PNS Daily Newscast - January 23, 2019 

McConnell to bring up Trump’s wall funding bill on Thursday; might allow a vote on Democrats' measure to end government shutdown. Also on the Wednesday rundown: A U.S. Supreme Court decision allows Trump’s transgender military ban. Plus, navigating the DNA challenges of connecting with long-lost family.

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Report: Children of Color in IL More Likely to Live in Poverty

A new report highlights the economic and educational achievement gaps in Illinois. (Gia Smith)
A new report highlights the economic and educational achievement gaps in Illinois. (Gia Smith)
October 24, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – There are disparities based on race when it comes to opportunities for Illinois children, and a new report sheds light on policies that can help rectify that.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's "2017 Race for Results" report shows poverty, limited educational opportunities, and family separation are preventing children of color and those from immigrant families from reaching their full potential.

Anna Rowan, Kids Count Manager for Voices for Illinois Children, hopes lawmakers use the data to level the playing field for all kids.

"We want to really enact public policies that focus on child well being and put children at the center of the policies that we are enacting and the investments that we are making as a state," she explains.

African-American children in Illinois face the most significant barriers to success and are more likely to live in lower-income families. Hispanic children also struggle with poverty and are the least likely to live in a household with someone who has at least a high school degree. Additionally, early-childhood education enrollment rates for Hispanic children ages 3-to-5 lag
behind those of African-American, Asian and white children.

Report co-author Laura Speer, the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation, says the nation's future depends on child well-being, and that's influenced by their environments. She agrees that policies are needed that make communities more supportive and healthy.

"Those are things like increasing access to early child care and education and ensuring that students are ready for higher education," she notes. "We know this has a very high return on investment, so we need to make sure that's something that we invest in as a country."

Students in Illinois perform at about the national average for their demographic group in fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math, but there are large achievement gaps between groups based on race.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL