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Report: Children of Color in NM, Nation Face Barriers to Well-Being

PHOTO: A report out today (Tuesday) shows children of color face major economic and educational barriers in overall well-being. Photo courtesy Los Angeles County, Calif.
PHOTO: A report out today (Tuesday) shows children of color face major economic and educational barriers in overall well-being. Photo courtesy Los Angeles County, Calif.
April 1, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A new report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that children of color in New Mexico and across the nation face major economic and educational barriers in nearly every category of well-being. The "Race for Results" report says kids of color are behind in many key areas of success, and in nearly every region of the nation.

Christine Hollis, director, New Mexico Voices for Children, said ensuring that all children get the best possible education is critical for America's future in a competitive global economy.

"Our economic security and our economic prosperity depend on how well these children are doing, because these are our future workforce, our future family heads, all of those who will be contributing," Hollis said.

The report bases its rankings on 12 indicators that measure a child's success in each stage of life from birth to adulthood. Indicators include fourth-grade reading proficiency, students who graduate high school on time, and young adults who complete an associate's degree or higher.

The report points out that by 2018, children of color will represent the majority of children in the U.S. Hollis noted that children of color already make up the majority of New Mexico students. She said there are many economic and educational factors that contribute to a child's overall well-being, and early childhood education is a critical starting point.

"We're definitely seeing major results," she said. "Most of those are in reading scores at the fourth-grade level, which is a key milestone. We're also seeing it in higher graduation rates."

Hollis added that research shows that children in states with universal "Pre-K" programs are ahead of kids in states without those programs.

The Casey Foundation report is available at www.aecf.org.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM