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October 8, 2013 / Christian Clansky

American adults test poorly compared to other countries.

It’s never fun to be kicked when we’re already down. But as my 10th grade physics teacher, Dr. Wood, used to say, “Nobody promised you a rose garden, pal.” So here’s some more embarrassing news about the U.S. of A. Compared to other countries, adults in the United States don’t do very well with math. Or literacy. Or problem-solving. Or computer skills. (WaPo, 10/8)

The Americans are “decidedly weaker in numeracy and problem-solving skills than in literacy, and average U.S. scores for all three are below the international average and far behind the scores of top performers like Japan or Finland,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the data collection arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

When it comes to literacy, adults in the U.S. trailed those in 12 countries and only outperformed adults in five others.

Appropriately, Congress is showcasing at least the math and problem-solving deficiencies for the entire world.

SHUTDOWN
– The effects of the shutdown are starting to be felt in our local social sector. In an email to the community, the Latin American Youth Center has announced that it is cutting down to essential operations only and that many staff are being furloughed. (LAYC, 10/8)

The details of this particular financial situation are unclear, though the Post wrote a story over the weekend about organizations that were scheduled to receive federals grants on October 1st, but didn’t. Still, since the government has only been shutdown for one week, this does raise questions about the nonprofit sector’s reliance on the federal government and about emergency preparedness. Are you folks hearing similar stories from other service providers? (WaPo, 10/5)

– One of the initial casualties of the shutdown was the National Head Start Association, which shuttered operations in six states. Houston philanthropists Laura and John Arnold have stepped in and are providing funding to keep Head Start running. (Chronicle, 10/8)

– More than 24,000 furloughed workers have applied for unemployment benefits – though they’ll have to pay them back if they receive retroactive pay. (DCist, 10/8)

WORKFORCE | The District is stuck in a bit of an awkward spot. The city gained national attention as it tried to legislate Wal-Mart and other big stores into providing higher wages – but it has actually lapsed on its own wage promises. City contractors are supposed to get a cost-of-living bump every year thanks to the 2010 Living Wage Act. Except they haven’t, and their negligence has cost workers an estimated $3,000 over the last two years. (WaPo, 10/8)

FOOD
– Late last month, WRAG’s Washington Regional Convergence Partnership convened the Greater Washington Food Policy Council for the first time. Lindsay Smith recaps the event and its importance for our region’s food systems. (Daily, 10/8)

– Eighty percent of the food/beverages endorsed by “superstar athletes” is junk food. This isn’t really surprising, but it’s certainly something to consider if we’re striving for a healthier America. (LAT, 10/7)

COMMUNITY
– Last month, CSC released its annual corporate responsibility progress report. CSC benchmarks its efforts in five areas: environment, clients, employees, community, and governance. Read the press release and report here.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is currently accepting proposals for its 2014 Good Neighbor Grants Program, which offers grants between $10,000 – $35,000 to youth-serving nonprofit organizations in the Greater DC/MD/VA areas. [More info.]

HEALTH | Medicaid Expansion Could Put Burden on Community Clinics (Chronicle, 10/8)


While the upcoming remake of Carrie might be completely and utterly unnecessary (like most remakes), I have to give a huge amount of credit to that marketing team for one of their promotions. It ends up being more comedy than horror, which doesn’t quite work tonally for the product, but this is a great stunt nonetheless. The reactions are priceless. And nearly four million views in 24 hours is quite impressive.

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