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Future Texas Success Linked Heavily to Success of Hispanic Children

PHOTO: A new scorecard on the progress of children in Texas shows the need to create more opportunity for kids of color, particularly the Hispanic population. Photo credit: Greg Westfall
PHOTO: A new scorecard on the progress of children in Texas shows the need to create more opportunity for kids of color, particularly the Hispanic population. Photo credit: Greg Westfall
April 1, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas - As the face of Texas continues to change, a new report says the state has a lot of ground to cover to ensure that all kids, especially those of color, are positioned for success. Dr. Frances Deviney, director, Texas KIDS COUNT, said when it comes to childhood well-being, the state is doing better than the national averages for Asian, African American and Native American kids, but that is not the case for Latinos.

"Well over half of our kindergarteners are Hispanic or Latino," Deviney pointed out, "so if these kids aren't doing well, that really has a huge impact on how Texas is going to perform 10, 20, 30 years down the road. We want to make sure they get the best start."

In all, the report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation examined a dozen indicators of key childhood milestones in the areas of development, education and health.

Deviney said one of the best ways to help all children get off to a great start is quality early education that is focused on the distinct needs of each group of kids.

"We know what kids of different cultures and races and ethnicities need that may be different from one another. How do we get them to an equitable playing field, so that they can then succeed when they get to kindergarten and public education? And then, you kind of build on that narrative going forward."

The demographic changes and barriers for children of color in Texas are also happening nationwide. That's why greater efforts to provide equal opportunities are needed in all states, according to Laura Speer with the Casey Foundation.

"We think it's a really critical time for the country to focus on improving outcomes for these kids, since they really are going to be the future success of the country," Speer said.

The Census Bureau projects that by 2018, children of color will represent a majority of children in the U.S. By 2030, a majority of the American labor force will be people of color.

The report, "Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children," is available at www.aecf.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX