Last week, our national partners at First Focus released a report in partnership with Save the Children called America’s Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S. that gave a clear picture on the well-being of children in the U.S. To put it bluntly, we’re not doing well. The report gave an overall grade of a C- based on five “subjects” – economic security, early childhood, K-12 education, permanency & stability, and health & safety. And we know that in our home state, Michigan children are faring just as poorly, if not worse. In fact, according to the national 2012 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Michigan’s overall ranking among other states was 32nd. Are we going to allow Michigan to be in the bottom half of the states in a C- country? Or are we going to demand action by ourselves and our decision-makers to not let that stand?
Our latest Issue Brief – Where Michigan Children Stand This Election Season – compares America’s Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S. with Michigan’s ranking in the national Kids Count Data Book to give us a clear picture. As a state, we MUST do better.
To give you a snapshot:
- Economic Security: U.S. Grade: D/ Michigan’s Rank: 36th
- Early Childhood: U.S. Grade: C/Michigan’s Rank: Tied for 24th in Preschool Access
- K-12 Education: U.S. Grade: C/Michigan’s Rank: 33rd
- Permanency & Stability: U.S. Grade: D/ Michigan’s Rank: Tied for 38th for Confirmed Child Maltreatment
- Health & Safety: U.S. Grade: C+/Michigan’s Rank: 22nd
What does this all mean during an election season? The candidates that we elect will make an impact on child well-being, positively or negatively. The public policies and budget decisions they make must focus on improving the well-being for Michigan children who are most challenged by their circumstance. Children of color and children from low-income families face systemic barriers that do little to promote good health, school readiness, and academic achievement. During this election year, it is critical that candidates who support investments in children are elected into office and we continue to hold those elected officials accountable for helping children and families succeed. America’s Report Card has shown us that as a nation, we’re not doing well by our children. And yet again, the news for Michigan is even more grim.
Elections provide a unique opportunity to change that course, but only if we are all engaged. We can do better and we must expect better from those who make decisions about public programming on our behalf. Take advantage of this opportunity to raise your voice for children, youth and families.