TERRE HAUTE —
Life away from the classroom affects a student’s ability to learn.
That point was worth a few extra moments of consideration last week as Vigo County schools opened the 2012-13 year. Educators working in Indiana public schools have experienced intense scrutiny and change as a result of reforms enacted by state officials. Policies governing the operation, funding, and compensation practices inside schools have been overhauled in the name of better learning opportunities for Hoosier children.
Such legislation does not address a particularly influential factor in education — the home life of a student. This community should understand that component of the learning equation better than most others in Indiana.
The Commission on Childhood Poverty, created by state legislators through Public Law 131-2009, met monthly in the latter half of 2011, conducted town forums around Indiana, and produced a comprehensive summary, “Childhood Poverty: Indiana’s Emergency Report and Recommendations.” The commission found that Vigo County had the state’s highest poverty rate for residents under age 18 at 28.7 percent. That’s higher than two of the largest metropolitan areas — Marion County (home of Indianapolis) and Lake County (home of Gary). Another poverty calculation released this month, Kids Count, put Vigo’s rate slightly lower.
Those are statistics, though. Many folks see the numbers and wonder what a 28.7-percent child poverty rate looks like in real life.
Well, here goes …
Those under-privileged children probably live in families without health insurance or child care. The commission calculated that 116,000 Hoosier kids are not covered by health insurance. Also, the No. 1 barrier to steady employment for low-income families in Indiana is a lack of affordable, reliable child care; thus, a parent of small children may be unable to work. Young people living in an unstable housing situation, or even homelessness, also face greater struggles with school work, family conflict, abuse, neglect, mental-health and behavior problems, and physical health issues, according to the commission report. And, yes, there are homeless families in Terre Haute.
Intervention by a community, to help reduce obstacles kids face, makes a difference. The long-term dividends of easing poverty include young adults working in career-oriented jobs, owning homes, avoiding a life of crime, and staying off welfare and other forms of public assistance.
Every step in that effort matters. An encouraging announcement emerged from the Vigo County School Corporation’s rally Monday to kick off the school year. A “food backpack program,” initiated a few years ago at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, will operate corporation-wide in 2012-13. Students will be able to pick up nutritious food each Friday, and carry the items home in their backpacks. Fundraisers within the corporation schools will raise money for the food, which will be purchased through the VCSC food services department.
The potential impact is great. More than half of all Vigo County students receive free or reduced-price lunches, and that percentage has risen steadily in recent years — 46.2 in 2007, 47.8 (2008), 48.9 (2009), 51.5 (2010), 51.6 (2011), and 54 this year. In 2000, 35 percent of Vigo kids received such assistance.
If that extra food — a couple more weekend meals — gives motivation to study to just a handful, a dozen, or maybe a hundred kids, Terre Haute will become a better place for them, and all of us, to live.
Special efforts are needed in Vigo County
TERRE HAUTE —
Life away from the classroom affects a student’s ability to learn.
EDITORIAL: Legal marriages should be honored
An eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.
EDITORIAL: Dysfunctional relationship with schools chief doesn’t bode well for potential Pence presidency
A window to the future may be unfolding in Indiana.
Editorial: The Bennett ‘settlement’
It takes a special kind of arrogance to flout ethics laws in the manner which former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has violated them. Even when he finally admitted his transgressions, he claimed he could have avoided the matter altogether had he just changed the department’s ethics policy before engaging in the troublesome conduct.
In essence, this was the old “mistakes were made” acknowledgment of wrongdoing. And the real mistake to which Bennett admits was apparently not changing the rules before he violated them. This is a truly Nixonian moment.
EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing
It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.
EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible
The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.
Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion
Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.
EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.
Editorial: Texting law serves safety
July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.
EDITORIAL: For kids, an immediate need
If you agree that not much is sadder — and potentially more unsettling to our society — than a child torn from his or her home, here is a way you can make a difference, one kid at a time.
Editorial: A center for the future
The Monday morning “groundbreaking” at the site of the new Vigo Schools Aquatic Center in Voorhees Park was largely ceremonial. It will still be a few weeks before work on the $9.8 million facility actually begins. But that didn’t stop the highly anticipated event from taking place, and it was clear from remarks made by a host of VIPs who took turns at the podium that this project is destined to produce great things.
EDITORIAL: A proud moment for Vigo County
Most people, regardless of their personal opinions or beliefs on the matter, will admit that they knew the day was coming when Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriages would be overturned by a federal judge. It has happened in other states that have encountered the issue.
EDITORIAL: Getting smart about fighting crime
When those “CSI” TV shows began to burst on the scene in 2000, viewers were mesmerized by the flashy scientific and technological methods police labs were using to build cases against criminals.
