HPPR Health, Education & Welfare


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‐state policy‐programs and opportunities‐access & availability


‐state policies‐income levels‐wellness‐quality of life


Two University of Kansas professors recently completed a study on Garden City’s ever-changing demographics and the way educators in the southwest Kansas community teach a diverse population of students.   

Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

Since the election many of us have heard reports of a widespread increase in hate crimes across the United States, with many of the reports coming from rural areas. Quartz.com set out to discover whether there was anything to the purported increase.

The answer is more complicated than it seems.

Rachel Aston / Las Vegas Review Journal

Over the past six years, 76 rural hospitals have closed in America. That’s one and a half per state. That’s left many rural residents without recourse if they’re injured or become seriously ill.

New York Times

This year’s election has brought into stark relief all kinds of divides in America. Red and blue, rural and urban--and college educated versus non-college educated. And it’s grown increasingly clear that when people gain a college degree, they don’t tend to stay in rural areas.

This has led to booming economies on the coasts, in cities like San Diego and Boston. But the so-called “brain-drain” in the heartland was one of the factors that propelled Donald Trump to victory.

Colorado Independent

Starting in January, Democrats will control Colorado’s State Board of Education for the first time in 50 years, reports Chalkbeat.

This is just the latest sign that, as HPPR has reported in the past, the former red state is now trending blue.

Dave Wilson / Flickr Creative Commons/KERA

LGBTQ rights have re-entered the conversation in the Texas Panhandle.

A Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require public school teachers to inform a student’s parents when they learn of a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity, even if that student wants the information to be kept a secret.

Alan Richard / Chalkbeat

Rural Americans were in large part responsible for handing Donald Trump the presidency. But will he do anything to improve rural schools?

Evan Vucci / AP photo/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Proponents of private school vouchers and charter school expansion in Texas may have reason to celebrate once Donald Trump takes office in January.

Trump’s education policy plans mostly remain shrouded in mystery. But, as The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, the president-elect has indicated that one of his first priorities will be to reform what he calls “school choice.”

Senior citizens are a prime target for financial scammers, whether it’s through the Internet or a telephone call.

A 2010 study conducted by infogroup/ORC found that close to 20 percent of elderly Americans, about seven million people, had experienced financial losses from “an inappropriate investment, unreasonably high fees for financial services, or outright fraud.”

Bill Husa / Enterprise-Record

If you’re heading out into the frenzy of Black Friday, here’s some advice from mental health experts, courtesy of The Mercury News.

First of all, if you’re prone to over-shopping, consider visiting actual brick-and-mortar stores rather than shopping online.


Health care advocates in Kansas say they will move forward with legislation that would expand Medicaid in the Sunflower State, despite the election of Donald Trump.

As KCUR reports, the nationwide elections this month may signal an end to Obamacare. And Kansas Medicaid expansion advocates are much less optimistic about the future than they were a month ago. But they’re moving forward anyway.

Rural Blog

Teen birth rates are falling nationwide, reports The Rural Blog.

However, birth rates for teens remain highest in rural parts of the country.

Still, the overall trend is toward fewer teen births across the board. In the last decade, teen birth rates declined by almost 40 percent in rural areas. The decline was even bigger in large cities, where teen birth rates fell by 50 percent.


Oklahoma hunters are being warned to watch out for “rabbit fever,” reports KFOR.

Officials say the bacterial infection could spread across the Sooner State in coming weeks. According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife, there have been two recent confirmed cases of “rabbit fever”—also known as tularemia, as well as several more suspected cases.

Amarillo soon to gain new pediatric specialty facility

Nov 18, 2016

A pediatric specialty facility on the very near horizon will give Texas Panhandle-area families increased access to specialized care.

According to the Amarillo Globe, Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center is receiving a $6 million donation from the Children’s Miracle Network to fund a pediatric specialty facility, which will be located on Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s Amarillo campus.

Allison V. Smith / Texas Tribune

Texas foster youth are struggling to obtain college degrees, according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram­.

The dearth of foster kids heading to college exists despite government programs engineered to help them.

Foster youths are eligible for waived college tuition and education training vouchers as long as they enroll before their 25th birthday. However, eligible students simply aren’t taking advantage of the programs.

Deviation56 / Wikimedia Commons

Last week, Colorado voters approved a measure to allow terminally ill residents to end their life peacefully if they choose to do so. Here, courtesy of The Denver Post, is what you need to know about the new law. Once the law takes effect, terminally ill Colorodans will be able to legally take a life-ending, doctor-prescribed sleep medication.

RJ Sangosti / The Denver Post

Ever since the George W. Bush administration, the nation’s schools have been governed by strict federal laws. Now High Plains educators are wondering what exactly Donald Trump’s election will mean for rural schools.

No one’s sure exactly, though as Chalkbeat reports, leaders hoping for more control over public schools may get their wish.


The federal government is investing $331 million in 85 projects to improve improve water and wastewater infrastructure in the rural U.S.

The Washington Post

Middle-aged white women—especially in rural areas—continue to die at a much faster rate than many other groups.

Rural Blog

In the first years of this century, the number of home-schooled children in America nearly doubled, according to a new report.

From 1999 to 2012 the number of students schooled at home jumped from 850,000 to almost one-and-a-quarter million.

Audra Cornett / CBS NEWS

Many schools in Oklahoma have switched to a four-day school week this year, reports CBS News.

In fact, as many as one on three of Oklahoma’s school districts are now closed on Mondays. Most of those school districts are in rural and poor parts of the state. The closure come in the wake of a 70 percent drop in oil and gas prices, a situation stretching back to 2014.

Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast

It could soon be illegal to teach Creationism in Texas public schools.

Mike Simons / Tulsa World

The debate continues unabated in Oklahoma over State Question 779, which would give the state’s teachers a $5,000 pay raise. To help settle the argument, The Tulsa World investigated what such a raise would mean for Oklahoma’s educators.


The Oklahoma State Board of Education has released its 2016 Report Cards for all public schools in Oklahoma. As KFOR reports, things appear to be sliding downhill.

This year, more schools in Oklahoma received a grade of F than were given an A grade. All told, 213 schools were given an F. That’s 17 more schools than were given an A. Compare that with last year, when more schools received As than Fs.

Party City/Rural Blog

Halloween is one of the most fun holidays for rural kids, but it’s also one of the most dangerous.

According to the childhood safety research group Safe Kids Worldwide, twice as many pedestrian children are hit by passing cars on Halloween than on any other day.

And, as The Rural Blog notes, rural areas often lack sidewalks or adequate street lights, and that can make trick-or-treating a dicey—and even deadly—activity.

Laura Skelding / Houston Chronicle

Reports have come out over the past few months that Texas is denying services to public school students with special needs.

NBC News

The first flu case of the season has been reported in Kansas, and that means flu season is officially underway.

As KSN reports, health officials say the flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and those around you from the flu. Last season, almost a thousand deaths were reported in Kansas due to influenza and pneumonia, a serious complication of influenza.

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Federal officials expect over one million more people to sign up for Obamacare in 2017, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. The feds estimate that almost 14 million people will sign up for coverage. That’s compared with fewer than 13 million this year.

As The Rural Blog notes, the agency estimated that “average monthly enrollment in 2017 is estimated at 11.4 million people, up from 10.5 million people in 2016.”

Rural Blog

Oklahoma is among the top ten in states with the most per capita gun violence, according to a new study by the Center for American Progress.

Shefali Luthra / Kaiser Health News

If you’re a low-income Texas woman, the state might now pay for you to have an IUD put in, reports The Texas Tribune.