Expanding the Safety Net

An editorial in yesterday’s Oklahoman notes how the worsening economy is having a growing impact on schools as children and families grapple with problems ranging from food insecurity to purchasing school uniforms to homelessness. The Oklahoman concludes:

Schools and children could benefit from more take-home food programs via food banks, counselors, after-school programs, and funding for other potential supports in and out of schools to keep children healthy, safe and learning until their family finances improve.

The editorial does not note that the economic stimulus package includes a variety of measures aimed at helping schools address rising needs and declining state and local resources, from overall increases for Title I funding and the state fiscal stabilization fund designed to avert cuts in school budgets to specific funding to serve homeless students and upgrade equipment for school nutrition programs (see our budget brief on the stimulus bill). But the editorial is right on point in reminding us that all of us, government, community providers, individuals and families alike, will have to step up to keep children safe, healthy, and ready-to-learn.


Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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