Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PROACT tapped for Omaha mop-up

PROACT Search will lead the  "let's try this again"  search for a superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, and the firm's recent work for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was a selling point,  the Omaha World-Herald reports.

The first time around,  Omaha chose Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates over PROACT.

"That search led to the hiring of Nancy Sebring, then superintendent of the Des Moines Public Schools. She resigned from the Omaha job last month after sexually explicit emails that she sent from her work account became public,"  reporter Jonathan Braden writes.  (Read a previous post about the explicit emails here.)

Meanwhile,  PROACT helped the CMS board hire Heath Morrison,  the reigning national superintendent of the year,  from Reno, Nev.   CEO Gary Solomon was quoted as calling that placement  "a tremendous success."

Solomon told the World-Herald his firm puts applicants through "an extensive reference and background process,"  though the article didn't address whether PROACT reviews emails that are public record.  Sebring was tripped up when newspapers in Omaha and Des Moines requested her emails related to the job change,  which also contained extensive references to her affair with a married man.

On another topic,  I'm curious what people are thinking and hearing about Morrison's new appointments.

I'm most intrigued by Frank Barnes, who takes over testing and data for CMS after doing the same for Boston Public Schools.  CMS has some mop-up of its own to do on that front,  after extensive errors were revealed in last year's school progress reports.

Barnes comes with an impressive background,  including two degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and work with the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.  The bio provided by CMS says he devised an index to measure school performance and led the district's strategy to reform struggling schools.  (Read the CMS bios of Morrison's management team here.)

I couldn't find details at the Boston website,  but did find the superintendent's  "Acceleration Agenda,"  which lays out the vision for data use and school reforms.  It called for Boston to launch school progress reports in fall 2010; here's an example of one.  Barnes is in the midst of a big transition,  but I hope to catch up to him soon to learn more.


Anonymous said...

Cabinet Members:
8 men
- 4 White
- 4 African American
9 women
- 6 White
- 3 African American

Wiley Coyote said...

If Barnes had anything to do with the Boston Opportunity Agenda, then already he gets a no vote from me.

Anonymous said...

Interesting the slant on Harvard degrees Ann. If a common classroom teacher has multiple degrees from a nationally known university then there's no pay increase for five years and no denim in the summer cleaning the classroom. Same double/triple standards.

Anonymous said...

Heath filled out his Kojo card early on in his 3 year term. I think we should trade Ericka or Mary to Omaha for say a few used air conditioning units. Its time to get creative folks and the recent hires plus new positions created look like a plan. If CMS is going to become CMS/LIFT its started out well. Problem is what happens when all the other races go march in Raleigh with demands? This is closer to happening than some may think.

Anonymous said...

It's good that the Acceleration agenda included 1st grade goals. CMS has never had any goals until 3rd grade.

Bill Stevens said...

I am willing to see what has happened after the first year before I decide to support or not these types of changes. However Mr Barnes IMHO, has a tough job to prove himself with what we had already learned about the effort at Boston Public Schools, these 2 degrees from Harvard School of Edcation and this project at Brown University.

I look forward to his first presentation to the school board.

Clearly what we have been missing with all the data CMS collects is the analysis where we the taxpayers begin losing our bang for our buck. CMS started posting numbers to discover this 2 years ago but no one is willing to talk about it.

Some good discussion came out of Ann's blog about an ombudsman(?) the last day or two. But I think the more effectove use of tax dollars would be for the BOCC to create a commission to better understand CMS from a budget, policy, adminstration, and effectiveness perspective. Maybe this could be a commmission also funded by the City of Charlotte since CMS seems to be the weak link in business recruting efforts. I know the city looks to chest thump when they land a big company here but typically these companies do not have a need to employ Charlotte's "undereducated". And most of the relocation packages have private school tuition included as well as most do not move to this city or county or even this state.

Anonymous said...

Bill , Look at the fastest growing County in this area YORK County in SC. The Fort Mill area is booming and many major companies have left Mecklenburg in the last 5 years. They get education and have learned from CMS what not to do. Of course they have some advantages by learning especially when it comes to school locations. A child that carries a B average goes to in state college for free. I know of hundreds of people who moved for basic principals like that and the fact their tax bill is about half of Mecklenburg. If our City Council / BOCC really cared they would develop the work tax I have talked about for the last decade so Mecklenburg would not be a door matt any further. Imagine we would never have to debate or complain about not enough money for education or roads. Why even a baseball stadium with beautiful lights could be built without our tax dollars.We could hire teachers and open schools again. Why CMS could even treat those folks a little nicer. This is done in alot of "world class" cites in the US today. Then we could really thump our chest when corporations move to the "great state of Mecklenburg". Keith W. Hurley

Bill Stevens said...

