Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A look at who's being left behind in the 'Race for Results'

An important new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlights the widening gap in opportunity between white and children of color. The report, called "Race for Results," created a new index that uses 12 educational, health, and economic factors to rank how children from major racial and ethnic groups fare in every state.

The report points out that last year, for the first time, more children of color were born in the United States than white children. According to Census Bureau projections, by 2018, children of color will represent a majority of children.

"It is clear that children of color—especially African-Americans, American Indians, and Latinos—are in serious trouble in numerous issue areas and in nearly every region of the country," the report says. "Our nation cannot afford to leave this talent behind in hopes that these problems will remedy themselves."
The report points to unequal access to community resources, good schools, and safe neighborhoods as contributing factors to persistent achievement gaps and health disparities. Many of those problems are rooted in intentional policies from the past, such as Jim Crow laws, that take focused and intentional efforts to undo, the report says. 
American Indian children in South Dakota had the lowest index score of any group in any state—185 out of a possible score of 1,000, the report says.

Race for Results is heavy on good demographic data but light on these very same "focused and intentional efforts" or recommendations for action, including any explicit policy recommendations. There's not even a mention of the impact of No Child Left Behind or Race To The Top on the position of minority students. Not a word about so-called "choice" strategies such as vouchers or the rapid expansion of privately-run charter schools as possible drivers of racial re-segregation.

You can read the full report here.

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