Top Stories: Texas Ranks Low For Child Well-Being; Challenges For Rural School Districts | KERA News

Top Stories: Texas Ranks Low For Child Well-Being; Challenges For Rural School Districts

Jun 13, 2017

The top local stories this morning from KERA News: Texas came in low among states in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's latest Kids Count rankings, which measures the well-being of children across the country. Texas ranked number 41 overall.

The Kids Count report looks at categories like economics, education and health.

The state's highest rank was in the education category – at number 30 – because Texas does have a higher number of kids who graduate high school on time compared to the national average. 

“Eleven percent of our high school kids didn't graduate on time, but across the U.S., 17 percent didn't graduate on time, so we're really doing okay in that area,” said Kristie Tingle, research analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities.

However, Texas ranked 49th on the number of children with health insurance. 

Tingle said the state also ranked nearly as low in the “family and community category” because a high number of Texas children live in high-poverty areas.

"When kids live in high poverty areas, they typically lack access to good schools, good community resources – all those tools they may need to grow up successfully,” she said.

The Kids Count report also found racial gaps in the well-being of children. African-American and Latino kids in Texas were more likely to live in high-poverty areas.

Other stories this morning:

  • A group of rural school superintendents recently released a report on the state of rural schools in Texas. The goal: identify challenges and best practices for rural districts across the state. The report includes several recommendations – from recruiting educators to addressing teacher isolation. As part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, Justin Martin talked about the report with Roosevelt Nivens, who is the superintendent of Community ISD and who’s also on the Texas Rural Schools Task Force.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.