In ‘Workplace Policies for Parents,’ Montana gets a C-minus

When it comes to policies that support new parents in the workplace, Montana is just “meh” according to a new national report.

We’re not that great, but not so bad – unlike all the states surrounding Montana, which earned solid “F”s.

Montana has protections for workers (both state and private) who take medical leave, for nursing moms and … well, that’s about it.

Read on for the full breakdown:

Montana Earns Only a “C-” in New Study for its Workplace Policies that Support New Parents

In Advance of Monday’s White House Summit on Working Families, New State-by-State Analysis Reinforces Compelling Need for Congress to Act

A new state-by-state analysis shows how little the nation supports and protects working mothers and fathers when a new child arrives – and Montana has a long way to go when it comes to helping its new parents.

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Bullies and breast-feeding

I love when local moms write to the newspaper to talk about topics of direct interest to us. Today’s Opinion pages have a letter from a Missoula grandparent concerned about bullying in schools.

We always think this kind of thing happens to someone else’s kid. Maybe we even have personal prejudices about the “type” of kid this happens to be or the kind of family he or the bully came from. I am telling you, it could happen to your beloved child.

The letter encourages parents to research laws and policies regarding bullying.

And yesterday’s Opinion page brought us a letter from a Missoula mom who decried the common practice of including formula in hospital’s take-home bags for newborns.

Hospitals giving away free formula definitely undermines a new mom’s determination to breast-feed. It’s hard enough to nurse your baby, it’s even harder when it’s 2 a.m. and the formula is so close by. I wish I had never had formula in my house.

Playground

Were I to write my own letter today, it would would be one advocating a playground on every block – a swing for every child! Case in point is today’s Hall Passages in which the folks at Lewis and Clark Elementary talk about the marked decrease in students’ behavior problems, thanks to the schools’ new playground.

Plus, as this photo demonstrates, play structures can pull double duty as public art.

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Legislature talks school bullies, education funding and more

A Monday hearing before a Montana Legislative committee brought out school officials from across the state to talk about bullying at school and the need for uniform policies to deal with bullies.

But SB 141 is not the only proposed bill that addresses bullying. SB 196, introduced by Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy, takes up bullying beyond the classroom “by providing remedies to address hostile work environments; providing processes for schools to maintain healthy work environments by providing remedies for bullying or abusive conduct” and so on.

So here we have, in effect, two bills that address bullying in Montana’s schools – one bill that focuses on child victims, and another that focuses on adult victims.

Also today, Montanans were told to expect another bill to be introduced into the Legislature next week that would propose an alternative to the governor’s  suggested method of funding schools and education. It has tentative support from the Montana Rural Education Association and the Montana School Boards Association.

The crux of both proposals is oil and gas revenues generated from certain natural resource-rich counties in eastern Montana. Gov. Brian Schweitzer would like to see more of that money – 90 percent of the revenues – more evenly distributed to school districts throughout the state, instead of just the 30 percent that benefit now.

Sen. Llew Jones, on the other hand, would like to see those oil- and gas-producing counties keeping more of the money, and instead will propose that school districts with “high-value property” pay more taxes to the state, so that statewide property tax mills would foot a larger share of the funding bill for every school district.

Follow that? Me neither. Hopefully the actual bill language will lay out the funding process  more clearly than I was able to explain it here.

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