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

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Several key Texas lawmakers have shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in Texas, according to The Texas Tribune.

News on 6

Oklahoma continues to lead the nation in incarceration rates for women, reports News on 6.

As a matter of fact, the state appears to be leaving the competition in the dust. The state imprisoned women at a ten percent higher rate this year over last. And Oklahoma County imprisoned thirty-three percent more women this year than in 2015.

Gov. Mary Fallin has created a Justice Reform Task Force to examine state laws that lead to imprisonment.

Kansas Department of Corrections

A case disputing the constitutionality of solitary confinement in Kansas is moving forward, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Paul Hellstern / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma’s education superintendent has vowed that she will fight for a ballot measure that would provide $5,000 raises to Oklahoma’s teachers, reports NewsOK.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister indicated that she will support the legislation even though the measure isn’t ideal. Hofmeister said something must be done to address Oklahoma’s shrinking pool of teachers.

Marie D. De Jesus / Houston Chronicle

Texas is keeping tens of thousands of kids out of special education who might, in other states, be considered special ed students.

That’s because, over a decade ago, Texas officials decided on a percentage of students that should get special education services. That number is 8.5 percent, and it is an arbitrary figure that doesn’t change according to how many students are actually in need.

The Denver Post

Despite Colorado’s ballooning population, the state’s waistlines remain as skinny as ever.

Colorado has once again been named the leanest state in America, reports The Denver Post. The announcement means Colorado has held the title consistently for over ten years.

According to the CDC, Colorado also as the lowest rate of adult diabetes, the lowest rate of physical inactivity and the second-lowest rate of hypertension in the United States. But there’s still room for improvement.

Martin Dimitrov / Getty Images

Students from sparsely populated areas can earn money toward undergraduate and graduate degrees, as reported in U.S. News & World Report.

Wallethub

Community colleges were once disparaged as inferior to four-year institutions. But in recent years, two-year colleges have stepped up their game, sometimes even outperforming traditional universities. The personal finance website WalletHub has published a list of 2016’s states with the best and worst community college systems.

Alexa Ura / Texas Tribune

When it comes to police shootings, it’s rare for an officer in Texas to be disciplined or charged with a crime.

As The Texas Tribune reports, almost 900 officers were involved in police shootings in Texas’ largest cities between 2010 and 2015. Of those, only seven faced criminal charges for pulling the trigger. And not a single one has been convicted of a crime.

Michael Schumacher / Amarillo Globe-News

West Texas A&M University in Canyon has formally named a successor to departing president J. Patrick O’Brien. The new president, Walter V. Wendler, is the former chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Wendler will start with a salary of over $335,000. As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, Amarillo-native Don Powell headed a search committee that recommended Wendler after narrowing a pool of more than 70 applicants.

FrankieLeon / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government has announced it will distribute $53 million dollars to 44 states and four tribes to help fight opioid addiction, reports The Rural Blog.

Charles Bertram / Lexington Herald-Leader

A program in Kentucky could be used as a template for how to improve rural health care costs nationwide, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

A new initiative by the University of Kentucky has found that offering employees a share in a local farm harvest could impact health care costs.

Spencer Selvidge / Texas Tribune

A new study predicts that, within the next ten years, Texas will lead the nation in sicknesses linked to ozone-forming pollutants.

These pollutants are a byproduct of oil and gas activity, reports The Texas Tribune.

news9.com

When it comes to per-pupil spending, Oklahoma ranks 47th out of the 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state spends less than $9,000 per student per year. That puts Oklahoma well below the national average of nearly $12,400. Oklahoma also spends less than its neighboring states on students, reports News 9.

Ted S. Warren / AP photo

Nationwide, more Americans are dying in car crashes recently. But that’s not the case in Kansas, reports The Kansas City Star.

