New Kids Count report finds that childhood poverty continues to plague our region

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its 2013 Kids Count report, which looks at a wide variety of indicators that measure children’s well-being in the United States. Overall, the nation has more children living in poverty than before the recession. On the bright side, more kids have health insurance, graduation rates are generally up, and a number of health indicators are improving.

Locally, Maryland and Virginia both showed improvements in educational achievement, dropout rates, and graduation rates. The District also improved in academic proficiency, but has had a big spike in truancy. In all jurisdictions, childhood poverty continues to be a huge problem. (WaPo, 6/24)

Here are the detailed local profiles:

Editorial: In light of D.C. Council member David Catania’s recent education proposals, the Washington Post’s editorial board wrote a strong endorsement for Mayor Gray and Chancellor Henderson’s current efforts (WaPo, 6/24):

School reform is a long, hard process. The District is finally moving in the right direction, thanks in part to Mr. Gray’s patient support of Ms. Henderson and her vision. Particularly with a mayoral election next year, it’s crucial that political ego and ambition not interfere.

– Great news! Just kidding, bad news. But it’s Monday and I didn’t want to disappoint you too much. The Atlantic reports on new research that shows that Americans entering the labor force are less educated than those retiring from it. This point is interesting (Atlantic, 6/18):

While robots and iPads may be invading the classroom, there might be something about education we can learn by looking back–about 40 years.

– Trinity Washington’s Patricia McGuire says that encouraging low-income populations to seek higher education is “empty rhetoric” if those populations can’t afford the cost of school. (HuffPo, 6/24)

FOOD | We know that access to healthier food corresponds with better health. But new research finds that increasing access to healthy food in low-income communities can actually provide an economic stimulus. (RWJF, 6/24)

HOUSING | Residents of Reston’s Crescent apartments wary as redevelopment process starts (WaPo, 6/24) Is the woman who is wearing headphones in the article’s picture sticking her tongue out at us?

TRANSIT/LOCAL | For more than 40 years, Henry Docter (aka the Phantom Planter) has been planting flowers in public places to spruce things up. Most recently, he decided to fix up the long-neglected potting beds at the north entrance of the Dupont Circle Metro station. Needless to say, Metro is threatening him with lawsuits and jail time. They claim that their awful behavior is necessary to protect Docter’s safety – even though Docter has offered to wear a safety harness or sign a liability waiver.

The 150 daffodils and tulips that Docter planted are currently dying from heat as this situation plays out. The Post’s Robert McCartney puts it sharply when he says, “If the flowers die, [Metro’s] bureaucrats are going to look even more foolish than they do already.” Is that even possible?

Having a word get stuck on the tip of your tongue is awful – particularly because other people probably think that you are just trying to look smart when you don’t know an answer to something. But the phenomenon is real – and there are interesting theories about it.

If you’re in the mood for some trivia, check out the website The homepage just told me that turtles can breathe through their rear ends.