ISSUE 257 | May 16th, 2024

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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News

WIC: Helping Mothers for Five Decades

Pennsylvania introduced the federal program WIC, a support program for at-risk mothers and children that has helped millions, 50 years ago.

The organization serves around 50,000 participants monthly, operating in 17 counties in Northeastern and Southern Pennsylvania.

WIC specializes in access to nutrition for women, infants, and children, but also provides several other means of community and personal support. 

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PA Teacher Shortage Acute in Special Education, Math and in Underserved Communities

Legislators on the House Education Committee met at West Chester University to discuss the teacher shortage, especially in underserved communities and in special education tracks.

According to data gathered in 2023, the teacher attrition rate was six percent, and there was a vacancy rate of over 2,000 positions.

Over 6,500 people are teaching with emergency certificates, prompting the state to address why teaching vacancies are on the rise, and how to successfully represent underserved school districts. 

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Shapiro Administration Awards $3 Million in 2024 Senior Community Grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is awarding Senior Community Centers from 26 counties competitive and additional grants totaling nearly $3 million.

This is part of an ongoing agenda to support senior communities statewide post-pandemic, who need additional accessibility and programing for senior residents.

Lackawanna and Wayne Counties were each awarded grants for local care centers. 

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

1 in 4 Teachers Say AI Tools like ChatGPT Hurt K-12 Education More than Help


1 in 4 public school teachers report that AI tools in K-12 education does more harm for youth learning than good, while only six percent report that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Generative information tools such as ChatGPT have changed the ways in which research, writing, and collaboration happen in a school setting.

Pew Research discusses teachers’ opinions on the use of AI tools for assignments and grading, as well as the overall attitude towards artificial intelligence use in early education. 

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Here's What's Holding Back Medicaid Expansion in Mississippi and Other Southern States


Mississippi is one of ten states that has not expanded Medicaid, which the coverage gap being a major concern.

The coverage gap explains those who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid assistance, but do not qualify for private insurance subsidies, nor can afford out of pocket medical costs.

The coverage gap exists in states that have not yet adapted Medicaid expansion, several being Southern states. 

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Federal Panel Prescribes New Mental Health Strategy to Curb Maternal Deaths 

According to some research, as many as 20 percent of American women are affected by perinatal depression during or after pregnancy, and almost 25 percent are affected by anxiety.

Social stigma, racial and socioeconomic factors, and a lack of a widely deployed mental health program are main reasons for many women going untreated for perinatal depression and anxiety.

The Office on Women’s Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has proposed creating maternity care centers that could serve as support hubs of integrated care for affected women. 

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