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Oklahoma ranks 36th in outlook for children

Editor's note: Check Saturday's paper for a story about an important forum staged at the Capitol this week by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy.

Oklahoma ranks 36th among the 50 states in terms of the overall well-being of children, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Foundation compiles statistics collected nationally to include in an important annual "data book" providing snapshots of how states are doing when it comes to the economic well-being of children, the education of children and factors influencing the overall health of children, their families and communities.

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book was released Thursday.

Oklahoma's ranking of 36th in the overall well-being of children represents an improvement from the state's ranking of 44th in 2010.

"Oklahoma (has) experienced both gains and losses (in terms of) key child well-being indicators in recent years," the report states.

Economic well-being
The state ranked 28th this year in the overall economic well-being of children. Among others, key indicators considered included: 
• Children living in poverty (22 percent);
• Children whose parents lack secure employment (29 percent);
• Children living in households with a high housing cost burden (26 percent);
• and teens not in school and not working (8 percent).
According to most recent data, 209,000 children in Oklahoma are living in poverty. 

Educational well-being
Oklahoma ranked 39th in terms of the educational well-being of children.

"Despite lack of funding and the continued exodus of Oklahoma teachers, Oklahoma saw one of its greatest improvements in ranking in the domain of education," the report states. In 2016, Oklahoma ranked 42nd, but rose to 39th in 2017. The four indicators contributing to the overall education rank included:
• Young children not in school (57 percent);
• Fourth graders not proficient in reading (67 percent);
• Eighth graders not proficient in math (77 percent);
• and high school students not graduating on time (18 percent). 

The Lawton Constitution

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