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Report Shows Challenges For African-American, Latino Kids

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African-American, Latino and American-Indian children in North Carolina face greater obstacles to success than their peers, according to a new policy report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The report is based on indicators that measure a child’s success from birth to adulthood, such as birth weight, academic performance, teen pregnancy and family income level. 

“The most significant finding is that race still plays a factor in a child’s well-being and his or her opportunity to be successful later in life,” says Rob Thompson communications director for NC Child, an affiliate of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

According to the data, African-American, Latino and American-Indian students struggle the most academically, while Asian-American and Caucasian students tend to outperform their peers.

For example, only 20 percent of African-American fourth-grade students passed last year’s state reading exam, compared to about 50 percent of Asian-Americans.

“By 2018, children of color are going to be the majority of children in this country and state, so it’s really important that we do a good job preparing all children to be successful in life,” says Thompson. 

He notes that the findings are especially significant as lawmakers grapple with important questions relating to education policy.  

“We hope policymakers at the state- and federal-level will use this data to make good decisions about public policy and funding levels,” stated Thompson. “If we’re going to improve opportunity and outcomes for all children, we need to make strategic and robust investments.”

Reema Khrais joined WUNC in 2013 to cover education in pre-kindergarten through high school. Previously, she won the prestigious Joan B. Kroc Fellowship. For the fellowship, she spent a year at NPR where she reported nationally, produced on Weekends on All Things Considered and edited on the digital desk. She also spent some time at New York Public Radio as an education reporter, covering the overhaul of vocational schools, the contentious closures of city schools and age-old high school rivalries.
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