Come on Keith, a work tax?

This is my biggest complaint about government these days. They deliberately create win-lose situations and people vote with their feet, the way it should be. And now you propose to extend the hand of government and punish them even more?

You see, the BOCC and CMS think they can lead a horse to water and make it drink. You simply can not. And they still refuse to abandon this mistake and they let the thirsty keep going thirsty while water simply falls on the ground for those they think should be in line first. More money going into CMS is not going to fix their issues.

It is time for self selection to be embraced and rewarded.

I have been looking at past CMS data and it seems these urban schools exhaust gains in achievement at about $6600 to $7000 per student. A far cry from the $8k to $11K they are getting. On top of that, you have a school board that thinks it is fair to destroy the top middle school in NC in trade for closing failing and underfilled urban schools. The value system is gone.

Anonymous said...

Bill I agree with you on the "value system lost". I also agree that money or taxes are not the answer to all evils. I also think we as a community are too dependant on the state when it comes to education funds. Basically we here " we get what they budget and we never know until they tell us" every single year. My option is okay lets step up and create funds that we should be getting anyhow. As a Meck county resident and state working tax payer why do I want my city Council to give a Banana Co. 20 plus million to relocate so the employees can buy homes in Ft. Mill? I get the job aspect and all that , but too a point its going to take 20 years to break even on that. We have people in Charlotte making millions annually and refuse to live in the county on principal. Yet these very same folks use our infrastructure daily for free. I paid a work tax when I lived in Long Island and commuted to NYC in the 80's. When that state wants a school built or changes made they write checks not raise taxes. They get it and if folks commuting to Charlotte want to avoid the tax then buy a house or rent on our County. share the burden of the poor decisions that have been made over the years. I am of the school no more excuses just make it happen. The problem with CMS I see is its all about excuses and not enough roll em up and figure it out. Keith W. Hurley

Wiley Coyote said...


Living off government is the new value system.

Just ask people who are on entitlements, they will tell you.

The Democrat party has them right where they want them, which equals votes.

Obama's Stimulus Crack was a prime example of this, with CMS buying into it.

"Oh we saved jobs, teaching jobs"... Well, where did all that money go after it ran out? Why was Gorman trying to close a $100 million dollar funding gap, part of which is directly attributable to the Stimulus Crack Money that ran out?

The state and county wound up having a better year than they projected but at the time, Gorman had no idea that would be the case.

The more people become dependent on government and government encourages then to do so, the farther down the sewer this country will go.

Anonymous said...

Wiley- Well put ! Keith W. Hurley

Bill Stevens said...

Keith, public education is a state constitutional defined right. The problem we have had is what then defines that the state has done its rightful duty. Thus has been the Leandro case in this state. CMS spent millions of dollars shoehorning its way into that same definition the eastern counties used. You see where that got us? Number 114 out of 115 in getting state funds per student. While other counties are getting $10k to $13k, we are getting $4700 or so. I posted the numbers yesterday.

In NC, the county only has an obligation to fund for the buildings. And of course that has become too politcal in this community. As to your suggestion that the community take on even more funding burden for schools and such, isn't that is why many northerners moved, especially from the state of NY? And even with that, we Mecklenburg taxpayers already cough up an additional $2048 per student now above the obligation to pay for buildings.

And Wiley, you are right. I have told many people for some time that the problem with this community is a conflict of value systems.

Anonymous said...

