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Top Ranking for Massachusetts In Child Well-Being

PHOTO: When it comes to the well-being of children, Massachusetts is number one in the nation, according to the 25th annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids County report. Photo credit: Randen Peterson / Flickr.
PHOTO: When it comes to the well-being of children, Massachusetts is number one in the nation, according to the 25th annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids County report. Photo credit: Randen Peterson / Flickr.
July 24, 2014

BOSTON - When it comes to the well-being of children, Massachusetts is first in the nation, according to the 25th annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count report. The commonwealth rose from third place last year to first this year.

The report examines 16 indicators across four areas: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, says the strong numbers are a result of hard work.

"This number one ranking reflects the fact here in Massachusetts we've made real, significant and smart investments in our children, and it's paid off," says Berger. "Children in Massachusetts now have a better chance to succeed than anywhere else in America."

The commonwealth was ranked number one in education, number two in healthcare and number eight in child-related issues of family and community.

Despite the laudable results, Berger says there is room for improvement in several areas. The survey shows Massachusetts fourth-graders leading the nation in reading, with a proficiency level of 47 percent.

"On the other hand, that means 53 percent are not proficient," says Berger. "We can't leave half of our kids behind if you want to build a really strong economy and a strong and healthy society."

One of the four areas where Massachusetts slipped from last year's results is the percentage of children living in poverty, which is now up a percentage point over last year at 15 percent.

"One in seven children in Massachusetts grows up in poverty. While that's better than the nation as a whole, one in seven is far too many kids to be living in poverty in a nation and a state as wealthy as Massachusetts," says Berger.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - MA