National report ranks Idaho near the bottom in education

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Idaho’s kids are doing O.K. in all fields but one: Education.

That’s according to new Kids Count data released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which measures childhood wellbeing based on everything from health insurance coverage to test scores and teen birth rate.

A new dataset released Monday, ranks Idaho 18th for overall child wellbeing, based on data collected through 2017.

In measures like Family and Community, Idaho scored No. 7 in the nation. For Economic Wellbeing, No. 11. and No 23 in the nation for Health.

In education, however, Idaho ranked 39th in the nation. It’s the only measure where Idaho falls in the bottom 25 percent of states.

The ranking is slightly improved from last year, when Idaho was listed as No. 40 in the nation for education.

To determine the state’s education score, Kids Count looked at measures like how many children ages 3-4 are not in school, proficiency in reading and math and the number of students not graduating on time.

Source: Kids Count data center

The percentage of children not in school has remained basically stagnant, compared to data from 2009-2011, according to the report. Idaho is one of few states that does not fund pre-K.

Proficiency in reading and math have varied just slightly, the foundation reports.

In a news release about the Kids Count data, leaders of Idaho Voices for Children pointed out that Idaho’s child population growth “significantly outpaced the national growth average,” climbing some 42 percent since 1990. As the child population has grown, so too has its diversity. In 2017, 18 precent of children were Latino, compared to only 7 percent in 1990.

“Today’s kids will be tomorrow’s community leaders, workers and parents. But are we doing better by children compared to a generation ago?” Christine Tiddens, community outreach director for Idaho Voices for Children said in a news release. “While we have stepped up for our kids in some areas, we have fallen profoundly short in other ways. Notably, Idaho continues to have significant gaps in educational achievement. The future of our state depends on creating opportunity for every child.”

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