Kids Count

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The Michigan League for Public Policy released its annual Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, which takes a comprehensive look at 16 indicators of child well-being to see how kids in Michigan are doing.

And according to this year's report, which compiles data mostly from 2006 to 2014, Michigan's kids aren't doing so great.

Nate Grigg / Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to opportunity, growing up in poverty stacks the deck against kids almost more than anything else. 

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s nationwide survey of child well-being, KidsCount's, is out today. Michigan ranks 33rd overall in the measures of economic stability, family and community, health, and education for kids. This is the second year in a row that Michigan has fallen behind, and when you dig into the numbers, it gets worse.

Gabi Menashe / Flickr

The Michigan League for Public Policy released its latest Kids Count report this morning. The report tries to quantify how our state's children are doing, by breaking down dozens of indicators. My colleague Lindsey Smith has the scoop on the overall trends: some education indicators are improving, while poverty rates and neglect cases are on the rise.

User: Guillermo Ossa / Stockvault

The Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at statistics that should tell us something about how kids are faring across the country and in Michigan.  

The foundation looks at things like poverty, teen pregnancy and health insurance coverage to name a few.

If it seems like these reports are always coming out, well, that's partly true. The sheer number of indicators to analyze means that reports trickle out throughout the year. 

Update: Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Yesterday, we looked at 2012's statistics for Michigan.

Annie E. Casey Foundation, Race for Results report


This week, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a national report that caught our eye. 

The report is part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count series. Kids Count tracks a number of indicators – things like birthweight, school test scores, poverty level, and college attendance.

This new report includes 12 indicators in all, and they’ve been combined to come up with an index score for overall child outcomes. Those scores were then broken down by race, and each state was ranked.

For Michigan, there was a surprise. 

Michigan League for Public Policy

The new Kids Count report is out, and things are not looking good for kids in Michigan. You would think with the recession now a few years behind us that economic trends would be on an upswing, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I'll break down the report into three sections: The Good, The Bad, and the Stagnant. 

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

  Today, the state legislature may expand the Educational Achievement Authority, the state run district for failing schools.  Earlier this week it seemed as if a piece of legislation might pass that would keep third grade students from moving on to fourth grade if they failed a high stakes reading test.

A new report by research and advocacy organization Education Trust Midwest was released in an effort to focus legislators attention on some things the group says were missed in the recent flurry of education reform efforts. The group wants to see more of a focus on several things, but the main focus of the report seems to be on:

  • getting teachers ready to implement the Common Core State Standards and the new Smarter Balanced tests that go along with it. The move to the Common Core and the assessment is supposed to begin next year.
  • More state support for a teacher evaluation model  that can be implemented around the state. Right now there is a state model, but it lacks implementation.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

When it comes to making sure kids are at grade level, the U.S. isn't doing so hot. Just a little over a third (36%) of 8-year olds are cognitively on track by the time they reach 3rd grade, according to a new Kids Count analysis by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

When you break it down by income, the numbers are even more staggering: 19% of 8-year olds who come from low-income families (defined as being at or below 200% of the poverty line) have "appropriate cognitive skills," compared to 50% of kids who come from wealthier families.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Lake County in central northern Michigan is the poorest part of the state, with nearly half of all its children living in poverty. That’s according to the latest Kids Count data. So I went north to visit the rural county to see what life is like there for families.

Before I introduce you to some of the current residents of Lake County, there are two things you need to know about the area:

  1. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, with hundreds of lakes and streams and endless acres of forestland. 
  2. Lake County wasn’t always poor. In fact, back in the late 1800s, things were relatively booming.

Here to give us a little history lesson is Bruce Micinski, president of the Lake County Historical Society.

"The first big boom would’ve been the Civil War soldiers...they could get 80 and 160 acres of land from the government," says Micinski. "They were trying to give opportunities to these soldiers in starting up farmland in Lake County."

Photo courtesy of Jacquise Purefoy

The latest Kids Count data show that roughly 11,000 teens gave birth in Michigan in 2010. Statistically speaking, teen parents are more likely to drop out of high school, and their children are more likely to wind up in prison. But it doesn’t have to be like that. For our State of Opportunity project, a former teen mom named Jacquise Purifoy tells us how she was able to defy expectations.

Here's her essay:

Do you remember your first time? I do. I was 13, and I got pregnant the first time I had sex. I was too afraid to tell my mother, four brothers, and even my daughter’s father out of fear of what would happen. That meant no prenatal medicine, no routine doctor’s visits. The night before I gave birth, I went to basketball practice.

On April 8, 1996, my daughter Jasmine was born while I was still in eighth grade at Joy Middle School in Detroit. In the hospital, my mother, who worked as a bus driver for 30 years, made me promise I would graduate from high school and then college. She told me people would expect me to fail, to keep popping out more babies. So I made up my mind then and there to be more than a statistic. My mother and I shook hands on it in the hospital room.