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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.

WI makes the grade for child well-being, but education woes, disparities stick out

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

An annual report suggests Wisconsin has a strong foundation in creating positive outcomes for kids. But low-test scores and racial disparities show not all youth are faring well.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's latest Kids Count Data Book ranks Wisconsin 11th in the country for child well-being.

The state saw a slight dip in its child poverty rate, falling to 13%.

However, Emily Miota - communications director of the statewide policy group Kids Forward - said the positive results mask persistent disparities for the Badger State.

"Wisconsin," said Miota, "remains the worst state in the nation for Black children and families."

For example, Black children were 29 times more likely to live in high-poverty areas than white children.

Those disparities also spill over into education. And overall test scores show 68% of fourth graders not proficient in reading, mirroring national trends.

Kids Forward calls on state leaders to dig deeper in boosting public school funding and focus on hiring and retaining Black teachers.

The report contends that the pandemic is not solely to blame for the country's worsening educational
outcomes.

The Casey Foundation's Vice President of External Affairs Leslie Boissiere said educators, researchers, policymakers, and employers who track students' academic readiness have been ringing alarm bells for a long time.

"For example, the pandemic erased decades of increases in math scores," said Boissiere. "However, if you look over those 35 years that we've produced the Data Book, we've never seen a significant percentage of children who were either proficient in fourth grade reading or basic math."

The report calls on all states to expand access to intensive tutoring for students who are behind in their classes and missing academic milestones.

For addressing chronic absenteeism, the authors say lawmakers should embrace positive approaches rather than criminalizing students or parents due to attendance challenges.

Wisconsin did see a worsening rate of young children not attending school.



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


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"I truly love our Country, and love you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin," wrote Former President Donald Trump on social media. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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