Bill, My point was our current local/state leaders make excuses and its most always budgetary. I say no more excuses show the state how we are going to get funding from neighboring states/counties. The system (CMS) is too big and money wont solve all the issues I know. I have seen what our board did by reducing schools while increasing class sizes plus laying off teachers. Thats never a winning equation in any business. I am just trying to fix the issues created by their fumble if you will. I Like many other folks move to the "South" for numerous reasons. CLimate , growth , transportation, family , Job Growth , Industry , Life longevity. Never was education on my radar. I have been in Charlotte over 25 years and came willing to roll up my sleeves to work. Since moving to the area I have "sold" hundreds of other friends/associates to relocate. I have built about 50 homes and created millions of dollars in tax revenue for the county. I am a strong beleiver in public education vs private for my kids for their personal growth. I hate to see the direction CMS has been on over the last few years and view it very poorly. I think it can be fixed , but they have a high mountain of TRUST to climb. I think finally having a "leader" after 18 or so months is a positive step. I am willing to try it and see if Heath goes in the right directions. I think the folks that left were " dead weight" so could be a good thing to move on forward with new blood. (no pun) We will see as I hope the public give the new " cabinet" some breathing room to try new fixes for the issues. Keith W. Hurley

Bill Stevens said...

Keith, look at it from their perspective and the taxpayers' perspective. Public education is always clamoring for more money. The media never sees a tax they did not like.

Look st NC public education results over the last 10 to 20 years. Huge increases in spending per student inflation corrected with not much increased achievement. Look at the last 2 to 3 years in spending decreases. Not much change in student achievement. Most noticeably in the targeted demographics, the achievement did not go down. However in CMS last year, white student achievement went down. Black did not. Hispanic did not. Many on our school board cheer that white student achievement is going down finally after all these years of trying to manipulate that population. That is the only achievement gap closing strategy that is working across the country. Over crowd their schools and classrooms. Threaten their teachers with reassignment to urban schools and watch them leave the system altogether.

Anonymous said...

Bill, its time we as a community step up and take control. Their are efforts being put forth in several districts that will be up for election next year on BOE. Changes can be made and ownership/accountability taken. We really dont need to throw more money at student spending. We need to manage expectations and do a better job with what we have. Its possible if we stop listening to so many corporate outside interests and actually take a concern with students education. If we save our best teachers and staff we have a possible chance. Keith W. Hurley

Bill Stevens said...

Keith while I agreed with you in principle, carrying it out is going to be a challenge. Several districts are set up so there is no chance of "sensible" representation. The BOE and BOCC in the past has been set up for the districts to be split D and R. The premise was then the at large reps would be the controlling political sway.

Until some of the thinking starting to permeate the urban high school students to reject the "ghetto" behavior gets into the NAACP, the community organizers, the preachers and the D politicians, it is going to be uphill.

Ann Doss Helms said...

Bill, finally someone with a name has posted the "white achievement down" theory. PLEASE cite some data and a source. I have not seen that (I don't consider fluctuations of a fraction of a percentage point to be "up" or "down"). From all I've seen, white scores on state exams and NAEP have been consistently high for CMS. And I have never heard a school board member or administrator celebrate a decline in white (or any other group's) achievement.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hurley,
It's way past too late to save our best teachers. When CMS teachers of all races sacrifice to send their kids to private schools, then the conversion to the Broad Urban
Model is complete. Ever wonder why? Ask the retirees over the last three years and you'll get a true idea of the situation.

Anonymous said...

So Mr. Barnes devised an index to study school improvement, etc. Blah blah blah. This says to me that CMS and Dr. Heath are planning on moving forward with pay for performance.

Anonymous said...


With respect, "two degrees from Harvard..." So what. Big deal! We've been told that degrees and experience mean nothing.

I have 2 Bachelor degrees, 2 Master's and a doctorate (heavy in research and statisitcis) from several prestigious universities and years of experience all over the world and I'm still nowhere near what a commiserate amount of degrees would get me in the "real" world.

So why does less than this make Mr. Barnes that special?

J.T. said...

I am very concerned about te narrow views and negatives comments that are written daily about the leadership and organization of CMS. If you all are unhappy with CMS, please find a private or charter school for your to attend.

Wiley Coyote said...

Achievement gap. That elusive pie in the sky Holy Grail educrats and politicians are still hoping to find.

If it was equalized tomorrow, then what?

Current projections show the gap won't be attained for another 15 years, if then.

All the while, we have over 2,000 students per year who don't graduate, so does it really matter what skin color they are?

Anonymous said...

J. T.

Haven't lived here long or maybe you haven't been paying attention.

The negative attitudes and narrow views are WELL earned and highly deserved. Hopefully that can be changed; but can't happen overnight and doesn't look to be a high priority at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Let's see multi degrees including a Ph.d from Harvard might get you on "What Not to Wear" last night.

