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Data Show Children of Color Face Barriers to Educational Success

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that children of color and those growing up in immigrant families continue to face persistent barriers to opportunity.

The report, Race for Results, measures children’s progress on 12 key milestones for family security, health and education. The data shows small improvements since 2014. However, poverty and public policies leave many kids of color behind in every educational benchmark, from early childhood to attainment after high school.

Governor Ducey and many leaders throughout our state have made a commitment that all children in Arizona should have the chance for success, no matter what their family background or zip code is. But it is clear we can’t fulfill that commitment until we reform the very policies that are blocking the way for children with immigrant parents and children who are Latino, African American, and American Indian.

In Arizona, 445,000 children have at least one parent who is an immigrant; 90% of these children are US citizens. Nearly nine in ten children with immigrant parents in Arizona are children of color and many struggle in school because of language and cultural barriers.


National “Race for Results” Report Finds Barriers to Educational Success Loom Large for Children of Color, Children in Immigrant Families

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As our national debates about immigration continue to intensify, the report gives particular emphasis to the progress and obstacles for children in immigrant families. In Arizona, 445,000 children have at least one parent who is an immigrant; 90% of these children are US citizens. Nearly nine in ten children with immigrant parents in Arizona are children of color and many face additional language and cultural barriers that can block their pathways to success.

In Arizona, the median income for immigrant families with children is 33% below that of US-born families and nearly two out of three children in immigrant families live in low-income families. These economic barriers, alone, put them at high risk for challenges in health and education.

“Children’s Action Alliance has united with hundreds of leaders in government, business and education around specific educational goals for all children in The Arizona Education Progress Meter, led by Expect More Arizona and the Center for the Future of Arizona,” said Naimark. “Race for Results shows that our economy and policies are leaving children of color far behind in every educational benchmark, from early childhood through educational attainment after high school.”

As leaders and organizational partners throughout the state begin to create action steps to reach the Progress Meter goals, we should reconsider policies that have added obstacles for children of color:

  • The inconsistencies, uncertainty, and targeting of immigration enforcement policies at the federal level, the state level, and through former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio have all contributed to instability and toxic stress for children in immigrant families. Children lose needed support when fear leads their families to disconnect from public and community services and the disruption of families being separated can have long-lasting impacts.
  • Proposition 203, passed by voters in 2000, prohibits bilingual education programs in Arizona schools. Arizona is one of the last two states with a prohibition on bilingual education, with a negative impact on educational attainment.
  • Families lose access to key supports due to the “English Only” Proposition passed by Arizona voters that prohibits state and local governments from doing business in other languages.
  • A range of policies in public school districts and charter schools exclude children of color from educational opportunities. In district schools neighboring tribal communities, for example, American Indian students are up to ten times more likely than their white peers to be suspended.
  • Because the state legislature neglects funding for school facilities, school districts must turn to local taxpayers to approve and pay for bonds. The average property value is lower in school districts with high Latino enrollment. As a result, taxpayers in districts with many Latino students must pay higher tax rates or go without needed school construction, maintenance and repair.

“Governor Ducey and many leaders throughout our state have made a commitment that all children in Arizona should have the chance for success, no matter what their family background or zip code is,” said Naimark. “But this report shows that opportunities remain unequal. We must take action to strengthen our systems and policies so that children of color have the health, education, and security they need to flourish.”

The 2017 Race for Results report can be found at  Additional information is available at The website also contains the most recent national, state and local data on numerous indicators of child well-being. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about Race for Results can use the Data Center at

Children’s Action Alliance is an independent voice for Arizona children at the state capitol and in the community. CAA works to improve children’s health, education, and security through information and action. Visit us online at
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit KIDS COUNT is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Investments In Quality Early Education Yield High Returns

The evidence is clear: when young children have healthy and enriching experiences, with one on one attention from teachers, parents and caregivers, they are more likely to be ready for school and to transition successfully into kindergarten and beyond. Decades of evidence shows that an investment in quality early education saves considerable money in long term costs to address the issues that occur when students struggle in school.

Children’s Action Alliance has released a new policy brief entitled “Investments in Early Education Yield High Returns.”  The brief examines why quality early childhood is important for families and children, but also for businesses. It also provides an overview of the foundations that already exist here in Arizona as well as a look at some of the gaps and how we compare to other states.

It’s up to us to make sure policymakers hear the voices of teachers, parents, and business leaders: Early childhood is an investment we can’t afford to ignore.


Read Our 4th Quarter Newsletter – October – December 2017

Click here for our latest newsletter detailing what’s happening with the Arizona Grandparents Ambassadors this quarter.

Teacher Shortage is Reaching Critical Levels in Arizona

One hundred thirty five school districts and charter schools report ongoing challenges with Arizona’s teacher shortage in the third annual survey from the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association. This year, more than half of the identified teacher position openings remain vacant or are filled using alternative methods four weeks into the school year:

  • More than 500 teachers have already abandoned their jobs or resigned, up 13% over last year.
  • 1,328 teaching positions remain vacant
  • 2,491 teaching positions have been filled with people who don’t meet standard teaching requirements

The crisis means that many students are learning from long term substitutes and many teachers don’t have time to pay attention to each student because they are teaching combined and larger classes, curriculum in combined grades or extra classes with no time to plan.

The Morrison Institute report has documented low teacher salaries and difficult working conditions like these as large contributors to the shortage.

Last year, Children’s Action Alliance and AZ Schools Now brought specific proposals to Governor Ducey and the legislature to strengthen investments in classrooms and to boost teacher pay by 4% each year. The final budget they adopted included only a 2% bonus over two years. As the teacher shortage crisis continues, join us in demanding a statewide plan with resources to make our public education stronger.