First Lady Michelle Obama, flanked by enlargements of a proposed nutrition label and a proposed alternate label, speaks about helping parents and other consumers make healthier choices as part of her Let’s Move program. The Obama administration is proposing new food labels that would make it easier to know about calories and added sugars, a reflection of the shifting science behind nutrition.
First Lady Michelle Obama talks about heathy snacks with children at a La Petite Academy child care center in Bowie, Maryland
President Obama makes the thumbs up sign as he ends a speech about his ConnectED goal of connecting 99% of students to next generation broadband and wireless technology within five years, Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Md
Today, President Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland to announce major progress on the ConnectED initiative, designed to enrich K-12 education for every student in America. ConnectED empowers teachers with the best technology and the training to make the most of it, and empowers students through individualized learning and rich, digital content.
Preparing America’s students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with countries around the world relies increasingly on interactive, personalized learning experiences driven by new technology. Yet fewer than 30% of America’s schools have the broadband they need to connect to today’s technology. Under ConnectED, however, 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. That connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income.
As the President announced today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will invest $2 billion over the next two years to dramatically expand high-speed Internet connectivity for America’s schools and libraries — connecting more than 20 million students to next-generation broadband and wireless. He also announced that private-sector companies have committed more than $750 million to deliver cutting-edge technologies to classrooms, including:
Apple, which will donate $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products, along with content and professional development tools to enrich learning in disadvantaged U.S. schools
AT&T, which pledged more than $100 million to give middle school students free Internet connectivity for educational devices over their wireless network for three years
Autodesk, which pledged to make their 3D design program “Design the Future” available for free in every secondary school in the U.S. — more than $250 million in value
Microsoft, which will launch a substantial affordability program open to all U.S. public schools by deeply discounting the price of its Windows operating system, which will decrease the price of Windows-based devices
O’Reilly Media, which is partnering with Safari Books Online to make more than $100 million in educational content and tools available for free to every school in the U.S.
Sprint, which will offer free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, valued at $100 million
Verizon, which announced a multi-year program to support ConnectED through up to $100 million in cash and in-kind commitments
President Obama visits Buck Lodge Middle School
Dotster: President Obama’s announcements today are so important in bringing opportunity and advantage to all. I know my Ct. grandkids’ school has provided ipads to all students for 2 or 3 years now. It’s a great neighborhood school with kids from all backgrounds due to participation in a successful bussing program from the inner city. I’m not sure of the details, but I know they have a real aggressive PTO which went after grants and donations from the business community for funding for the ipads and other innovative programs. Similar advantages at the very diverse h.s. where my daughter teaches in Indy which has state of the art everything. Eli Lilly there and other corporate donors have also figured out that an educated, successful community is good for them, good for all. A win-win. It is very encouraging that this kind of opportunity will now be more widely available——it will indeed make a huge difference. Good to see the corp. community stepping up, doing some good for a nice change.
The ConnectED initiative will, within five years, connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age through next-generation broadband and high-speed wireless in their schools and libraries. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon are already providing their support, collectively pledging to connect more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students by the end of 2015.
ConnectED will also provide better broadband access for students in rural areas, by expanding successful efforts to connect parts of the country that typically have trouble attracting investment in broadband infrastructure.
Our teachers are being asked to do more than ever, and they need to be equipped with better tools to help them succeed. Fortunately, technology can play a central role in this.
For example, new digital education tools that allow for real-time assessments of student learning, provide more immediate feedback to drive professional development, and enable the creation of interactive online lessons can empower teachers to understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses and design lessons and activities that better meet their needs.
The ConnectED initiative invests in improving the skills of teachers, ensuring that every educator in America receives support and training in using education technology tools that can improve student learning.
Additionally, ConnectED will lead to new resources for teachers from any school, at any time, to open their classrooms to interactive demonstrations, lessons from world-renowned experts, or the opportunity to build learning communities and to collaborate with other educators across the country or world.