Anonymous said...


Can you name some names on people who are hooked on government entitlements? Or point me to communities where I can ask real live people who will tell me they enjoy being hooked on entitlements?

We hear all these boogeyman stories about ghetto people buying apple phones and large tv's and jordan sneaks while on aid, but prove to me it's true.

I see you on these boards demanding numbers from others, so can you point me to reputable data that shows this vast majority of Charlotteans who are hooked on entitlements?

I can't believe it's so easy for so many commenting here to agree that government assistance is absolutely the problem without having a shred of data to prove it. A little hypocritical of you all.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 9:38....

All one has to do is watch the evening news to get a topline of what's going on in this country, such as more people going on social security disability than the total number of jobs that have been created over the past three years.

Also, if you've read as many of my posts as you claim, you would have seen data I've posted from school lunch fraud to test scores.

There are more people on government assitance than at anytime in our history.

~ The number of new disability enrollees has climbed 19% faster than the number of jobs created during the sluggish recovery. (Even after accounting for people who left the disability program because they died or aged into retirement, disability ranks have climbed more than 1.1 million in the past three years.)

~ USDA School Lunch Program

$1.5B Improper Payments

~ The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

Forty-three percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.

Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.

Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.

Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

Wiley Coyote said...

Bill, Ann..

Here's my problem with data from CMS.

When looking AYP progress reports and the gaps between the various demographic groups, you always see the gap number, whether it's up or down, but you never see the benchmark between the two. At least in the reports I have seen.

So when you see a +5 gain in a year between Blacks and Whites, what were the prior trends? Did that +5 come as a result of Whites dropping two points that year and Blacks gaining three points? Or did Whites stay the same and Blacks make the full +5 point gain?

Anonymous said...

Wiley, hi there, read this paragraph again...

"I see you on these boards demanding numbers from others, so can you point me to reputable data that shows this vast majority of Charlotteans who are hooked on entitlements?"

Who are the people soaking up entitlements in Charlotte that is bringing CMS down.

You can repeat the continued bit about FRL fraud which may or may not be as widespread as you claim in Charlotte (proof?). But give concrete evidence of people living in Charlotte who are proud to be living off entitlements and then correlate the entitlement abuse with poor public schools and CMS specifically.

Ironic that so many of you preach personal responsibility and get the government out of my life but have to butt your noses into the lives of poor people because how dare they save some money for a television and cell phone and call themselves poor.


Bill Stevens said...

Ann, it is difficult to post those results in this blog. I may have to create my own blog like Rhonda did so I can post those things with supporting spreadsheets, charts, etc. The secret to doing such is being able to look at trends which usual public education reporting does not address. For example, if you look at several years one school system group's achievement and it is rather flat and then it starts to inch down but other groups do not, you have to wonder if the deliberate budget strangling is beginning to take its toll on these children. It would not be so insulting except the others are having all sorts of money thrown at them and it is simply allowed to fly away wasted. It is like trying to get someone to drink from a firehose and all they want to do is sip once a day. And everyone seems to be fine letting that tax money go wasted.

So in summary, over the last 3 years, waiting on this year's, I have looked at state results over Wake County results, over CMS, over Guilford county and others, the only group that went down was CMS whites. While the downturn is only slight, the previous years are so flat versus all these other comparative groups that continued to climb noticeably.

Ann, you are correct that you will not hear any national press, organizations, etc. speak directly to closing the achievement gap by pulling down the white students. It is the wink wink, nod nod like FRL fraud. Everyone knows it goes on big time yet no one will acknowledge it.

As to 9:38, do like Wiley has done, Larry has done and others that have posted here, go volunteer in these schools and see for yourself. Stand near the office and watch the rush for FRL applications after DSS has already authorized the real truly needy. Watch the kids coming in and out of school. Notice what they wear, their shoes, their cell phones, their jackets, etc. I loved the ones Larry tells about the baby/hoochie momas about the hair done, the nails done but refuse to send their kids to schools with pencil and paper. Keep up. This is a disease and the more it is brought up, the more this group demands to be given and the more people challenge these observations.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 10:32...

I have yet to see any numbers from you or any numbers to refute what I have posted.

The USDA numbers are from THEIR website.

