An annual report of child well-being in the U.S. found Washington has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to educating its children from their early years and helping them to graduate high school on time.
The latest Kids Count Data Book, released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked Washington 26th among the 50 states and District of Columbia for student outcomes in education, even as it ranked near the top for measures of children’s health and economic well-being. Despite slight gains in recent years, the report found that 1 in 5 high school students in Washington state still do not graduate on time, and far more than half are not proficient in reading by the fourth grade or in math by the eighth grade.
Almost 60 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in preschool, according to the report.
Overall, Washington ranked 15th for all four indicators of child well-being. It ranked in the top five for child health, which included low birth-weight babies and children without health insurance.
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In a news release, Kids Count in Washington highlighted the disparities in well-being for children of color.
“While the state’s childhood poverty rate has declined by 22 percent from 2010 to 2016, poverty levels among children of color remain much
higher,” the release reads. “Poverty is 71 percent more prevalent among Latino children, for example, than among the general population.”