There’s something about being a woman……

that is different!

Good and not so good.  Good: we live longer than men apparently.  Bad: we live longer than men.

This matter of additional days, months, or years takes on new meaning in the current federal budget debates.  IF social security payments are cut or do NOT have any cost of living increases available, women will be most disadvantaged as we live longer on less. (Does anyone think the cost of living will not rise in next 10-40 years? If you do, I have a “bridge”…….).  IF Medicare age of eligibility is raised, women will be the ones waiting longer (longest?) for access to health care and that doesn’t even look at the issue of what Medicare will cover in the future.  BECAUSE women remain the primary care givers in our society and BECAUSE society still does not pay women the same salaries for the same work as men, we do not have the equal or adequate social security savings in the first place… either from time off to raise children, responsibilities to tend to elderly parents, or flat out salary discrimination!

Humm, and this tiresome political wrangling over the budget continues to suggest the way to remedy this country’s fiscal problems will fall disproportionately on women.

Indeed, there’s something about being a woman that is different…..and unfair. I wonder if Democrats or Republicans would be focused on this set of ‘solutions’ if the majority of elected officials were women.  I doubt it.

Good news for foster youth…for a change!

It is important that all foster parents and providers service foster youth know that a key provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-296), enacted on 12/13/10, amends a critical provision of the National School Lunch Act (42 USC 1758) to make any foster child eligible, without the necessity of an application, for free school meals. All that a local educational agency need receive is documentation from an appropriate state or local child welfare agency indicating that a child is a foster child under state responsibility or has been placed in a caretaker household by a court. These provisions were effective as of 10/1/10.

In addition to all foster children placed by a child welfare agency being eligible, a child placed by a court into a kinship home or other “caretaker” household would also be eligible.

These provisions are to be implemented now. If you know someone to whom this applies, be sure they are aware of this support.

Laura Boyd, President and CEO of Policy and Performance Consultants, is named to Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame

January 18, 2011

Laura Boyd named to hall of fame

Transcript Staff The Norman Transcript The Norman Transcript Tue Jan 18, 2011, 01:33 AM CST

NORMAN — The Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women will honor the eight newest inductees into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Oklahoma History Center in April.

Former state Rep. Laura Boyd of Norman is among this year’s honorees.

The program will begin at 3 p.m. April 7 in the Chesapeake Event Center followed by a celebratory reception in the Devon Great Hall.

Inductees are Dr. Boyd; Chloe L. Brown, Tulsa; Joy D. Culbreath, Durant; Marcia J. Mitchell and Kathryn L. Taylor, both of Tulsa; Ardina J. Moore of Miami; Dr. Cynthia S. Ross, Lawton; and Helen Harrod Thompson of Ardmore.

Boyd has spent her entire life at the cross section of education, business and society. She has experience from student to professor, from consultant to small business owner, and from political national leadership mentor to elected office holder.

Boyd served as a state representative from Norman’s House District 44 from 1992 to 1998 and became the first woman to receive the nomination from a major political party for the office of Oklahoma governor in 1998. In 2002, she was a nominee for lieutenant governor. She serves as national co-chair of Women’s Business Policy for President Obama.

In addition to her career as a public servant, Boyd has 16 years teaching experience in positions ranging from lecturer to assistant professor at undergraduate and graduate levels. She has a PhD in psychology and an MS in humanist education/counseling; these degrees are augmented by 24 years of private counseling experience.

The mission of the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women is to improve the quality of life for women, families and children in Oklahoma. The commission established the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982 to recognize Oklahoma women who are pioneers in their field or in projects that benefit Oklahoma, who have made a significant contribution to the state of Oklahoma, who serve or have served as role models to other Oklahoma women, who are “unsung heroes” who have made a difference in the lives of Oklahomans or Americans because of their actions, who have championed other women, women’s issues or who have served as public policy advocates for issues important to women.

Ninety-six women have been previously inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame. A complete list of previous inductees can be found at: http://women.library.okstate.edu/hof.

It could have been us…

It could have been us: Oklahoma, Idaho, Alabama, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia…..or any of the 50 states. Any of us could have been the victims of the hatred displayed today in Tucson, Arizona.

Today is an urgent call to come together and re-affirm our republic, our democracy, our way of governing, our respect for those who risk life, family, and fortune to govern.

#1- Vow to speak to and about each other with respectful language and images. We are ALL God’s children regardless of color, politics, geography, faith, gender, or sexual orientation. Each life is precious.

