Education

In the work that we do, it is imperative that we use data to inform our decisions and help children and their families access the resources they need. But with so many different tools and resources, it can be hard to find trusted information. That’s where the Data Center comes in. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Center contains thousands of child well-being indicators related to education, poverty, health and youth risk factors. By being able to filter by state, city, county and congressional district, users are able to access data that is relevant in their communities. Visit the Data Center today to enact change.

Here are some examples of the data tools you can find at the Kids Count Data Center.

 

 

 Visit the Kids Count Data Center to find data you can share and embed on your own website!


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in News & Blog

state general funding per student lower than 2008 in 25 statesMost states, including Utah, provide less per-pupil funding for K-12 education now than they did before the 2008-2009 recession, according to a report titled, “Most States Have Cut School Funding, and Some Continue Cutting” by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Their findings echo those reported by Voices for Utah Children in the Utah Children’s Budget Report.

After the recession, property values dropped, making it hard for local school districts to raise significant revenue through local property taxes, but there was an “even steeper fall in state funding.” Meanwhile, the child population continued to grow.

The most recent data, for the 2016 school year, show that 25 states are offering less per-pupil general formula funding that in 2008. (General formula funding is the primary state funding source for schools.) In Utah, general formula funding per student has dropped by 9% since 2008. Only seven other states had a bigger drop in general formula funding than Utah.

But can’t we just do more with less? The authors point out that the data suggest otherwise:

“As common sense would suggest, money matters for educational outcomes. For instance, poor children who attend better-funded schools are more likely to complete high school and have higher earnings and lower poverty rates in adulthood.”


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

Published in News & Blog
September 19, 2016

The Race for 49th Place

Utah has been the state with the lowest per-pupil spending on K-12 education since 1988, but in 2015, when Voices for Utah Children released the Utah Children’s Budget Report, we found reason to hope. 

“The gap between Utah and Idaho has been closing steadily since 2010,” we reported. “If the current trend continues, Utah will displace Idaho in 49th place in the national rankings when new national data are released.” Reference A 

Although 49th place didn’t seem like too ambitious a goal to shoot for, a year later, we are sorry to report that we didn’t overtake Idaho for their prized 49th place ranking. Utah remains at 50th place in per-pupil K-12 education spending—51st, if you count Washington DC. Reference B 

There’s nowhere to go but up.


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog

"The reality is an absence is an absence, excused or not, and that child is not in that classroom benefiting from the instruction on that day. We have to work in our community, with our schools and our families to build a culture of attendance," said Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Policies that help parents keep kids in school include:

  • Family leave for parents
  • Effective transportation systems
  • Attention to bullying
  • Collecting the right data and working with families to identify barriers to school attendance

Learn more about encouraging school attendance by watching Reducing Chronic Absenteeism: Every Day Counts, a video featuring Utah students, and by reading this Voices for Utah Children Report: Attendance and the Early Grades: A Two-Generation Issue.


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog
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This op-ed by Voices for Utah Children State Priorities Partnership Director Matthew Weinstein first appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on June 18, 2016.

It is often said that Utah and Colorado are peer states, a pair of high-altitude economic powerhouses competing to attract the same growth-minded businesses and mobile workers in search of the best quality of life. What lessons can we learn from Colorado, and what can they learn from us?

The two states have many economic similarities — rapid growth, young populations, high household incomes, low poverty and unemployment rates, strong business climate rankings. But where do the similarities end? And which is better poised for stronger growth going forward? Our children's futures depend on being able to answer these questions and learn lessons from peer states like Colorado.

Earlier this month, Voices for Utah Children released the first half of our two-part comparison of Utah and Colorado, comparing the two states for 21 measures of economic opportunity. The results shed light on these questions and include a lot of good news for Utah, as well as some caution signs — and at least one "red alert" warning.

Utah ranks among the very best states in the nation for our low level of income inequality and high rate of intergenerational social mobility. A child growing up in a lower-income family in Utah has a better chance than elsewhere of making it into the middle class. This is thanks to a combination of factors, including our strong commitment to equalizing educational revenue among the wealthier and poorer areas of the state, our success at preventing geographic concentration of poverty, the highest rate of two-parent families in the nation, and our strong charitable and religious institutions that do such a great job of mobilizing volunteers to help neighbors in need.

While Colorado ranks more in the middle of the pack for income inequality and social mobility, our neighbor to the east shines when it comes to educational attainment, with one of the highest rates of bachelor's degrees in the nation. In 2014, 39.4 percent of Colorado adults age 25-64 had a bachelor's degree, nearly 8 points above the national average of 31.5 percent. For historical perspective, in 1990 Colorado's lead over the nation for bachelor's degrees was only 6.5 percentage points.

By this very important metric, unfortunately, Utah's trend is in the opposite direction. In 1990 we led the nation by 1.3 percentage points for bachelor's degrees. But our lead has been steadily diminishing since then, and in 2014, for the first time on record, Utah fell behind the nation for bachelor's degrees among adults age 25-64. Moreover, data for millennials — adults age 25-34 — indicate that this trend will only worsen in the years to come.

This is the red alert warning mentioned above. Falling behind on college degrees could have grave consequences for Utah's ability to grow good jobs and compete for high-wage industries in the years to come. We already lag far behind Colorado in worker productivity — by nearly $10,000 per worker — which is the economic basis for wages and standard of living.

If there is one glimmer of hope for Utah in the college comparison, it's that, even after all the budget cuts and tuition hikes of the last decade, we continue to invest more than Colorado in our public universities — $7,752 per student vs. $4,754. That helps keep tuition 35 percent lower in Utah than next door, though at $6,363 on average, it is still 37 percent higher than before the Great Recession.

