Mississippi’s Kids count ranking not reason to celebrate

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 26, 2013

For the first time in nearly a quarter-century of existence, a national survey looking at the well being of children says Mississippi isn’t the worst in the nation.

The annual Kids Count study is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Kids Count tracks a number of factors and categories in a state-by-state fashion in an effort to raise the public discussion on issues facing American children.

For the first 23 years of the study, Mississippi has come out dead last. This year, Mississippi is 48th, not 50th.

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While finally not being last may be cause to celebrate in most cases, the stats of the Kids Count remain sobering.

More than one-third of Mississippi high school students were not graduating on time during 2009-2010.

In 2011, eight out of 10 eighth graders in the state were not proficient in math.

Nearly eight out of 10 fourth graders were not proficient at reading.

Approximately one-third of all Mississippi children live in poverty based on 2011 statistics.

Almost half of the state’s children live in single-parent homes.

The roots of these problems often require not just state help, but the assistance of community and faith-based groups, too.

Those are huge red flags that all Mississippians should look at ask ourselves: What can we do to fix this? Our children deserve better.