New report finds gaps between African-American, Latino and white students in Indiana

File photo.

INDIANAPOLIS – A new report released Tuesday shows Indiana’s African-American and Latino youth lagging behind their white counterparts in areas of education and economics.

The 2017 Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, commissioned by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked Indiana 36th out of 44 participating states when determining how African-American youth fare. The state was ranked 37th for white students.

In education, the report found about 78 percent of American-American and 71 percent of Latino fourth graders are not proficient in reading in Indiana, compared to 56 percent of white fourth graders.

In eighth grade, the report found about 90 of Indiana’s African-American youth are not proficient at math, compared to 55 percent of white students.

“There’s not a quick fix to this,” Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-Ind.) said in responding to the report’s findings. “This will be so important for us to continue to build partnerships even outside the schools. We need a lot of wrap-around services that extend into families all across the state of Indiana, and we’ll be  focused on that during the upcoming session.”

Additionally the report found minority Hoosier children are more likely to live in high-poverty areas, contributing to a ‘cycle of poverty’ and putting them at greater risks for negative outcomes.

“It’s always concerning when you see a big gap,” Jennifer McCormick said, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. “But we’re trying to close that gap. I do think part of that is going to take more accountability that we’re watching closely.”

A positive indicator, the report found, is that about 55 percent of African-American children between the three and five-years-old are enrolled in either a nursery school, preschool or kindergarten program, the third highest percentage among racial groups in the state.

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