Report: Ga. Makes Slight Gains in Education, Economic Well-Being

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by Martha Dalton—WABE

Georgia has shown improvements in the economic well-being of its residents and in its public education system. But, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual “Kids Count” report, Georgia ranks 42nd among states when it comes to the well-being of its children.

The data show Georgia’s child poverty rate is the lowest it’s been in several years. Its education ranking improved five places — from 39th to 34th.

Rebecca Rice, the Kids Count manager for the Georgia Family Connection Partnership, says there’s still work to do.

“Over the past five years, we’ve seen some significant improvement in reading scores for fourth-graders, which is great,” