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Different Meanings of Changing Demographic Data in WA

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under Afterschool and Summer News

Earlier this month, KIDS COUNT in Washington released their new report, “The State of Washington’s Children 2013: Good Data for a Strong Future.”

The State of Washington’s Children 2013” describes how Washington’s children fare in education, health care, and basic needs. It also shares the perspectives of leaders in communities of color to help us understand what this data means for families all across the state.

The report highlights an increasingly diverse Washington State with changing demographics that will make it more important than ever to address the opportunity gap experienced in so many spheres of life.  At School’s Out, we are particularly interested in addressing the educational opportunity gap and increase success for all young people with program targeted to improve positive outcomes for low-income students and children of color.

Vu Le warns that the data grouping of “Asian Pacific Islander” clumps an extremely diverse population together – which may be harmful.

As part of this year’s report, KIDS COUNT in Washington asked leaders in Washington’s diverse communities to describe what the data about our state’s children means to them. The voices of those leaders are featured in the report.

This report and future work that stems from this report will help guide our work at School’s Out and focus in increasing access to high-quality expanded learning opportunities and afterschool programs as a key strategy to closing the educational opportunity gap.

Here’s one quote from a South Seattle leader, Vu Le, Executive Director of the Vietnamese Friendship Association & Chair, Southeast Seattle Education Coalition:

Our state’s Asian Pacific Islander communities are extremely diverse in terms of academic achievement, wealth, and poverty. There are many great things we have in common, and a lot of differences. I am a first-generation Vietnamese American, and I can imagine that my experiences would be somewhat similar to and also completely different from that of my peers from other API communities. The relative success of some API groups can mask the real needs of others. When it hides our communities’ struggles at work, in school, and in other areas, data cannot only be misleading — it can be harmful.”

To read the full report, click here.

KIDS COUNT in Washington is a partnership between Children’s Alliance and the Washington State Budget & Policy Center to help improve young lives. Together, the two organizations gather and analyze the best emerging data on how kids are doing in our state, and then turn that information into action on issues like poverty, hunger, health care, and education. Hundreds of data indicators about the well-being of children are available through the KIDS COUNT in Washington web site: www.kidscountwa.org.

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