You obviously lack the ability to research it on your own, because if you could, it would take you all of two seconds to find many stories from around the country related to school lunch fraud in many school districts, inclusing CMS.

I can't help that you don't like the down and dirty reality of the data.

That's your problem.

Anonymous said...

Bill, You are on to at least viewing the problems within CMS and others should go work in some schools to witness as well. I know Larry , Wiley and others that have and are knowledgable when speaking to the issues. I volunteer and sit on SLT group at my kids school its eye opening. For parents who want to comment or critque CMS you should certainly step up and get involved. Their is no harm in supporting public education and you can reach some as role models for future leadership. Help the problem dont just throw dirt on it. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Bill, I attribute some of the grades going down to the HIGH number of white children leaving CMS. I know alot of my kids friends have left and these are high achievers as students. The reason many have left is lack of trust, poor management , lack of communication from downtown , closed schools , over testing , program changes , over crowded classrooms and lack of life skill being taught. I called this out a year ago when CMS came up with flat overall numbers meaning no gain. This was Gormans last result period and I assume Corbitz compiled the data. We all know that can be called into question now I guess. Keith W. Hurley

Wiley Coyote said...


We can get into the virtues of volunteerism but I believe it comes down to a personal choice to do so.

To not volunteer doesn't diminish or make someones opinions count less.

When my son was in school, we volunteered with various functions during and after school.

CMS had 70,273 volunteers last year.

We thank you for being one of them.

Anonymous said...

Hello again Wiley,

Over the last few years, I've met about a dozen parents that qualify as poor, most on entitlements. Not one of them think entitlements are their meal tickets. They use it because they need it. No more no less.

That is a small sample size, but not one is happy to be on the dole.

Oh, you got defensive and tried changing the focus to who am I, so since you asked I've volunteered in various schools for the last 20 years. Mostly in suburban schools but more urban the last few years.

In my experience I've seen more not-poor parents send their kids to school without paper, pencils and supplies than poor parents. I've seen more not-poor parents disrespect staff than poor parents.

My opinion then is poor parents and entitlements do not have near the effect that you all are claiming.

Lazy parenting has very discernible effects on CMS troubles.

To that end my questions remain.

What proof is there that Charlotte parents on entitlements are thrilled to be hooked on government?

What proof is there that Charlotte parents on entitlements are causing the decrease in quality in CMS?

I'm troubled that so many on these boards find it so easy to use this excuse but cannot give us specific examples that it is truly so.

I've seen just as many parenting problems in suburban schools as I do in urban schools.


Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 5:39...

I changed no "focus" and could care less who you are.

Bill Stevens said...

DJ, what you see is the infection of this disease. Once it got rooted, unless aggressively treated, it spreads and consumes all unsuspecting. The disease is the reliance on government when you are not having to suffer the consequences of bad decisions or unwillingness to carry on with your responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

The presumption is CMS is flailing because too many students have parents who are hooked on government. I'm calling BS on that.

I think CMS is flailing due to bad parenting from all income levels. Pick 10 teachers from suburban and urban schools and they'll tell the same issues with disrespectful parents.

Why is it we feel sorry for the suburban parents because their schools don't get more money and we tell them to flee the city, go elsewhere, don't stay here, we suck we suck. But we blame the urban parents for bad schools because we presume they're addicted to government.

What study shows that urban parents in Charlotte are addicted to government and cause bad schools?

That is all I am asking. If there is such a study, then I will admit my mistake and change my tune.

So someone, anyone, help me out, point me to a study or a collection of data that says definitively CMS is in bad shape because of the government.


Anonymous said...

Have at it DJ. The actual case is that urban public education in the US not only CMS is in trouble.

Secondly, the CMS suburban parents are more frustrated with the situation because of the incredible sacrifices they have been forced to make with overcrowded schools, Torrence Creek ES, North Meck HS, etc., overcrowded classrooms, being forced to pay for tutors because the teacher has not time for 50+ kids, and under constant treat of being called racists if anything is said contrary to the liberal school board supported by the CO for character assassination, etc.

Anonymous said...

Keep adding books like Uncle Sam's Plantation, etc.

Anonymous said...

Fact: Control for poverty and US performance on the NAEP tests are in line with the top countries in the world.

Fact: The US schools more poverty students than almost any other 1st world nation on the planet.

