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NBC News reports rooftop where gunman shot at Trump was identified as a security vulnerability; Judge Cannon dismisses classified documents case against Trump; UTA professors refuse to comply with Title IX of abortion law; smaller ranchers voice concerns about USDA electronic tag mandates.

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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: Alabama children need more educational, economic support

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Wednesday, June 12, 2024   

A new report sheds light on child well-being in Alabama, highlighting the need for greater academic and economic support.

According to the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book, fewer than one in five eighth graders was proficient in math in 2022.

Apreill Hartsfield, policy and data analyst at VOICES for Alabama's Children, said despite a slight improvement in the state's overall ranking, Alabama faced fewer declines compared to other states during the pandemic. She argued increased child poverty and low test scores signal the need for improvements.

"The pandemic put a big dent in education for children, not just here in Alabama, but nationwide," Hartsfield pointed out. "We've got to look at continuing those investments to provide the extra support that children need to get those scores up."

She pointed out to help students improve on the educational front, the state is using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants to fund additional math and reading programs.

The number of children living in poverty has steadily increased since 2019, according to the Data Book.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said the pandemic has had a negative effect on school, family finances and the overall mental well-being of children post-pandemic.

"Ensuring children that these adverse childhood experiences are addressed, that they have the resources that they need within the school and within the community so that they can heal is significantly important to the well-being of children," Boissiere explained.

On the positive side, Hartsfield noted fewer Alabama kids are living in high-poverty areas, or in single-parent homes without full-time employment. Children are also getting more access to health care and the state is making strides in health insurance.

"We have around a 3% rate of children who are not covered in Alabama," Hartsfield emphasize. "So 97% of children basically have health insurance in Alabama."

She stressed access to health care for children is not equivalent to having health insurance and many rural children struggle to reach medical providers. She wants the state to explore ways to maintain remaining rural hospitals. Advocates also proposed increasing reliable access to high speed internet, which has become a critical need and not just a luxury.


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