Updated Data Highlights Whole Child Success in All 50 U.S. States
Alexandria, Va. —ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, has released updated Whole Child Snapshots for each of the 50 U.S. states to display the progress our nation has made in supporting the whole child as well as the areas where negative trends have continued. The snapshots encompass various stages of a child’s development, from prekindergarten through postsecondary education; provide a picture of child success and well-being that extends beyond academic performance; and reflect the collaboration and shared responsibility of families, schools, communities, and policymakers in supporting the whole child.
“The Whole Child Snapshots are intended to highlight how well children are faring, both in and out of school, in each state,” said David Griffith, ASCD director of public policy. “The nation has mixed results, with some encouraging signs of progress alongside some persistent challenges. We want to work with educators and the public to put in the place the strategies to best meet the comprehensive needs of children.”
The snapshots do not rank or grade states but instead provide data points aligned with each of the five whole child tenets―which contend that each student must be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged―so that each state can measure its individual progress and compare its successes and challenges to the other states and to the nation as a whole. A sampling of the national data shows that
- The nation’s 81 percent high school graduation rate is the highest it’s ever been.
- 40 percent of the nation’s children have a parent or caregiver with at least two years of college education—a 2 percent point increase compared to the previous year.
- 22 percent of the nation’s children live in poverty, which is defined as an annual income below $23,624 for a family of four.
- 30 percent of high school students are overweight or obese.
- The national student-to-counselor ratio increased from 471 to 1 in 2010–11 to 482 to 1 in 2012–13. Only three states meet or surpass the recommended ratio of 250 to 1.
The snapshots do not end with the data, however, and include action steps for state leaders and citizens to improve the well-being and educational achievement of their students. The next steps provide suggestions related to each of the five whole child tenets and include ideas such as regularly assessing school climate, supporting parent education and family literacy programs, and establishing multimetric accountability systems.
“Each snapshot includes recommendations for supporting the ASCD Whole Child approach because it is essential that we think clearly about the practical applications of this important data and don’t hesitate to take decisive action,” said Griffith. “We encourage educators, families, and the public to use the included suggestions as first steps toward improving their community’s approach to whole child education.”
To view the full Whole Child Snapshots for all 50 states, visit www.ascd.org/wholechildsnapshots. The 2014 snapshots are also accessible to show the performance of the nation and each state over time. For more information on ASCD’s 2015 public policy priorities and legislative agenda, visit www.ascd.org/policy. You can also find out more about ASCD's other programs, products, services, and memberships at www.ascd.org.