Encouraging private-sector innovation
Educational devices supported by high-speed networks are the portal to the world of online learning and interactive content, to personalized education software that adapts to students’ needs, and to breakthrough advances in assessing understanding and mastery.
These devices give students access to more rigorous and engaging classes, new learning resources, rich visualizations of complex concepts, and instruction in any foreign language. They also give students more opportunities to work at their own speed and receive additional one-on-one help they need to develop their knowledge and skills.
Leading technology companies are capable of producing feature-rich educational devices that are price-competitive with basic textbooks. And a robust market in educational software can unlock the full educational potential of broadband investment, while creating American jobs and export opportunities in a global education marketplace of more than $1 trillion.
President Obama greets a member of the audience during a visit to Buck Lodge Middle School
James Richardson, principal of Buck Lodge Middle School, celebrates with his students and teachers after President Barack Obama spoke at their school
Millions of Americans will begin receiving health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Starting Wednesday, health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and cannot charge higher premiums to women than to men for the same coverage. In most cases, insurers must provide a standard set of benefits prescribed by federal law and regulations. And they cannot set dollar limits on what they spend on “essential health benefits” for a policyholder.
“I feel a huge sense of relief,” said Katie R. Norvell, 33, a music therapist in St. Louis, who has been uninsured for three and a half years and has a pre-existing gynecological condition, endometriosis. She signed up Dec. 22 for a midlevel silver plan offered by Coventry Health Care, owned by Aetna, and has already begun making doctor’s appointments. “With coverage,” she said, “I can be my best self. Health insurance won’t control my job choices.”
Thousands of immigrants living here without legal permission will start the new year demonstrating skills in parallel parking and two-point turns in hopes of becoming licensed drivers in Maryland. Maryland joins a handful of states on Jan. 1 that issue so-called “second-tier” licenses that allow immigrants who do not have full legal documentation to drive on Maryland roads, register cars and obtain insurance. The licenses will not suffice as federal identification. Nearly 13,000 immigrants have signed up to take driving tests in the coming weeks, according to state officials.
Advocacy groups hail the licensing process as a step toward self-sufficiency for many and as a means to promote safety because drivers must know the rules of the road and can get insurance. Many immigrants, though, say the ability to get a license will make their lives easier. Armando Tema, an immigrant from Guatemala who lives in Baltimore, has marked his calendar for Jan. 9, when he has his appointment with the Motor Vehicle Administration. He’s a cook at a restaurant in Catonsville and said with a license, he’ll no longer have to rely on the bus for transportation. He said he was beaten and robbed a couple of years ago while waiting for a bus.
Adam Peterson’s life is about to change. For the first time in years, he is planning to do things he could not have imagined. He intends to have surgery to remove his gallbladder, an operation he needs to avoid another trip to the emergency room. And he’s looking forward to running a marathon in mid-January along the California coast without constant anxiety about what might happen if he gets injured. These plans are possible, says Peterson, who turned 50 this year and co-manages a financial services firm in Champaign, Ill., because of a piece of plastic the size of a credit card that arrived in the mail the other day: a health insurance card.
Now, Ray is covered. Used to be, he had to stretch his leukemia medicine in case he became uninsured. ofa.bo/hR#TBT#ThisIsWhy
Peterson is among the millions of uninsured Americans who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that launched far-reaching changes to the U.S. health-care system and is President Obama’s premier domestic achievement. Getting Americans health insurance is at the heart of the health law, the most significant change in health-care policy since the 1965 creation of Medicare, the federal program for the elderly, and Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled. Such a dramatic expansion in coverage had eluded presidents, including Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Bill Clinton, for decades.