From 2014 to 2015, the U.S. saw an increase in traffic fatalities of just over seven percent, the largest year-over-year increase since 1966. But the numbers in the Sunflower State declined at almost the same rate. Kansas highway fatalities fell 7.8 percent from 2014 to 2015.

wichita.edu

For years, Kansas has had a problem: How does the state keep college graduates from moving away and taking jobs elsewhere?

For example, of the 2008 class from Wichita State University, 70% were employed in Kansas a year later, in 2009. Since then those numbers have dropped every year, landing at only 57% of grads from that class still emplued in the state as of last year.

“The fact that they stay here and then after five years they migrate away, means that we’re probably not addressing what they’re looking for,” said Tony Vizzini of Wichita State.

AP photo

Kansas now has 11 reported cases of Zika, reports The Wichita Eagle. In response to the threat, the state has been drawing upon federal dollars to aid in the battle against the virus.

To date, Kansas has received about $1.2 million to fight the virus, which can cause birth defects when it infects pregnant women.

Mike Hutmacher / The Wichita Eagle

Kansas schools are among the best in the country, reports The Wichita Eagle. But The Sunflower State ought to have a look over its shoulder, as other states are gaining ground and Kansas may be slipping.

According to a new education report card by the Kansas Association of School Boards, there are signs the state’s ranking could soon fall.

Kansas Hospital Association

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s tax plan for hospitals has come under fire from a prominent member of the Kansas health community.

Rural Blog

Nearly half of the counties in the United States lack an obstetrician or gynecologist, reports The Rural Blog. Most of these counties are rural.

Wichita Eagle

After a year of frustrations, Kansas educators have cause to celebrate. On the ACT college entrance exam, Kansas high school students continue to score better than their peers in most other states.

mxmstryo / Flickr Creative Commons

The system for catching dangerous pathogens in America’s food supply appears to be working, according to QZ.com.

youtube.com

A recent complaint filed with the NAACP alleges that Kansas community colleges discriminate against minority students, reports The Lawrence Journal-World.

Colleges in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference still use a recruitment rule that was adopted during the segregation era. The rule limits community colleges to 20 out-of-state players on their football teams and eight on their basketball rosters.

KOCO

Oklahoma is struggling with a drastic teacher shortage, reports KOCO.

According to a recent survey Oklahoma districts have eliminated over 1,500 teaching positions since last school year. The state has also gotten rid of almost 1,400 school support positions. This amounts to a total of almost 3,000 education jobs lost in Oklahoma this year.

Last year, as a result of state budget cuts, Oklahoma school districts eliminated more than 2,000 positions.

Huffington Post

Yesterday HPPR reported on how pregnancy-related deaths in Texas doubled in the year after the state cut funding to women’s health programs. Now, as the Huffington Post reports, Texas is just an extreme snapshot of the United States’ bigger maternal mortality problem.

Illusive Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Five years ago Texas slashed funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s health programs. That same year, a new study shows, the state experienced a sudden and dramatic spike in pregnancy-related deaths.

Tom Fox / Dallas Morning News

Oklahoma’s teachers are increasingly deciding to make the move to Texas, reports The Dallas Morning-News.

The teachers are being drawn away by better pay and a more appealing retirement system. For teachers from the two states, the differences are stark. Starting pay in most Oklahoma districts is just over $30,000. In several Dallas-area districts, the pay starts at over $50,000.

Rural Blog

In rural counties across the U.S., the number of women being incarcerated has significantly increased in recent years, according to The Rural Blog. Four out of five of those inmates are being imprisoned for nonviolent crimes.

NBC11news.com

Colorado has a proposed single-payer health plan on the ballot in November. Amendment 69 would create a state-run health-care system, funded both by taxes and by transferring money out of various federal programs.

As KDVR reports, the money would go directly into the coffers of ColoradoCare, the state’s health program. The government-run health insurer would be the first of its kind in the country. The proposal is expected to cost more than $30 billion.

David Pike / Valley Morning Star/AP

Private prisons are less safe and secure than Federal prisons, according to a new report by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

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