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Arkansas

What would it take to be number one?

Every year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation releases the Kids Count Data Book, a comprehensive, 50-state look at child welfare. Arkansas made gains in health coverage and education over the last year, but the child poverty rate went up to 29 percent. Those ups and downs are consistent with national trends, but what would it take for Arkansas to climb all the way up to the top? This document shows the numbers Arkansas would have to reach to meet the U.S. average, and to be number one. For example, 200,000 Arkansas children live in poverty.

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Poverty guidelines are out of date

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Investments in health and education paying off for Arkansas kids

Arkansas made gains in health coverage and education over the last year, but the child poverty rate went up to 29 percent. Those ups and downs are consistent with national trends, according to the 25th edition KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual report on the well-being of our nation's children from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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New report confirms AACF findings on school discipline

The Office of Education Policy (OEP) at the University of Arkansas shared a new report on school discipline with the State Board of Education this morning. The report's findings are similar to those found by AACF last year. Almost three times as many non-white students (10.2 percent) received out-of-school suspension as did white students (just 3.6 percent). It leads one to ask why non-white students are suspended at such a disproportionate rate.   

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Pre-K, not prisons

They've done it again. The legislature provided funding for prisons in this special session. About $6.3 million was funded this time to open 600 prison beds. That's about $10,500 a bed-far more than we pay per student for K-12 or pre-K education. During the fiscal session in February this year lawmakers provided the Departments of Corrections and Community Corrections with just short of $10 million above their budget.  

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Accounting year ends in surplus

June closed out this fiscal year with net general revenues of $539 million for the month (-1.4 percent less than last year) according to this morning's report from the Department of Finance and Administration. The year as a whole saw a similar -0.1 dip in revenues compared to 2013, but remained above forecast by $78.7 million (or 1.6 percent). The $5,022.4 million in net general revenue collections was enough for all budgeted categories to be funded.

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Update: The States and Medicaid Expansion

A quick update on where the debate over Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act stands in some of the states still debating what should be a "no-brainer":

Conservatives vs. Conservatives on Medicaid

With more and more sessions drawing to a close, the latest count shows 15 states that have rejected expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, 20 that have agreed to comply with the law and expand coverage, and the rest still debating expansion. In many states -- including Florida and Ohio -- that debate is playing out in a contentious intramural fight among conservatives themselves. Conservative governors supporting expansion are running into opposition from ideologically opposed lawmakers in their own party, as the political debate over Medicaid increasingly appears to be taking place entirely on one side of the aisle: