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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Report: CT child education suffers in pandemic aftermath

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024   

A new report finds the well-being of Connecticut's kids is wavering in the pandemic's aftermath. The state ranks 8th in the Annie E. Casey Kids Count Data Book, up from 9th last year.

While the state advanced kids' economic well-being, progress stagnated in education. Fourth graders not proficient in reading and eighth graders not proficient in math grew exponentially.

Emily Byrne, executive director of Connecticut Voices for Children, said the report's recommendations can improve children's academic performance.

"Ensuring access to low or no-cost school meals, reliable internet connections and a place to study, and time to be with friends, teachers, and counselors," she said. "Another recommendation is around expanding access to intensive tutoring for students who are behind in their classes."

She added improving a family's economic security contributes to a child's learning ability, and said the state should invest in families and children through a state child tax credit. Connecticut's General Assembly considered legislation establishing such a credit during its legislative session. It would have provided families $600 per child for up to three children. But the bill failed to pass.

Another issue Connecticut is dealing with is chronic classroom absences.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said states and schools should track chronic absenteeism as many states don't track this data by grade.

"Good data can lead to good policy," she explained. "So, it's important that states look at chronic absenteeism data that schools collected, they look at it by grade, and they look at strategies that can be deployed that can reduce chronic absenteeism, particularly since it's at an all-time high."

A Connecticut State Department of Education report finds absenteeism declined to 20% from almost 24% in the 2022-2023 school year. This means around 28,000 more students were attending school. Despite this, absenteeism for all students still exceeds pre-pandemic levels.

Disclosure: Annie E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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