Editorial: Responding by helping all children
Children in North Carolina, an agreeable precious commodity, are not making any more improvement than their counterparts across the country.
That’s the finding of an annual study released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. We’re No. 35, back a spot from last year.
The source of the information is a private charitable organization now in its 65th year. Its mission is to “foster public policies, human-service reforms and community supports” for children in today’s families.
The foundation ranks each state in more than a dozen areas of economic well-being, education, health, and families and communities. It brings the information together in a collective ranking.
For the most part, the study tells a lot of what we can see each day as we move about the Tri-County. While there are positive things happening for our children, many live in poverty, one-parent households and are battling to keep up in reading and math.
The study puts actual numbers on it, albeit only through 2011 — the most recent data available.
Perspective is paramount, as with any statistics.
One in five children of our state were in poverty in 2007. Now it is one in four. We’ve increased only 1 percent worse than the national average.
Families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment has increased, but again, at about the same rate as the national average.
The number of teens ages 16 to 19 not in school and not working has increased 2 percent to 10 percent; the national average remains steady at 8 percent.
Fourth-grade reading, measured in odd years since 2003, has improved better than the national average in that time. Eighth-grade math, measured in odd years since 2003, is fluctuating with national averages. And more high school students are graduating on time from the 2009-10 class than from the 2005-06 class.
According to the study, children are progressing nationally in the areas of education and health. And while the recession has been tough on all and its negative impact is evident, the economic well-being of children actually improved from 2010 to 2011.
Rankings are informative and have value, but striving to help each and every child is the bottom line for us all.