Texas is proud of its record of executions. Apparently their children are of lesser concern, and they rank poorly nationwide.
The Lone Star State ranks in the bottom 10 in the well-being of children. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, in their 2013 ‘Kids Count’ report ranked Texas 42nd, up two from last year’s 44th.
The Baltimore-based organization gathers and analyzes data and statistical trends using an index of 16 indicators in four categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Most of the data for the 2013 report comes from 2011.
Frances Deviney, Texas Kids Count director at the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, said the results are sobering but encouraging.
“We know what works to build healthy, strong and economically secure kids,” Deviney said. “It’s time Texas put kids first by making real investments in their future. Doing the bare minimum will keep our kids in the bottom 10, and that’s not where we want, or need, to be.”
In the four categories, children in Texas rank 30th in economic well-being. It ranks 36th in adequate health care, 31st in education, and 48th in families and communities. Only New Mexico and Mississippi ranked lower than Texas in the fourth category.
“The data in this year’s national Kids Count Data Book reflect child well-being at the end of a period of increased state investments in our kids’ well-being,” Deviney said in a news release. “For many of the data points, the most current data available is from 2011 — the year we decided to make massive cuts to investments in kids’ education and health care for 2012 and 2013.”
Contributing to the poor rankings are the facts that 36 percent of Texas’ children live in single family homes, and 23 percent are in homes where the primary care-giver does not have a high school diploma.
Deviney pointed to positive signs: “More young children are attending preschool, and more eighth-graders are proficient in math. The percentage of children who lack health insurance dropped from 18 percent in 2008 to 13 percent in 2011, and the child and teen death rate dropped, from 33 deaths per 100,000 in 2005 to 26 per 100,000 in 2010. The teenage birth rate improved, from 62 per 1,000 births in 2005 to 52 per 1,000 in 2010.”
On the negative side, in 2005, 25 percent of Texas children lived at the poverty level, the rate is now 27 percent.
“What we’ve noticed is coming through the recession, families in these situations haven’t seen the lift that a lot of others have. In some of our communities here in Fort Worth, the unemployment rate is extraordinarily high,” said Daphne Barlow Stigliano, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth. “There’s a lot of stress, there’s a lot of transition, and they fare worse.”
“Children aren’t faring very well in our community and across Texas. What we see is kids are really suffering before they really get their shot at life,” Stigliano said. “This is something that collectively we all should be concerned about. Children of all circumstances make up our future.”
Texas has scheduled its 500th execution Wednesday. The state leads the nation in executions, averaging 13.5 per year since 1976 when the death penalty was reinstated. And they are proud of the statistic.
This may be one man’s opinion, but it seems to me they should be focusing more on their future than the past. As long as Texas’ children continue to rank poorly in critical categories, the future looks bleak for the citizens of the Lone Star State.
The Guardian Express