#2- Listen as well as speak.

#3- Know that ultimately we are all dependent on something else for our joy, purpose, and well-being.

#4- Look out for one another: we do not need to confront those with differing opinions who cannot hear us; we should not turn a deaf ear to those who would threaten us; we must be watchful and respectful of one another, both allowing for our differences and taking action to protect others when we have reason to be concerned about the judgment and actions of those who would not allow for peaceful existence and differences.

Today’s tragedy IS a tragedy for all of us. We pray for the wounded, the deceased, their families, and the bystanders in particular. And we pray for the return of civility and respect in our political and personal discourse.

Amen.

Finally: It’s not all the parent’s fault!

Mixed news, but a new study from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health has reviewed a large research set of healthy foods/nutrition selections by young people over a 30 year period and concludes: (no surprise) kids’ diets today are very different and far less healthy than those of their parents and (surprise!) there are many more significant outside influences on kids’ selections that render parents’ influence very weak. Friends, advertising, availability, cheap costs, etc. are more significant than the pleas and instructions from parents, including healthy eating when that is provided at home.

Yet with 17% of youth ages 2-19 obese (according to the CDC), this new ‘perspective’ simply broadens our responsibility to include communities, school cafeterias, vendors, food industriesand government to ensure food literacy for our youth, to make healthy choices more available and affordable, and to inundate advertising toward good decisions concerning nutrition.

No, it’s not all our faults as parents. In fact, we clearly are minor players in this dilemma. However, we must rally, maybe we have to force, the other influential factors in protecting our youth to be more responsible themselves.

No, it’s not my fault. But there is still plenty for me/us to do!

More than 25% of Kids and Teens in the U.S. Take Prescriptions on a Regular Basis

 Are you amazed? I am.  Yes, this includes asthma medications and insulin; however, it also includes hypertensive medications for obese youth, diabetes pills, sleep drugs, and psychotropic medications.  (NYT, Dec. 28, 2010, “So Young and So Many Pills” Anna Mathews)

This is a societal concern in addition to a family concern. Parents are the best monitor of a child’s health and needs, and society must support them in this crucial responsibility: access to quality, available, affordable health care specific for children. Such care is often lacking in communities: large and small, rural and urban.

Over 1/3 of American families are single parent-families. Add to their daily burdens the sole responsibility for monitoring health and emotional needs of their children.

There is a role for each of us to play. We can look out for and support our neighbors; we can volunteer in school, church and community youth activities; we can advocate for our youth and families with policy makers; we can be customers of family-friendly businesses and workplaces.

 Laura

Happy New Year!

New Year’s is typically a serendipitous time for me, and this year is no different. I am so aware of my blessings and good fortune both personally and professionally in 2010. Indeed, the year also had its challenges and ‘twists’ in the road. Ah, life!

2011 promises more of the same: opportunities, success, and challenges.

AND what is not different for 2011 is the needed focus on the youth of our state, country and world and their needs for safety, family, and well-being. To be sure there are days where I wish that quest was ‘archaic’ and a remnant of times past. Most days I am too engaged in addressing those needs to consider much else. So special times, focused times, such as New Year’s are important times to recognize the challenges and to celebrate the opportunities for real change and real promise to America’s youth and families.

We at Policy & Performance need each of you! We need your courage, your experience, your wisdom, and most importantly your voices to join with us in engaging colleagues and leaders, in educating policy makers, and in speaking for children whose voices are not delivered or heard with the importance to which they are entitled: our most VALUED as well as our valuable resource!

Laura

Winding down……

As we approach this exciting time of year filled with family and loved ones and hope for the New Year, I want to take a moment to thank each of you for your interest in America’s families and your work toward a safe, thriving environment for all children.

 

You know better than anyone that speaking for children has always been and may always be an uphill journey. However, without you lives would be wasted, if not lost completely; families would suffer without recognition and hope for change; and the leaders in our communities, states, and nation would be permitted to overlook our biggest obligation to America – our children.

 

I thank you for your participation, your faith and confidence, and your friendship,

 

May you have a blessed Holiday Season and healthy New Year,

 

Laura

 

Holiday Gift for 2011

The President agreed to a 2 %  point reduction in the payroll tax rate next year as part of the tax agreement. The payroll tax cut is intended to benefit more than 155 million workers – and help put people back to work. This tax cut will not affect Social Security.  BUT it is temporary – only one year. Let’s hope Congress approves the negotiated tax plan before recess.