All children in Pennsylvania should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of race, ethnicity, or where they live, but the 2017 Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows the commonwealth needs to deliver better results for kids.
The report measures children’s progress on the national and state levels on key education, health and economic milestones by racial and ethnic groups.
“Pennsylvania and the nation have some work to do to get all kids on a path to success and ensure all children live in economically successful families, reside in supportive communities and meet developmental, health and educational milestones,” said Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. “The data in this report can help Pennsylvania create policies and programs that benefit all children, and help identify areas where targeted strategies and investments are needed.”
This is the second Race for Results report; the Foundation released the first report in 2014. The 2017 Race for Results shows:
- Ninety-two percent of all Pennsylvania babies are born at a healthy birth weight, promoting positive health outcomes and reducing the risk of developmental delays. But the result is worse for African-American babies — 87 percent are born at a healthy weight. Benso added, “More can be done to improve to address this problem such as evidenced-based home visiting programs. Nurses and other trained professionals visit pregnant women and families with infants and toddlers to provide parent education and support that promotes maternal and child health, well-being, learning and development. Home visiting services also connect parents to community-based services such as prenatal care. Despite funding increases for evidence-based home visiting services, state and federal funding is limited and falls short of what is needed.”
- Only 18 percent of Latino and 17 percent of African-American fourth-graders in Pennsylvania scored at or above proficient in reading, and they face the longest odds for success in the commonwealth and nationally. “Early reading proficiency is the cornerstone of lifetime learning. Far too often, children who fall behind in elementary school because of language barriers and/or inadequate school funding don’t catch up. And, when they do catch up, it comes as a result of costly remediation. Pennsylvania must pay its fair share for public schools and provide adequate resources that are driven out to districts in a way that ensures equity across the commonwealth, so every student in every district, regardless of ethnicity or race, can reach proficiency,” said Benso.
- Ninety percent of all Pennsylvania children live in a household where at last one member has a high school diploma but 73 percent of Latino children live in a household with a member who has at least a high school diploma. “Low literacy levels in parents can make it more challenging for them to promote early learning. High-quality pre-k is a key ingredient in school readiness and later school success. Greater investments in pre-k funding can ensure more children have access to publicly funded, high-quality programs like Pre-K Counts, which prioritizes English language learners along with low-income children and children with disabilities for enrollment,” Benso said.
“If we want Pennsylvania to be prosperous for generations to come, all children must have a fair chance to succeed. This is a race we cannot afford to lose.”
The 2017 Race for Results report will be available October 24 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at www.aecf.org/raceforresults/. Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/. The website also contains the most recent national, state and local data on numerous indicators of child well-being. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about Race for Results can use the Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.
About Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) is a strong, effective and trusted voice to improve the health, education and well-being of children and youth in the commonwealth. Since 1992 our public policy victories have helped countless children learn, thrive and succeed, regardless of circumstances. PPC is statewide, independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit.
About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.