Neither of these facts explains anything about CMS specifically. The studies you guys list do not specifically address CMS. We have a local problem. Almost all the commenters on this page believe CMS is in bad shape because of government addiction.

How do they know this? Does Moynihan's book from '65 state that CMS is in trouble because of the government? Does Geoffrey Canada say CMS is in trouble because of government?

Has anyone in Charlotte, the Civitas crew or other places written a study that conclusively proves that government addiction and not bad parenting causes poor schools.


Anonymous said...

10:11PM, I'm saying suburban parents are bad parents at the same proportion as urban parents. I know suburban parents who treat faculty like dirt, who's children never commit any wrongs, etc.

Is their behavior excused because CMS spends less per students? Is it okay for suburban parents to send their kids to school without pencils and paper, but with cell phones but not urban parents?

Maybe bad parenting is the root cause of CMS troubles and not government addiction.


Anonymous said...

Thank you DJ! It is time to admit that bad parenting is taking place in all sectors of society. It affects children in all schools. As i said, we must admit that not all children are performing well in low poverty schools and not all children are performing poorly in high poverty schools.

Once again it is time to clarify why there are differences in per pupil allocations. There are high concentrations of EC children in high poverty schools so more federal money is sent specifically for those students. Add in Title I - XII federal monies and you account for the some more of the difference. Also CMS adds in teacher salaries in their calculations which will cause differences due to years of experience and advanced degrees.

Peter Gorman's legacy will be that he turned this community into a battleground by misleading suburban parents and others with that return on investment presentation so he could justify closing schools.

Stop drinking his koolaid or change the zoning and EC placement so those federal dollars can be distributed equally across the district.

Anonymous said...

CMS does the misappropriation of federal dollars. CMS bundles up all the federal dollars most all CMS schools get and funnels them into this subset of schools. There is nothing that can not be fixed in CMS once you clean house uptown and eliminatedmost of the educrats and thier silver bullet programs.

Anonymous said...

6:20 AM--This community was a battleground well before Peter Gorman arrived on the scene. Activist groups (like Swann Fellowship), Observer editorial writers, certain school board members (Arthur Griffin, Louise Woods, Dr. Rembert to name a few), etc. all cultivated the idea that suburban parents were racist for wanting their children to attend schools close to home. That idea continues to be entrenched in the minds of many of the "old guard" of Charlotte (whose grandchildren are probably safely ensconced in private schools) and elite "community builders", many of whom have creative excuses for why their children do not attend public schools.

In the late 90's and early 2000's the public was continually told by the above mentioned that suburban schools were much more generously funded than more urban schools (which we now know was not true)--and no one bothered to accurately explain why new schools needed to be built in the suburbs (because that's where the population growth was yet few schools had been built in the 'burbs over the years). The preferred line was that the selfish suburbs were getting it all (favorite claim of editorial writers Mary Newsom and Fannie Flono).

We have been paying the price for the divisive and dishonest rhetoric of the past. And I'm afraid we are going to continue to pay that price for many years to come.

Wiley Coyote said...

Health & Human Services just announced they will give states waivers to not enforce the work requirement of Clinton's Personal Responsibility Act of 1996 that required welfare recipients to help pay for their welfare benefits.......

How exactly the HHS change will play out is unclear. In Thursday's policy directive, the department said the states may seek a waiver from the work component of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, in order to "test alternative and innovative strategies, policies and procedures that are designed to improve employment outcomes for needy families."

HHS stressed that any alternative should still aim to get welfare recipients into gainful employment. Any plan that "appears substantially likely to reduce access to assistance or employment for needy families," will not be approved, the memo said.

But HHS is suddenly allowing for more flexibility in a program known -- and in many circles, lauded -- for its rigid framework. Currently, states have to have 50 percent of their caseload meet certain work participation requirements, though there are ways around that as many states fall short.

The food stamp rolls have swelled since the recession, growing roughly 40 percent since 2009. As of April, more than 46 million people were in the program, which costs $80 billion a year. Yet the USDA is engaged in an ongoing ad campaign to convince those not on food stamps -- but still technically eligible -- to let down their pride and sign up.

Wiley Coyote said...

UPDATE: The Dept. of Agriculture moved Friday to 'cease future production' of controversial ads encouraging people to go on food stamps, following media attention over a 10-part series of Spanish language 'novelas' criticized as an 'aggressive' campaign to grow enrollment.