Less than one in five third-graders from low-income families score at or above the national average in math, reading and science assessments, and only about half maintain a healthy weight and are in “excellent” or “very good” health.
That compares with about half of children from higher-income families who are scoring above average on standardized tests and 62 percent of children from wealthier families who are in very good health.
Such disparities in early achievement and health are illustrated in a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation called “The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success.” The report, which is being released Monday, tracks children’s well-being across multiple areas and in every state.
The report argues that for all children to have a strong foundation, they need better access to quality early care and education, and coordinated health care and support services for their families.
Policy recommendations include stronger parental leave policies, mental-health services for new mothers and broader access to quality, affordable day care and preschool. <Read more.>