Budget and Policy Priorities

The family is the primary social unit, yet the United States has no broad policy that considers the economic, health, social, and psychological needs of families. Instead, a variety of programs address these needs. Since the early twentieth century, three main programs have assisted with financial difficulties faced by poor families with children. The first was state and local mothers’ aid programs (Tratther, 1998). The states began formalizing laws to help children whose parents lacked the financial means to care for their physical needs.

Local governments often provided the funds for these programs. These programs were intended to help children whose fathers were deceased; sometimes assistance was also provided to children whose fathers were disabled or absent through divorce or desertion. These early programs were called mothers’ aid or mothers’ pensions (Tratther, 1998). As more women with young children have joined the labor force, the argument has been that mothers receiving public assistance should do the same.

Feminist Barbara Ehrenreich calls this line of thinking illogical, arguing that just because it is the trend does not mean it is right (Tratther, 1998). In 1970, the average monthly cash payment to a needy family was $178; by 1992, the average had increased to $388. Using the Consumer Price Index, $178 in 1970 was equivalent to $644 in 1992. How did states decide what to offer in benefits? They generally started out in a rational manner by calculating a standard of need that considered what it would cost families of various sizes to meet basic food, shelter, clothing, and other needs.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found that most common methods of determining need were adoption of the federal government’s poverty guidelines; a “market basket” approach in which living expenses were calculated for the area; and use of Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for a modest standard of living (Tratther, 1998). As social welfare caseloads rose due to divorce, desertion, and especially out-of-wedlock births and the lack of non-custodial fathers paying child support, concerns mounted that social welfare programs needed a major overhaul.

There was a series of attempts to get mothers as well as the few fathers receiving monthly cash payment and pensions to become self-sufficient through work, but none made more than a very modest dent in the program (Tratther, 1998). All in all, family assistance block grants are used to provide cash to families, to help families go to work, and to avert out-of-wedlock pregnancies. The money can be used to encourage parents to establish or maintain two-parent families.

The other block grant is for childcare to help families leave the public assistance rills or avoid receiving public assistance without concern about their children’s supervision. A healthy economy had out some people to work, and some believe that changes that states had made in their programs also contributed to declining rolls. The true tests of the effectiveness of the social programs for motherhood and childhood are yet to come. Advocates for the poor are keeping close tabs and will be reporting to Congress, states, and the public on the outcomes (Tratther, 1998).

Article 26 states that “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. ” American education is in a revolution. School used to be a place of equipping one’s self with all the needed education the parents have enrolled their children for.

Now, the school has been a place where diversities are emphasized and ambitions are validated. There is more to it than a place to construct identity and climb the societal ladder. The role the school plays is decisive, through both the communications within the broader school commune and the strict milieu of the classroom. The school plays a vital role in the development of students’ worldly grasps and morals of the society to which they belong (Eby and Arrowood, 2004).