Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What the AJC Hasn't Printed

Here's what Jim Wooten said recently about the new Kid's Count Data that places Georgia 44th in the nation in overall child wellbeing:

“Georgia is not a family. So to say, as an advocacy group
does with its annual release of a media-bait Kids Count
Data Book, that the state performs poorly in caring for
children is hogwash. If we identify a problem that leads
to the indicators they cite—children in single-parent
families, for example—we may find the solution is not
the state’s. Gimmicks like the Kids Count Data Book
are efforts to raise social spending.”

-Jim Wooten
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gaye Smith, Executive Director of Family Connections Partnership responded, and that response is printed below. Why am I publishing it here? Because as far as I know, the AJC has declined to do so.

Do Facts about Kids Count in Georgia?
In his June 29, 2006
“ThinkingRight” column, opinion writer Jim Wooten described KIDS COUNT as a media-baiting tactic to convince the government to raise social spending. Family Connection Partnership Executive Director Gaye Smith challenged Wooten’s comments, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution opted not to print her rebuttal (as of July 11), which merely states the facts:

“Just the facts,” to quote Sgt. Joe Friday, are the essence of KIDS COUNT, a national and state-by-state comparison of data on the well-being of children and families. Thinking “right,” as Jim Wooten purports to do in his June 29 column, should be about using nonbiased data to examine trends, using facts to make decisions, and writing opinions that are constructive and useful for readers.

KIDS COUNT uses ten common data elements, with data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau, and state health and education departments, to compare outcomes for children and families. KIDS COUNT has published rankings of states for 17 years. The facts are that the highest ranking Georgia ever had was 39th, and for the other 16 years, we’ve ranked in the bottom ten states. The facts are that children in Georgia are born at lower birth weights, die more often before their first birthday, and die more frequently before their 14th birthday than children in most other states.

The facts are that teens in Georgia have more babies and drop out of high school at higher rates than in other states. The facts are that more children in Georgia are members of single-parent families and live in poverty than children in other states.
KIDS COUNT does not “promote more social spending,” as Wooten asserts, as a solution for these issues. KIDS COUNT, in fact, promotes the use of data to make educated decisions with existing funding sources, to link data with current expenditures, and to encourage policymakers to use nonbiased data when they are making decisions on how to spend our tax dollars.

By using biased rhetoric, Wooten does a disservice to Georgia’s children and families. Wooten says that “Georgia is not a family,” and uses the term “hogwash” in denouncing the facts. Facts are facts. We need to dispense with the rhetoric and use facts when describing a situation.

The situation is that Georgia’s children and families deserve media that point out the facts, a legislature that uses data to make informed decisions, leaders with vision to make positive changes, and advocates to remind us all that it is our responsibility to be stewards of Georgia’s future. We have a choice. We can invest in our children now to reap economic benefits for the state, or pay the price later. A stable economy is built upon secure and strong investments that pay long-term benefits. Children are an investment in the future. That’s a fact.

Gaye Morris Smith
Executive Director, Family Connection Partnership

Well said, Gaye. Well said indeed.


tribalecho said...

Ok Amy. You are the reason I went out and voted for Cox. But as I told someone yesterday, I didn't vote for the candidate, I voted for her "consticency".

As I mentioned, I thought you and yours would keep her feet to the fire. I see that now that you don't care about feet. Taylor. See. Fire.

Democrats in Georgia got a new groove.

Hey Amy! Wanna dance?

tribalecho said...

Howly Smoke. The other day I was looking at the Georgia I know, and I thought, Holy Cow, I think change is happening here.

I wonder if Tom Murphy had to go to get this?

I wonder if the feminists, me included, will ever get over it"?

I wonder if "The Kimmer" won't be GA in the hearts and minds of men. And other people.

I wonder if people will ever know what a intellectually lying piece of crap Neil Boortz is?

I truly think Georgia may get over stupid. And I love her for, before, because, in spite, I just love this place.

I love me some Georgia!

Don't you?

Tina said...

I love Georgia because I love people and places and sights. But Georgia politics I do not love. Georgia social services I do not love. Georgia's long-ingrained rural anti-intellectualism I do not love. Georgia mental health services have been going downhill since the era of Barnes and Martin as head of DHR. Cut, cut, cut. Fill the prisons with the mentally ill. Fill the prisons with the unhealthy and undereducated. A pox upon Georgia's "politics as usual.

Tina said...

If Jim Wooten is a "compassionate conservative," he's quite successful at it because he surely knows how to conserve his compassion. None left over for "the least of these" at all.