Study: Racial inequities limit access to education
(Calif.) The state’s African American, Latino and American Indian children lag far behind their white and Asian counterparts when it comes to accessing health and education opportunities, according to a report released today.
The new national and state scorecard from Baltimore’s Annie E. Casey Foundation reveals that white students in California are more than three times as likely as African American students to be reading-proficient in fourth grade, and Asian students are more than five times as likely as African American students to score at or above proficient in eighth grade math.
These inequities continue well into adulthood: white young adults ages 25-29 are nearly twice as likely as African Americans to have completed an associate’s degree or higher and Asians are more than three times as likely as Latinos.
“While these results around racial inequities are very unsettling, the good news is that a mountain of research shows state investments in high quality programs for kids can make a difference,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, a non-profit child advocacy group touting the study’s findings as a call for systemic change in the way California prioritizes childrens’ needs.
“In addition to ensuring a more equitable society, they more than pay for themselves in terms of increased earnings and revenues, result in a stronger overall economy and a decrease in other public costs later on,” he said. “To course correct, we have to acknowledge the facts and take the bold steps needed together.”
“Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children,” unveils new Race for Results index, which compares how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels. A project of the Casey Foundation’s Kids Count program, the findings for the new index were calculated by collecting data from all 50 states for 12 indicators that fall within four categories: early childhood, education and early work, family supports and neighborhood context.
The indicators, which measure data such as percentage of babies born at normal weight and percentage of eighth graders who scored at or above proficient in math, were chosen by the foundation based on the goal that all children should grow up in economically successful families, live in supportive communities and meet development, health and educational milestones.
Overall, the Race for Results index shows that at the national level, no one racial group has all children meeting all milestones. Using a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest), Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest index score nationally at 776 followed by white children at 704. Scores for Latino (404), American Indian (387) and African American (345) are significantly lower, and this pattern holds true in nearly every state, including California, according to the study.
Based on the information presented in “Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children,” Children Now has launched the Children’s Movement of California – a partnership of some 850 business, education, parent, civil rights and other organizations “that recognize the need to make children the state’s top priority” and will lobby state lawmakers to do so.
“We know there is strong consensus in this state to ensure that all children have an opportunity to succeed, but too often kids lose out in Sacramento,” said Lempert. “the Children’s Movement of California is changing that: We are sending California policymakers a message – you need to put kids first.”