The Center for Public Policy Priorities has issued its 2016 State of Texas Children report and it makes for some interesting reading about where our state is headed. The Tea Party dominated Texas GOP leadership is likely to ignore any report from CPPP, but they do so at their peril. Many of the facts are simply undeniable – except of course to our “head in the sand” elected officials. The disservice Texas is doing to its most vulnerable kids will bear some unpleasant fruit.
Fifty percent of Texas kids are Hispanic/ Latino, 33 percent White, 11 percent Black, and 6 percent Asian, multiracial or some other race. Due to lower birth and immigration rates among White and Black Texans relative to Hispanic and Asian Texans, in 2050, the child population is projected to be 61 percent Hispanic, 22 percent White, 9 percent Black, and 8 percent Asian, multiracial or some other race.
One-third of Texas kids (nearly 2.4 million) live with one or more parents who immigrated to the U.S. However, 96 percent of all Texas kids are U.S. citizens.
One in four Texas children live in poverty, and poverty rates for Latino (33 percent) and Black children (32 percent) are nearly three times higher than they are for White (11 percent) and Asian children (12 percent).
Nineteen percent of Texas children live in “high-poverty” neighborhoods, and that share is growing. Thirty percent of Latino children, 23 percent of Black children, seven percent of Asian and four percent of White children live in high-poverty neighborhoods.
Child uninsured rates continue to improve for all racial and ethnic groups, but gaps still remain. Texas has one of the highest uninsured rates for Latino children (15 percent) and for children overall (11 percent).
Reflecting child population trends, Texas public school students are 52 percent Hispanic/Latino, 29 percent White, 13 percent Black/African- American and 6 percent Asian, multiracial or some other race.
Black and Latino students are underrepresented in Advanced Placement math, science and technology courses. Girls are particularly underrepresented in AP Computer Science.
Under any measure of high school completion, rates have improved for all students. However, barriers remain for Black and Hispanic students: 95 percent of Asian students, 93 percent of White students, 86 percent of Hispanic students, and 84 percent of Black students graduate from high school in four years.
Black and Hispanic students are more likely to attend high-poverty school districts. Forty-two percent of Hispanic students are enrolled in high-poverty school districts, compared to 6 percent of White students.
But rather than address real problems, our state leadership spends its time worried about gay marriage (Dan Patrick), fighting efforts to have more Texas children insured (Greg Abbott), suing the Federal government when not busy defending themselves in court (Ken Paxton), making sure that kids have access to donuts and deep fried food (Sid Miller), or just bloviating in general (Ted Cruz).