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Monday, July 15, 2024

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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure build-up a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Data helps map a brighter future for Missouri's children

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

Missouri children are making strides in overall health but educational challenges remain, according to the 2024 Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The annual report highlights the well-being of children across the United States by state, providing a comprehensive look at key indicators. While Missouri has seen improvements in some health areas, educational setbacks, particularly in high school graduation rates, are still a concern post-pandemic. The report underscored the need for focused efforts to prepare children for future success.

Tracy Greever-Rice, program director of Missouri Kids Count, emphasized the importance of addressing educational gaps.

"Fifty-six percent of young children in the state of Missouri, children younger than 5 years old, are not in any kind of educational programs or school," Greever-Rice reported.

The Data Book revealed significant learning losses in Missouri during the COVID-19 pandemic, with chronic absenteeism particularly affecting children in poverty. State data from 2022 show nearly three of five eighth graders and fourth graders scored below proficiency in English and math.

Addressing economic factors is also critical, as stable home environments contribute to better educational outcomes. Ensuring economic stability for families is essential for improving school attendance and success. The report indicated one in four parents lack secure employment, and one in five households with children spend 33% or more of their household income on housing alone, which can directly affect children's ability to focus and succeed in school.

Greever-Rice stressed on a positive note, Missouri has made significant progress in reducing the teen birthrate and ensuring access to health insurance for children.

"Only 6% of Missouri's children are without access to health insurance, public or private," Greever-Rice explained. "The Missouri Medicaid program has been very consistently productive in ensuring there's coverage for kids."

Greever-Rice highlighted Missouri's success in health and social issues provides a foundation for tackling educational challenges. She argued the state must use insights from the Data Book to guide policies and investments and Missouri should focus on helping children overcome pandemic setbacks and prepare for future success. By wisely using resources and addressing educational disparities, she added Missouri can create a brighter future for its children.

Disclosure: Missouri Kids Count contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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