EDITORIAL: Forging ahead
Life in the digital world has changed drastically for many community institutions. But the Vigo County Public Library, which has navigated various minefields of change in recent years, has shown it can adapt, even improve.
EDITORIAL: More needed from Speaker
Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma did what most people expected he would do in the wake of Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner’s ethics probe.
EDITORIAL: A woman in the House
The twists and turns of politics can produce unpredictable results. Just ask Bionca Gambill.
EDITORIAL: Enticing more students back to campus a worthwhile initiative
Of all of the educational initiatives paraded before Indiana residents in recent years — some ideas worthy, others flops — none seems more timely or more on point than one approved by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education last week.
EDITORIAL: Celebrating local success
It’s always an uplifting occasion when good things happen to good people. And so we join in the celebration of three people who this week achieved a new level of success and recognition for their professional and personal contributions to life in Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley.
EDITORIAL: Shoring up the VA
How America cares for its veterans is indicative of its values as a nation. We’re confident the vast majority of citizens agree that health care for military vets through the country’s network of VA hospitals should meet or exceed common-sense expectations.
Editorial: Playing the Nazi card
There was good news to report from the Indiana Republican Party Convention conducted last weekend in Fort Wayne. The GOP nominated three women to top its general election ballot in November. There isn’t much gender equity in Hoosier politics, so seeing these three rise to the top of the Republican ballot this year is refreshing. But perhaps the best news is that Richard Mourdock, two-term state treasurer and unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, will no longer hold public office at the end of this year.
EDITORIAL: Cleaner environment will help boost city’s image
In Terre Haute, the difference is becoming apparent between responsible stewardship of the environment and a look-the-other-way attitude about dumping harmful materials.
EDITORIAL: Ernie Pyle’s words told a personal story
Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day when Allied Forces led by the United States military invaded France on the beaches at Normandy. It was the crucial turning point of World War II against Nazi Germany. To observe this somber anniversary, we have given this page’s editorial space the past three days to the columns written by Ernie Pyle in the invasion’s aftermath. Pyle filed three columns about D-Day that were circulated widely in American newspapers beginning June 12, 1944. The first appeared Wednesday. The second appeared Thursday. This is the final column.
EDITORIAL: Ernie Pyle walked the beaches of Normandy
NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 16, 1944 — I took a walk along the historic coast of Normandy in the country of France.
It was a lovely day for strolling along the seashore. Men were sleeping on the sand, some of them sleeping forever. Men were floating in the water, but they didn’t know they were in the water, for they were dead.
EDITORIAL: Remembering D-Day — in the words of Ernie Pyle
NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 12, 1944 — Due to a last-minute alteration in the arrangements, I didn’t arrive on the beachhead until the morning after D-day, after our first wave of assault troops had hit the shore. By the time we got here the beaches had been taken and the fighting had moved a couple of miles inland. All that remained on the beach was some sniping and artillery fire, and the occasional startling blast of a mine geysering brown sand into the air. That plus a gigantic and pitiful litter of wreckage along miles of shoreline.
EDITORIAL: Rape, sexual assault demand greater attention
When the facts, figures, commentary and analysis about the devastating impact of rape in our society have been consumed, the daunting, even haunting, question is: What can we do to stop it?
Editorial: GOP takes up marriage battle — again
All eyes will focus on Indiana’s dominant political party next week as it meets to nominate candidates to statewide office for the fall election. But nominating candidates won’t be the item on the Indiana GOP convention’s agenda that garners the most attention. Rather, the public will be watching how delegates handle a proposal to reintroduce the concept of supporting the state’s same-sex marriage ban, which was deleted from the party’s platform during a previous convention.
Editorial: Sycamores march on into NCAA baseball tourney
The traditional academic year at Indiana State University ended earlier this month, so a quieter time has fallen over the Terre Haute campus. But Sycamore pride is swelling this week nonetheless. ISU’s baseball team was selected on Monday to the field of 64 for the 2014 NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Liz Ciancone: Jail? He’ll cross that bridge when he gets to it
Sometimes when I’m feeling as if I’m running on empty, someone will toss me an offbeat idea I would never have been able to dream up on my own. And so it was when a friend brought me a clipping from her hometown newspaper over in Illinois.
Editorial: Never too late for another tradition at the Indy 500
The Indianapolis 500 endures on a unique mix of tradition and change.
Ronn Mott: Always sad when good die young
I think I’ve written or talked about funerals since I came back to Indiana in 1986. I had gone to about six or seven funerals or visitations at that point in time. Since then, I have attended approximately 50 or so of them.
This past week I went to a visitation for Bradley Deetz.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
Another great year on the track
Heavy hearts for nun’s passing
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