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Kentucky Educators Want All Children Counted in 2020 Census

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A preschool classroom in Kentucky learns about Constitution Day. (Kentucky Youth Advocates)
A preschool classroom in Kentucky learns about Constitution Day. (Kentucky Youth Advocates)
September 5, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky school districts want to make sure their students are counted when the 2020 census begins in April.

Educators are gearing up to spread the word to parents and communities about the counting of every resident in the nation.

Michelle Elison, a Louisville-based partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, says children are the largest undercounted population, and points out that more than 12,000 Kentucky children younger than age five were missed in the 2010 census.

The reasons children get left out are numerous.

"For example, here in Kentucky, we have one of the highest rates of kinship care of any state across the nation,” Elison points out. “We have a lot of grandparents raising grandchildren. A lot of times, those grandparents do not include their grandchildren on their census questionnaire."

Elison says the amount of federal funding schools receive is based on Census data.

Special education grants, Head Start, Title 1, and national school lunch and breakfast programs all rely on the number of children tallied.

Shuvon Ray, principal of Price Elementary School in Louisville, says the area where her school is located is consistently under-represented. So, this month, her students will be learning about the Census.

"If we start early with our young ones in giving them opportunities for them to know what it means to be counted in the Census and what impact it could have on various areas in the community, I think that you're raising kids who will be more conscious of the importance of it when it does come around," she explains.

Elison says to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, public schools across America are required to educate their students about the country's founding document every September.

This year, the Census Bureau is offering materials to schools to help students learn about the importance of accurate population data.

"And with the Census Bureau being found in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, we just thought this was a great opportunity to start educating not only our teachers, but families and students about the importance of being counted," Elison states.

Educators who use the census materials also could win $500 for their classroom, as part of a Statistics in Schools Sweepstakes being run by Kentucky Youth Advocates. For more information, visit kyyouth.org.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - KY