By Melissa Wuske
Childcare Costs for Student Parents
Nearly 5 million college students in the United States are also parents, including a quarter of all undergraduate students. But balancing school and parenting presents a financial challenge, particularly in regard to paying for childcare. Child Care Aware of America estimates that it can cost up to $17,000 a year to pay for childcare for an infant.
As a result, Barbara Gault, vice president and executive director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, said, “What it comes down to is that college becomes a bit of an impossibility for a low-income parent who needs childcare to go to school.”
Federal aid for childcare is available for low-income parents through the Child Care and Development Block Grant, but state requirements for the funds differ and can present their own hurdles to students. A dozen states require students to work, even up to 20 hours a week, in order to receive childcare funds. A third of all states also have a required number of credits per semester. Additionally 10 states limit the funds to students pursuing less than a bachelor’s degree.
“We need bigger solutions to these problems,” said Gault. “These rules and restrictions in a way just exemplify how little we’re thinking about the educational needs of parents.”
Food Security Via Satellite
A team is launching Africa’s first private satellite—and the team is made of 14 high school girls from Cape Town, South Africa. The satellite will give a better view of what’s happening with agriculture and food security across the continent.
With the information, “We can try to determine and predict the problems Africa will be facing in the future,” said Brittany Bull, a 17-year-old student at Pelican Park High School. The satellite will provide daily monitoring of “where our food is growing, where we can plant more trees and vegetation, and also how we can monitor remote areas,” Bull explained. The program is part of a partnership between South Africa’s Meta Economic Development Organization and Morehead State University in Kentucky.
Teen Sexual Activity & Risky Behaviors
A recent Centers for Disease Control study examined how teens’ sexual behaviors were related to other health behaviors. The results shows that high school students who are virgins are less likely to be engaging in other unhealthy behaviors. For example, they’re 3,300 percent less likely to smoke daily than teens who are sexually active with someone of the opposite sex. There were similar results related to binge drinking, smoking marijuana, riding with a drunk driver, and getting into physical altercations.
In response to the study, Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said, “Our children should know there’s very compelling scientific evidence on so many levels showing how saving the precious gift of their sexuality for the safe harbor of marriage is nothing about old-time moralism or unhealthy sexual repression. Just the opposite is true.”
Background Checks & School Shootings
Injury Prevention journal published the results of a study of 150 school shootings in the United States between 2013 and 2015. The results suggest that states with mandatory background checks for those purchasing guns may have fewer shootings. In the 17 states that require background checks to buy guns, there were 45 percent fewer school shootings during that time. States that also require background checks for purchasing ammunition—Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey—had a lower risk of school shootings by 89 percent.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).