By: Ted Lempert Published: January 12, 2022
This year’s Report Card grades California on 32 key children’s issues, from prenatal to age 26, and includes data related to the impact of the COVID pandemic on California kids.
The 2022 Report Card highlights some good news: key areas of improvement in the state’s ability to meet the needs of California’s children with increased funding and policy advances.
For example, state leaders earned an A- for Preschool & Transitional Kindergarten, due in part to a historic down payment towards adding an extra grade for all 4-year-olds by 2025, and an A- for health coverage, thanks to California’s national leadership in ensuring insurance for all children, including undocumented kids.
However, there are far too many low grades in the Report Card this year, including in behavioral health (D+), health care accountability (D-), child care (D+), adults on campus (D), unaccompanied homeless youth (D+), and supports for students in foster care (D), among others.
As we approach the third year of the pandemic, we’re seeing the disproportionate impact it is having on kids, particularly children of color, children growing up in poverty, and children in foster care – many of whom have lost their caregivers, endured months of isolation, and been deprived of basic education and health resources – and the grades in the Report Card reflect this unacceptable situation.
While these low grades are disappointing, we know that California has the ability to improve outcomes for kids when the State puts them first. We’ve seen it before, and the few high grades in the latest Report Card demonstrate that we can do it again. But we need to be consistent.
Now is the time for state leaders to take the bold, long-term steps needed to ensure that every child in California has access to the full range of quality supports that they need to grow up healthy, educated, safe, and prepared for the future.
Let’s work together so that the next Report Card is one we would be proud to see our kids bring home.