Emily Wright has been worrying about the mole on her back. The suspicious mole is on a mental list of “little things” that Wright, 28, of Johnson City, Tenn., said she wants to get checked out. Recurring joint pain in a foot and knee are also on the list. So are her frequently swollen glands. Wright also needs surgery for endometriosis, a painful gynecological condition that has already required her to have two operations. Constant pain makes it difficult for her to work delivering pizzas and attend East Tennessee State University, where she hopes to get a history degree in May. Enrolling through the federal exchange, she qualified for a federal subsidy and picked a top-tier plan that will cost her $125 a month. The soonest appointment she could get with an obstetrics-gynecology practice, the first step before surgery, is Jan. 17. “I am excited. I am ready,” she said. “It feels like the light at the end of the long dark tunnel.”
Brian Beutler: GOP’s 2014 Horror Strategy: Exploit American’s Misfortune, Drum Up Fake Outrage
A quick look at the House and Senate vote calendars indicates that Congress did not in fact come back into session over the holidays to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means that as of today (depending on how you count it) millions and millions of people who were previously uninsured now have comprehensive healthcare coverage. There’s the 3-or-so million young adults under 26 who have been covered under their parents plans for a couple of years now, about 4 million new Medicaid beneficiaries, and some large percentage of the 2 million who have enrolled in a private plan via Healthcare.gov or one of 14 state-based insurance exchanges and submitted their first premium payment.
Their benefits are now active, which means proponents of repealing the law have a severe entropy problem on their hands. Just like you can’t re-create an erased image by unshaking an Etch-A-Sketch, you can no longer re-create the pre-Obamacare status quo by repealing the law. After spending three months effusing sympathy for people who’ve had their insurance plans canceled, Republicans can’t really continue to support repeal while ignoring the (2 million? 6 million? 9 million?) who would lose their coverage as a result. But the GOP lacks a consensus replacement for Obamacare, and the plans that caucuses within the party do support don’t do anything for the new beneficiaries, and fall well short of Obamacare’s coverage expansion in the long run. They’ve walked into a cul-de-sac planting mines behind themselves along the way.
It is amazing to witness the sheer depths of rage, denial and disgust many people experience as they see millions of people gaining access to affordable health care for the first time. After an expected surge of sign-ups in late December, just over 2.1 million people have purchased ACA-compliant health care policies through the federal and state health care exchanges. A bit more than half came through the now-mainly-functional healthcare.gov website (which covers 36 states) and the rest came from the 14 states which established their own exchanges. Next there are currently rough 4.3 million people who have been enrolled in Medicaid through Medicaid expansion. Notably, we also know the number of Americans who have been prevented from getting coverage because Republican governors and/or state legislatures who refused to participate in Medicaid expansion. That’s 5 million people.
At least 10 million now have coverage because of Obamacare & number keeps rising. Hoping for failure bad longterm proposition for GOP.
Next there’s a number that’s been in effect for a couple years now and no one seems to want to discuss: roughly 3.1 million young adults under the age of 26 who now remain covered under their parents policies under a key provision of the ACA. This went into effect in September 2010. And the number of covered young adults in that age bracket grew steadily over the next two years. So let’s do some simple math. 2.1M + 4.3M + 3.1M = 9.5 million covered. So how does it get to 10 million? What none of these tabulations take into account are people who bought ACA-compliant policies directly from insurance carriers as opposed to purchasing them from private carriers via the exchanges. A lot of people did this and there was actually an aggressive push to get people to do so while the federal exchange site remained basically dead in the water. There is no tally of this number yet and will require a survey of carriers throughout the country. But I suspect it is certainly in the hundreds of thousands. And thus the round number of 10 million.
Think Progress: Raising The Minimum Wage To $10.10 Could Lift Nearly 5 Million Out Of Poverty
Raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could lift about 4.6 million people out of poverty directly, according to a new study from economist Arindrajit Dube. Longer-term effects could reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by 6.8 million. That wage level “would reduce the poverty rate among Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 by as much as 1.7 percentage points,” Jillian Berman explains in the Huffington Post. Poverty increased by 3.4 percent during the recession, a rate that has not improved since, but a $10.10 wage would erase more than half of that uptick. Dube’s findings come from an analysis of 23 years of data on minimum wage increases as well as a review of previous findings.