(09/28/2012)
West Virginia is near the bottom in eduational outcomes in the USA, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count Data Book.

West Virginia ranks 47th in the nation in the report's education indicators.

Nearly four out of five of the state's 8th graders (79%) are not proficient in math, and nearly three out of four 4th graders (73%) are not proficient in reading.

Joining West Virginia in the bottom five nationally are Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico and Nevada.

On a national level, children continued to see setbacks in their economic well-being but have experienced gains in the education and health areas.

The new Data Book indicates kids and families nationwide continue to struggle in the wake of the recession.

In 2010, one-third of America's youths had parents without secure employment - an increase of 22 percent or about 4 million children in just two years.

In West Virginia, 37% of kids had parents without secure employment, a 16% increase or about 22,000 children in the two-year period.

Nationally, from 2005 to 2010, the number of children living in poverty rose by 2.4 million.

"In West Virginia, the effects of chronic poverty are being compounded by years of underinvestment in our youngest children. Our ranking of 47th in the nation in education reinforces KIDS COUNT's constant refrain that now is the time to finally make high-quality, affordable childcare a state priority." said Margie Hale.

"We will continue to face tough budget decisions, but the question we have to answer going forward is: What are our budget priorities?"

"Longitudinal studies have clearly proven that high-quality, affordable childcare has a significant, positive impact on children's school performance and provides a $5.20 return for every dollar the state puts into it."

Unfortunately, West Virginia is not making young children a priority when programs like childcare subsidies for the working poor are being reduced or eliminated. We can and must do better," said Hale.


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