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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: Ohio make has made some progress on child well-being

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Thursday, June 13, 2024   

Math and reading proficiency among Ohio kids has worsened over the past five years, according to new data.

The latest Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation showed in 2022, 71% of the state's eighth graders were behind in math, and 65% of fourth graders were behind in reading. The number of young children not in school has also risen.

Matthew Tippit, policy associate for the Children's Defense Fund-Ohio, said there is a link between poverty and educational outcomes.

"We were ranked 29th overall last year, and this year, we're ranked 28th so it's not surprising that we haven't seen a lot of change," Tippit acknowledged. "But it's still disappointing to know that we're kind of in the back half of states as far as performance and these very important indicators."

Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants, which expire this fall, have been used by districts to support digital learning, pay school counselors and mental health professionals, and hire more staff. Ohio has received more than $4 billion in federal funds.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said compared to peer countries, the U.S. is not equipping its children with the problem-solving skills future employers will need.

"Our economy is propelled by a prepared workforce," Boissiere asserted. "In order for our economy to work well, it's important that we prepare young people with the skills that they need so that they are entering the workforce prepared."

Tippit noted hunger, mental health, and childhood trauma can all affect a student's ability to enter a classroom ready to learn. He added universal school meals have also been shown to improve learning outcomes.

"To make sure that all students can have breakfast and lunch, no matter their economic situation at home," Tippit urged. "So while they're at school, they can do their best, because you can't learn while you're hungry."

Advocates said policies such as expanding access to reliable internet, tutoring and other community supports can better help kids who have fallen behind.

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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