Prop Zero
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Smart Ways to Help Kids, But So What?



    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 16: Philadelphia Eagles running back DeSean Jackson with a student at the Children's Health Fund and NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere Youth Football Clinic held at Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School on May 16, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NFL PLAYERS)

    Reading the annual report card on California from the advocacy group Children Now is at once inspiring and deflating.

    Inspiring because the report card is full of smart ideas for making life for better for California children. The best and most ambitious idea is to create a data-system for monitoring the educational and health progress of children from their very early years all the way to college -- in part to see what education and health programs seem to be most helpful.

    Deflating because the state budget is so bad that few of these ideas will be put into place anytime soon, even though many of the proposals are inexpensive -- or even save money in the long term.

    The entire report, with grades on various aspects of the education and health systems, is available here.