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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 buildup; and 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.

Report: Iowa students' reading, math deficiencies 'concerning'

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

New data rank Iowa seventh in the nation for the overall health and well-being of its kids.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book shows while Iowa did well among many of the 16 key indicators, some areas need improvement.

The report focuses in part on educational indicators and shows a drastic drop in the performance of the state's public schools, which are historically among Iowa's crown jewels.

Iowa Common Good Executive Director Anne Dichser called the school's performance numbers "concerning."

"Like on fourth grade reading proficiency, Iowa ranked 17th among the states this year," said Dichser. "Two-thirds of fourth graders were not proficient in reading. On eighth grade math proficiency, Iowa ranked 16th. Not quite three in four students were not proficient in math. So, we have real challenges. "

Iowa dropped to 17th in fourth-grade reading proficiency and 16th in eighth-grade math proficiency.

The research used numbers from the 2022 school year, and Discher said some of the lower scores could be a lingering effect of the pandemic.

She added policy solutions are in place to address the deficiencies. The state also improved in the category of Family and Community Issues.

For the first time in more than 20 years, Iowa slipped as the leader in high school graduation rates into a tie for seventh among the states.

Discher said the poor school performance numbers hit especially hard in a state that has a reputation for making its public schools a top priority.

"Gosh, the beginning of the century, you know when the mint did the state quarters," said Dichser, "Iowa put a one-room schoolhouse on its quarter, and I think the phrase was 'Foundation in Education.'"

The state saw important improvements in the "Kids Count" numbers.

Fewer children are living in poverty and in single-parent families. The teen birth rate also dropped.



Disclosure: The Annie E. Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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