A Voice For Arizona’s Children For More Than 25 Years
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National “Race for Results” Report Finds Barriers to Educational Success Loom Large for Children of Color, Children in Immigrant Families

October 24, 2017

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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 www.aecf.org/raceforresults/.  Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/. 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 datacenter.kidscount.org.

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 www.azchildren.org.
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 www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.