Teacher Lawana Nelson teaches preschoolers Marissa Arellano, left, and Andrea Castaneda how to snap their fingers during the afternoon session at Options Head Start in Monrovia on Thursday, May 16.
A study out Monday shows that more children nationwide are living in poverty than previous years, with California kids faring particularly poorly. The 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book ranks California’s children 41st out of the 50 states in overall well-being.
The statistics are from an annual study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation examining how children nationwide are faring in terms of health, education, family, community and economic well being. The foundation gives each state a score in each area and combines them for the overall rankings.
Children in California ranked 46th out of 50 in terms of economic well being. Casey officials said one big reason is high housing costs. The foundation said that affected almost half a million children.
Another is unemployment. One in three children live in households where adults lack secure employment.
California ranked 39 out of 50 states in the area of education, which evaluates preschool attendance, graduation rates and reading and math proficiency. The statistics show that 75 percent of California’s fourth graders are not reading at grade level, and a similar percentage of eighth graders are not proficient in eighth grade math.
The study also found that more than half a million three- and four-year-olds in California do not attend preschool. Kris Perry, executive director of the early childhood advocacy group First Five Years Fund said those numbers are “disheartening" and “reinforce the need for investments in high-quality early childhood education."
Casey gave New Hampshire the No. 1 ranking among states and New Mexico the worst.