.

Finding health and human services help in Kansas is now as easy as sending a text. The United Way of the Plains launched a new texting option for its 211 information helpline.

Here is how it works: all you need to do is send a text to 898211 with your zip code. A call center operator will answer the text and get more details about the situation.

Kansas has some of the highest education achievement standards in the country, but students are struggling to reach that high bar.

The new report from the National Center For Education Statistics standardized state proficiency assessments for math and reading in 2015. For eighth grade, Kansas had the highest benchmark for proficiency in both reading and math out of the states evaluated.

CC0 Creative Commons

Amarillo will host a town hall today to explore ways to improve broadband access in rural areas today.

Representative Four Price and Senator Charles Perry will be in attendance, in hopes of better understanding the issue of rural broadband and how to better connect rural areas to the internet. 

According to a press release, attendees will be encouraged to voice their concerns “about the obstacles, and potential solutions” for providing better internet to all Texans.

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