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Idaho Kids of Color Miss Milestones

PHOTO: A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that Hispanic and Native American children in Idaho are facing too many barriers to success. Photo credit: EPA.gov
PHOTO: A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that Hispanic and Native American children in Idaho are facing too many barriers to success. Photo credit: EPA.gov
April 1, 2014

BOISE, Idaho - A check-up on Idaho's children released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation takes a close look at demographics while assessing key milestones connected with success as adults. The statistics show that all children could be doing better, but the "catch-up" categories are highest among Idaho's Hispanic and Native American children.

Margie Gonzalez, executive director, Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, said Idaho has several school where a majority of the students are Latino.

"Our percentage in K-though-12 has increased by more than 10 percent, and we have a shortage of bilingual, bi-cultural teachers in the state," Gonzalez said.

The report tallies reading abilities and other educational benchmarks - as well as family support and economic status - and makes recommendations for improvements. Those include strategies in schools and programs that connect vulnerable groups to new jobs and workforce development.

Gonzalez pointed out that 17 percent of Idaho's children are Hispanic, a fact that cannot be ignored, because the state's future economic prosperity is tied to their success.

"We've been working on it for the last 10 to 15 years with the Department of Ed and State Board of Ed, but equality - we're not able to capture that," she said.

The index shows that Asian and Pacific Islander children outscore white children in Idaho in measures such as reading and math proficiency. Native American and Latino students' scores are almost half the top rates. This pattern holds true in most states, with African American children also facing obstThe racles.

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

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID