Because last weeks Texas/Alaska Politics Trash Children blog generated so much controversy on the social networking sites that hosted it, providing more information about Texas and its ranking among the states in how it treats children is in order. Factually, Texans can’t make the argument that they spend too much money on children by these numbers.

April 2008, Every Child Matters, Geography Matters

Child Well-Being Indicators

Infant Mortality 20th
Child Death (1-14) 29th
Teen Deaths (15-19) 14th
Births to Teen Moms 50th
Late/No Prenatal Care 33rd
Child Poverty 44th
Uninsured Children 50th
Juvenile Incarceration 34th
Child Abuse Deaths 45th
Child Welfare Expenditures 42nd
Total Tax burden* 41st
Overall Rank** 46th

Texas and a number of other states have systematically de-funded or under-funded children’s healthcare, social services, and education. Teachers are forced to be mental health workers and social service providers because of this. In most states there are few amenities for teachers or students.

These states have the mistaken belief that they are saving money by ignoring poverty and abused and neglected youth and then dealing with the crisis when the children have serious problems in school and go on to become preteen moms and adolescent felons.

Today over 75% of children entering New York’s juvenile justice system have drug and alcohol issues over half have mental health problems, and one third have developmental disabilities. The state spends about $210,000 per child annually and 75% of the children are re-arrested within three years (California spends almost $250,000 per youth per year).

A few years ago Missouri had the same problem and solved it by concentrating on reducing confinement, a humane approach to youth combined with the mental health needs of children, and restorative justice.

https://www.invisiblechildren.org/2009/12/14/new-york-meet-missouri/

This study by Harvard identifies the depth of the educational crisis in Texas;

CONFRONTING THE GRADUATION RATE CRISIS IN TEXAS. Daniel Losen, Gary Orfield, and Robert Balfanz. Executive Summary.

http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/dropouts/texas_10-17-06.pdf

As a longtime businessman and volunteer guardian ad-Litem, it is clear to me that children that receive help early on can do well in school and go on to be healthy adults and contributing citizens.

Children that are left to poverty and the the criminal justice system are a problem for schools and our communities. Early childhood programs and investments in schools pay huge dividends (and are the only real answer to the problems we face as a nation).


https://www.invisiblechildren.org/2005/10/12/a-myth-that-will-bring-down-america/

https://www.invisiblechildren.org/2009/03/02/kara-action-group-manifesto-for-early-childhood-education/

https://www.invisiblechildren.org/2009/02/08/mn-early-childhood-summit-speech-david-lawrence/

https://www.invisiblechildren.org/2007/07/04/by-definition/

Here are the responses to this discussion from the Friends Of Texas Linked In Website;

*Texas has low literacy rates and low graduations rates because they have such a large number of illegal immigrants in their schools. Most of their parents don’t care if they learn English or not, as long as the schools babysit them all day. Hooray for Texas refusing those federal funds. The funds come with strings attached and states have to give over even more control to the federal government everytime they take funds. Hooray for Governor Perry!

By Bill Merryman Operations Manager at WorkflowOne

*Abandoning children has severe consequences for a community for many years to come. The U.S. is a nation of immigrants.

We save no money when children don’t have the skills to read or finish school.

Not educating children leaves communities filled with dysfunctional citizens that go on to have more troubled children and families (and ridiculous prison populations).

The U.S. has five percent of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population. Texas is also a national leader in rates of incarceration and crime.

It’s a cycle that has been repeating itself in parts of our nation for some years now.

Here is how Texas treats its children compared to the rest of the nation;This is where Texas rates among the 50 states:

Child Well-Being Indicators

Infant Mortality 20th
Child Death (1-14) 29th
Teen Deaths (15-19) 14th
Births to Teen Moms 50th
Late/No Prenatal Care 33rd
Child Poverty 44th
Uninsured Children 50th
Juvenile Incarceration 34th
Child Abuse Deaths 45th
Child Welfare Expenditures 42nd
Total Tax burden* 41st
Overall Rank** 46th

April 2008, Every Child Matters, Geography Matters

*We Texans need to start loe and its children more, and respecting the needs of our youngest citizens–not trashing those needs!

I must say this–Rick Perry could–if he really wanted to–do a better job as a Native Texan AND as a topmost public servant.

He’s showing to all that he does not love Texas’ children enough to adequately serve them as a responsible, accountable, taxpaid role model.

Once young Texans turn age 18, Perry’s secret desire is to use them as pawns to get himself relected again, and keep self-serving power (much like many anti-American foreign leaders I know) as long as he can in his lifetime–in the hands of a few, immature rich whites–not in the hands of the many, as an American-style democracy such as Texas is suppose to truly have. A Texas high school graduate like Perry is supposed to learn and act respectfully and, in a mature, competent, professional manner, with that acquired taxpaid knowledge, but the actual applying of that knowledge has yet to be seen nor fulfilled during his term of office.
By Steve Spacek Government Consultant/Researcher/Analyst

*Liberal tripe. This post is undoubtedly from a socialist who never read a government subsidy or mandate that they didn’t like. The program this post decries because Texas refused to participate was also deemed unfit by the TEACHERS UNION. If your program is so poor that even a union says it sucks it has to be bad. Ronald Reagan had it right when he aptly stated “Government isn’t the solution to the problems we face, Government IS the problem”. Never more true than it is today.