But the investment edge that Utah enjoys in higher ed vanishes at the early end of public education. Not only do we invest less per pupil in K-12 than any other state, including Colorado, we are weakest when it comes to pre-K and kindergarten. Only 13 percent of our 4-year-olds attend public pre-school vs. three times that in Colorado. And a similar share attend full-day kindergarten here vs. 74 percent in Colorado.

And while we find good news in the 4th and 8th grade NAEP math and reading assessments, where Utah's performance jumped sharply to 14th place in 2015 from 23rd in 2013, we remain far behind when we adjust the scores for demographic differences. Our demographically-adjusted NAEP ranking only improved from 47th place to 44th, while Colorado fell from 12th to 22nd.

As Utah builds on our many assets and grapples with our challenges in the years to come, we believe this benchmarking information can contribute to understanding why we are succeeding and how we can ensure our continued success in the years and generations to come. 


Read the complete reports here:

A Comparative Look at Utah and Colorado:


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog

dreamstime s 40303844 working mom baby cropped verticalThe goal of the Working Families Benchmarking Project is to identify a variety of economic trends affecting working families across Utah, and then to examine those issues through a comparative lens, evaluating Utah’s overall progress by using a peer state as a benchmark. Colorado was chosen for this inaugural edition, in part for its geographic proximity to Utah — and thus relatively similar regional identity — as well as for its comparable rates of economic and population growth, demographics, and policy challenges.

Many existing economic comparison studies and rankings look at the economy as a whole or at its impact on specific sectors or on employers.  This project seeks to augment those very useful comparisons by focusing on how the economy is experienced by middle and lower-income families. In particular, it is these families whose children are most at risk for not achieving their potential in school and later in the workplace and in society in general.  Thus, how they experience the economy is of particular interest to Voices for Utah Children.   

In Part I of the Project, we focus on economic opportunity. The dynamism, flexibility, and competitiveness of a state’s economy is a major contributor to economic opportunity, so we look at this topic through a wide range of metrics, from business climate and entrepreneurship rankings to educational attainment and demographic gaps.  

Utah ranks ahead of Colorado in:

  • colorado is ahead of Utah GDP but Utah is closing the gapBusiness climate rankings
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth
  • Lower unemployment
  • Labor force participation
  • Higher education system investment
  • Referring fewer minority youth to the correctional system
  • Reducing inequality and increasing social mobility

Colorado outpaces Utah in:

  • Pre-K and kindergarten enrollment
  • K-12 investment and performance
  • Higher education attainment
  • Workforce productivity
  • Entrepreneurship
  • The status of women in the economy

working families benchmark utah colorado

The gaps in educational attainment are perhaps the finding
of greatest concern for Utah’s long-term future.

education rankings Utah and Colorado 10124 image001

Utah fell behind in college degrees

Since education is the foundation of opportunity and prosperity in a modern economy, Colorado’s success in educating its population and attracting highly educated migrants from other states may well hold lessons for Utah. Utah is wise to invest more that Colorado in higher education to attempt to make up this gap and should apply a similar lesson in the area of pre-K-12 funding.

As Utah builds on its many assets and grapples with its challenges in the years to come, we hope that this benchmarking project may contribute in a constructive way to the broader economic policy conversation among experts, policymakers, and the general public.  

For more detailed information, see the complete printer-friendly report:

benchmarking utah colorado cover 1
pdf Working Families Benchmarking Project Part One: Economic Opportunity

These measures of economic opportunity also relate directly to the questions we address in Part 2: Standard of Living.

 

 

 


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog

Love UT Give UT is Thursday, March 31 and we need your help!

Donate Now

Nelson Mandela way it treats its childrenPublic policies affect children—but children don’t vote. At Voices for Utah Children, we raise our voices on behalf of children, informing policymakers that government can and should act to keep kids safe and help them succeed.

Voices for Utah Children actively seeks grant money from children’s foundations to support our research and educational efforts, but most grant funding cannot be used for lobbying. Voices for Utah Children needs donations from community members to fund staff time at Capitol Hill—where we put our knowledge about children into action by supporting legislation that protects and invests in children.

Your support was crucial to the successful legislative session we just completed. Because of your donations, Voices for Utah Children won important victories benefiting Utah children and families:

  • Additional money for quality preschool for 4,000 children;
  • Removal of the 5-year waiting period for legal immigrant children to help 1,000 children enroll in CHIP and Medicaid;
  • Expanded Medicaid coverage to 3,800 parents in poverty;
  • The first CHIP and Medicaid outreach funding since 2007 to support the Department of Health’s efforts to reach and enroll eligible Hispanic families.

Utah’s statewide day of giving is Love UT Give UT on March 31. Your tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children goes even further during the Love UT Give UT campaign. Generous donors may match your donation and if Voices for Utah Children is among the Utah charities that receive the most donations of at least $10 each from different individual supporters, we could win up to $10,000 to support our mission.

In this video, a Utah child explains some of the victories Voices for Utah Children has won for Utah kids. Help us keep speaking out for the next generation of Utah kids. Donate by March 31 to Voices for Utah Children through Love UT Give UT at http://bit.ly/loveUTchildren

Video: A 10-year-old explains why you should support Voices for Utah Children

Donate Now

 


LUGU Logo 1March 31, 2016 is Love UT Give UT!

It’s a day for Utahns to give to the nonprofits that make Utah special. Every donation to Voices for Utah Children through Love UT Give UT gives Voices a chance to win matching grants and prizes.

And you don't have to wait!  Donate now at http://bit.ly/loveUTchildren.

For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex

Published in News & Blog