A nonprofit organization in Alabama has some tough news about kids in Alabama.
VOICES for Alabama’s Children has released its annual Kids Count Data Book, aimed at helping lawmakers and advocates understand the issues facing Alabama’s kids. The report says child poverty is on the rise, with 26.5% of Alabama’s children now living in poverty.
Infant mortality in the state is also high, at 9.1 per 1,000 live births compared to the national average of 5.6 per 1000 live births.
The report doesn’t look much better when it comes to education. As of last year, only 52% of Alabama’s fourth graders met minimum proficiency standards in math, and only 40% met minimum standards in reading.
Rhonda Mann is the deputy director of VOICES for Alabama’s Children. She says those are the state averages.
“But we have a county where only 5.6% of students are reading proficiently. And we have a county where 1% of eighth graders are proficient in math. That’s pretty alarming to me.”
Mann says one way to help those numbers is to expand access to the state’s exemplary First Class Pre-K program. Lawmakers did increase funding last year, but only about 28% of the state’s four-year-olds currently have access.
You can examine the full report here.