Sunday, April 22, 2018
Education

Report: Well-being of black and Hispanic children continues to lag in Florida

Despite making progress in health care access and parental employment, Florida has not improved its poverty rate for children over the past five years, a newly released national report shows.

And that indicator, along with several others, bodes particularly poorly for children of ethnic minorities and immigrant families, who are disproportionately affected by poverty, the Annie E. Casey Foundation states in its 2017 "Race for Results" index.

With Florida accounting for more than 1.2 million immigrant children, the majority of whom are Hispanic, the Sunshine State carries importance nationally when it comes to ensuring all children equity in America, said Laura Speer, the Casey Foundation’s associate director of policy reform and advocacy.

"It may be a state might do okay with Asian kids, but African-American kids or Latino kids might not be doing so well," Speer said. "We need to keep the well-being of kids in mind."

The foundation rated states on an equity index, which takes into account several milestones it deems key for children to find success in life. Among them are enrollment in early education, scoring proficiently in reading in fourth grade, graduating from high school on time and living with an adult who has at least finished high school.

It then broke the results down by state and by race.

Florida’s Hispanic children outpaced the national average, and rated ninth overall for their subgroup. That overview masks the reality that, on a scale of 1,000, the subgroup earned 524 points, noted Norin Dollard, director of Florida Kids Count, a data book on the well-being of children published by the foundation.

More work remains, Dollard suggested.

The situation looked worse for Florida’s African-American children. They had a composite score of 364, and rated 28th nationally.

In contrast, the state’s Asian and white children scored significantly higher, 781 and 683 respectively, but still fell behind the national average.

The Casey Foundation, which focuses on improving outcomes for children, suggested some potentially politically charged actions to turn the situation around. It called for keeping families together in communities, a clear rebuke to those who seek to end the "Dreamers" program that impacts thousands of Florida children, as well as to those who want to deport immigrant parents of U.S. citizen children.

It proposed providing more early education services to immigrant children, and increasing economic opportunities, including welfare support, to immigrant parents.

But Florida’s heavily conservative Legislature has not always been friendly to such ideas.

Speer said she hoped people would look beyond partisanship to humanity.

"If you believe that we need to think together about how we can have a better country in our future, investment in children seems to be one thing that people can agree upon," she said.

"The data is clear which kids have the biggest hurdles to get over," Speer added. "That’s what is reflected in this report. Our intention is to continue to ring this bell."

Find the full report at aecf.org.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at [email protected]

Comments
A Florida school shooting suspect charged with terrorism says ‘sorry’ to injured student

A Florida school shooting suspect charged with terrorism says ‘sorry’ to injured student

The young man in a white jail jumpsuit, handcuffed and shackled, looked past the throng of reporters pointing microphones toward his face, barely opening his mouth as he answered questions."I shot through the door," he said, looking at a female repor...
Published: 04/21/18
After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

TAMPA — Confronted in late 2017 with reports of misconduct by substitute teachers hired through a contractor, Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins said he would ask tough questions and demand answers. He had his lawyer, Jeff Gibson, ...
Published: 04/21/18
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Published: 04/20/18
Official: Shotgun in guitar case was used in school shooting

Official: Shotgun in guitar case was used in school shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE — A gunman who carried a shotgun in a guitar case opened fire Friday in a Florida high school, wounding one student before he was arrested on a day planned for a national classroom walkout to protest gun violence, authorities said. It...
Published: 04/20/18
Eakins: New ‘achievement zone’ would lift struggling schools

Eakins: New ‘achievement zone’ would lift struggling schools

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins is preparing to reorganize his cabinet — for the third time since 2015 — in an effort to coordinate programs at the district’s highest-needs schools.In an interview this week, Eakins descr...
Published: 04/20/18
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways. In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall f...
Published: 04/20/18
Hooper: A tribute to my Godby High School instructors

Hooper: A tribute to my Godby High School instructors

Every time I see an algebraic formula, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Landreth and Mrs. McBee flash through my mind.If you say history, I say Mr. Groot and Mrs. Melton. If you say civics, I say Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Hunt.I type using the "home keys" because Mrs....
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teachers’ aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer...
Published: 04/19/18
Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

Pinellas to enlist Sandy Hook group in its quest for safer schools

LARGO — Starting soon, Pinellas County public schools could be using a nationwide violence prevention program founded by families of those killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in December 2012.The nonprofit group Sandy Hook Promise, with ...
Published: 04/19/18

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teacher aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer p...
Published: 04/18/18