Live Blogging My Call With Katie Couric

Katie CouricI am on a conference call with Katie Couric, discussing kids and the recession:  Children of the Recession.

So far introductions all around.  CBS News is concentrating on how the recession is impacting children. 6:30pm Evening News, and the Early Show.   Go to cbsnews.com to view all of these insightful and important stories launching this week.

In LA abuse and neglect cases on the rise, ER visits are up – is it better reporting or is it a true social crisis?  Most experts say it is a direct increase related to in home stress.

How are kids manifesting the psychological impact of their parents’ stress.  The schools are taking on the job of grocery store, psychologist, office supplies, wardrobe supplier.  Kids know what is going on.  They need to talk about it and be a part of it.  Can kids learn effectively with this kind of stress going on?

This focus by CBS News is really important because there hasn’t been a lot of attention paid to kids and family and the recession.  For example, 20% of families are forgoing medical care or dental care because of the economy.

11:29 am:

Healthcare:  Huge increase in families going to free or mobile clinics who never thought they’d use one, but now they’ve lost their job and/or insurance.

SCHIP medical insurance will only cover about 1/2 the eligible children.

Are small grassroots efforts making a difference?  Safe Families is one example of a small group which has grown to seven cities.  They take in kids on a temporary basis while their parents get on back on their feet.

Would Michelle Obama want to take this up as her mission as First Lady?  In this rescession, if she is focusing on family wouldn’t this be a natural extension?

Tomorrow on the Early Show they are going to be covering how to talk to your kids about the economy.

11:40

What’s your local idea?  What’s going on in your home/school/region?  Do you have a resource you want to share?  Are you in need?

11:45

How is the economy impacting nutrition and grocery shopping?  21% of families are buying more generics and cheaper food.  Are they buying less healthy food?  More fast food?  Or is this an opportunity to get back to healthier eating at home?  More vegetables and fruit?  Duke University says that cheaper food usually means fattier, less healthful food.  Will this also effect school lunch?

11:52

I get a question in!  How about our public schools bearing the brunt of the impact on children?  Record number of Kindergarteners in NYC public schools.  Huge increase in kids leaving private schools for public.  Can the schools be expected to deal with this influx of kids and yet have the same budgets, keep class size down, and not lose what makes a school special – an art room, music, science, etc.  There’s a story there…

Now we’re talking about the other side of fear – shame.  What is the support available for parents?  How can they not be isolated or feel like they personally failed.  Will people be willing to talk about it?

The childcare case workers that are now overwhelmed?  Are there services being provided for them?  Some regions are actuallly cutting these workers because of budget cuts just when more of them are needed.

12:00 pm

Check out the Evening News with Katie Couric for all of these stories.  On cbsnews.com you can find the links and stories and follow the series, Children of the Recession.  Get help, get resources and get involved.

How are Katie Couric and her staff dealing with covering these stories?  She feels like now more than ever this kind of journalism is necessary.  This is the work she is truly proud of.  They are trying to tie it all together with bloggers and local resources and form a plan of action.  In my opinion, this is why network and big journalism is necessary.  Who else can do this?  Who else will relentlessly pursue these issues and tie all of these resources together?  Right now, it’s Katie Couric and CBS News.  So, good for them, good for us.

This is an original beccarama.com post

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Admissions of an Admissions Survivor

Admissions I would like to think that if Dante wrote The Inferno today there would be a special circle of hell just for Kindergarten admissions in NYC.  And within that level there would be a VIP room for those of us with twins.  When I explain the process to friends and family living outside of NYC they look at me like I have 5 heads.  There were times during the process when I felt like I had five heads.  Between both of my daughters they took four IQ tests, for both private and public schools, a “School Readiness Assessment” for more public schools, went on four private school interview/play-dates, and 2 second round playdates at the specialized public schools.  We also entered 2 public school lotteries for the schools within our district that we were not zoned for.  Did I mention that my daughters were 4 years old at the time?

In the end we ended up at the out of zone public school that we most wanted from the beginning. Ironically enough, it is an all gen-ed school meaning that they do not separate out or track the students based on scores.  So, after all that testing what we realized was that we didn’t want our daughters at a school where they would be segregated based on their scores.  Whether we feel this way later on in our daughters’ education life I don’t know.  But, for now, we like the “all one family” vibe at our public school.

Now that my daughters’ kindergarten years are coming to an end,  I realize that the entire admissions process was like planning a wedding.  It is so easy to get caught up in the insanity of the planning, the competition, the scary statistics and rumors swirling around that you lose sight of the end result.  In the case of a wedding you forget that what’s really important is the marriage after, and in the case of admissions its all about the schooling your child will receive.  No matter how much you may have your heart set on one school or another you really have no idea if will be right for your child until you are in the thick of it.

And – take a deep breath here – if it doesn’t work out, you will move your kid.  Yes, its a pain.  Yes, there will be some transitioning and rough spots.  But, that is part of education too.  Not everything works out as we picture it and learning to adjust and shift our expectations isn’t the worst thing in the world.  This year I’ve had the distinct opportunity to compare two very different teachers within the same grade, in the same school.  Having twins gives you this special eye into things.   I can tell you that I am not happy to have the comparison because one of the classes is so much stronger than the other.  Have I lost faith in the school?  No.  Will I give it one more year?  Yes.  And then if it doesn’t work out, if the school I fell in love with was not the right place for one of my daughters, I may sign up all over again to ride on the admissions the roller coaster.  I can feel another head sprouting already…

Original post to New York City Moms Blog.

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