Have a Heart for Kids Day rally, 2015

Racial Equity and Washington’s Children: a Call to Action

Adam 04/01/14

Race for Results cover

The new Race for Results report offers quantitative evidence of the barriers that prevent all our children from grasping the building blocks of success.

Here in Washington and across the country, no single group of children covered by the report—African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latino, or white—is meeting key milestones of child well-being. But children of color, especially, face greater barriers to opportunity.

Race for Results points out that the largest obstacles to future success are faced by African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Latino children. And while Asian/Pacific Islander children score better in the rankings than other children of color, our state’s large Asian/Pacific Islander community contains a diversity of experience.

As noted by KIDS COUNT in Washington, test scores of children of Southeast Asian ethnic groups (e.g. Hmong, Laotian, Vietnamese and Cambodian) tend to be lower than scores by children of Japanese, East Indian or Filipino ancestry. Twice as many Pacific Islander third-graders score below grade level in reading as Asian American third-graders, according to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

What can we do to make sure all children have the means for success? We point policymakers, parents and civic leaders in four directions:

One: Eliminate disparities in access to food/nutrition assistance, for example by restoring equity to our anti-hunger infrastructure;

Two: Close the opportunity gap by putting high-quality early learning within reach of all children ages birth to 5;

Three: Focus on health equity—making sure all kids get the preventive medical and dental care they need;

Four: Back up our commitment to our kids with sound public investments; reform existing tax preferences and adopt new sources of revenue.

America was founded on the proposition that all of us should have the opportunity to achieve. For kids, that means access to education, health care, healthy food and a safe and loving home. Our shared prosperity rests on the investments we make in children today.

To read the Race for Results policy report, click here. To find other key indicators of child well-being on the local, state and national level, go to the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Race for Results is issued with the support of KIDS COUNT in Washington, the Children’s Alliance’s partnership with the Washington State Budget & Policy Center. To get a copy of our latest report, The State of Washington’s Children 2013, click here.