By George Keesee Supervising Project Controls Consultant

*How bad must it get for childrenving our stat in Texas before the citizens of the state stand up for them?

The economics of uneducated youth failing in school and later in the community cost the state for their entire lives as they become preteen moms and are in and out of jail and never become productive citizens.

The politics of hate are expensive as well as senseless.

To George’s socialist comment; I’ve owned and operated businesses for 35 years, and spent twelve years as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem working with abused and neglected kids and have seen how hard it is for teachers working in underfunded schools in communities with mean people, who when they can’t argue with the data or the facts in front of them, just call you names.

The bottom line is that this nation is great because it had great schools that produced bright citizens that brought us here.

There is little difference between letting bridges collapse into the river because of lack of maintenance (35W Minneapolis MN 2 years ago) and letting children become preteen moms and adolescent felons because the schools and early childhood programs are not supported (Texas).

It costs a tiny percentage of a rebuilt bridge (almost a billion dollars) to maintain it so it doesn’t fall in the river (MN did not maintain its bridge), and if you are up for the challenge, put a pencil to the cost of 20 to 30 years of institutionalization of the massive numbers of felons Texas is home to, add the estimated losses due to crime and violence per felon, and ask yourself if it might not be a better investment to see that children receive an education and become normal productive citizens.

Missouri just went through a similar exercise;

https://www.invisiblechildren.org/2009/12/14/new-york-meet-missouri/

Best wishes
By michael tikkanen Founder at KARA Kids At Risk Action

*I think considering the number of “ILLEGAL” aliens in Texas, we do a pretty good job. I think the stats are skewed due to the illegals. I do not think we,as Texans, disregard any childrens needs. I have had experience where assistance to children is misappropriated by the parents. This is not an easily fixed situation
By Lynn Harris Equipment Sales & Production Consultant

*I beg to differ with Lynn’s statement that Texans don’t disregard any children’s needs.

What is the difference between Governor Bush rejecting federal funding to insure the children of migrant farm workers a few years ago, and this Governor rejecting the funding for all Texas children’s education today?

It is obvious that Governor Bush was willing to let the children of migrant farm workers suffer needlessly to make a political statement.

It is equally obvious that Texas has the worst literacy rates, child abuse death rates, uninsured child rates, child poverty rates, birth to preteen mom rates in the nation, and that Texans would rather keep it that way than help people they see as undeserving lead a better life.

Even if they are babies and very young children.

There is not a religion on the planet that allows the abandonment of children.

Texas, you are better than this.

5 Comments

  1. I agree that Texas needs to pay more attention to the needs of children, especially impoverished children. I feel that the attrition rate in the education systom needs to be addressed as it is directly related to the early years in the classroom. However I will not be politically correct. There are far too many children born into situations where they receive very little nurturing and instruction in appropriate behaviour at home, so they are unprepared to be students in a classroom. This is especially true in impoverished areas. These children enter the school system because the law requires it. They get NO support of their education at home. This feeds into the cycle where the student does not value education because it is not or was not valued at home. Young girls become prgnant because our society and their particular subculture do not value moral teaching, preferring to stress the importnace of “safe” sex. These girls become the mothers of multiple children by various young men who also dropped out of school to persue “other interests” that land them on the welfare line or in jail. We have to consider the social implications and expense of the decline of morality in our country. We took the bibles out of the classrooms and let the drugs, sex and violence in. Certainly poverty breeds poverty, but to expect any state to solve the problem without addressing the overall health of the social norms of the society, the culture and the subcultures is unrealistic. Simply throwing money at it will not substantively change anything.

  2. If we agree that Texas needs to “pay more attention to the needs of poor children”, how is it we end up not agreeing that it takes an investment in children’s education, healthcare, and community?

    It is stunning to me that people who most loudly proclaim their religious beliefs are the same people most unwilling to part with anything to help poor children.

    Texas is one of the states that fought hardest to get sex education out of its schools. It now has more teen pregnancies than any other state in the nation.

    Dan is right about addressing the overall health of the society; and it starts with supporting education and lifting children out of poverty (then there would be fewer preteen moms and adolescent felons in Texas).

  3. If putting this informaiton out there generates controversy, so be it. Hopefully is will generate action. Americans are very good about helping others in a time of crisis, but what is forgotten is our own crisis, caring for our children.

  4. Time to have a reality check. It’s not just Texas that has forgotten about its youngest American citizens, it is the US as a whole. Countries like China and France are putting more monies into Education and development of their most valued “assets”, their children! Technology is the future, the 21st Century is driven by it and will continue to be and w/out the proper learning of said Technology and Math, Science, etc, our country may no longer lead the world in positive growth for the future.

  5. I am really pleasedto see that you are putting so much of effort for encouraging the readers with valueable posts like this, I have sent this post to my twitter account.

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