Arizona’s economic future tied to conditions for kids of color
Arizona’s potential to compete economically is at high risk as the state’s future majority workforce – Latino children – rank among the worst in the nation for essential early indicators for success, a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows.
The new Race for Results index is based on 12 indicators that measure a child’s success for each stage of life, from birth to adulthood.
Overall, the index shows that no one racial group in Arizona has all children meeting all milestones. Using a single composite score placed on a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest), Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest index score at 744 followed by White children at 677.
Arizona scores for Latino (356), American-Indian (282) and African-American (401) children are distressingly lower. The lone bright spot for children of color is that African-American children in Arizona are doing better than their peers in 29 other states.
“This report shows the risks and dangers of poverty and lack of education,” said Joseph Garcia, director of the Morrison Institute Latino Public Policy Center at Arizona State University. “Many Latino families are caught in a cycle of very low incomes limiting educational opportunities and low educational attainment limiting economic success. That means the economic success of all of Arizona is limited,” said Garcia, who serves on the board of Children’s Action Alliance.
“Linking more children with quality preschool jumps out as one key strategy to close the education gap,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance.The report shows very low preschool participation for Latino children in Arizona. Many are already behind their peers when they start Kindergarten and they never catch up. “Through public and community action, we can expand preschool participation and move the needle on our state’s educational and economic future,” Naimark said.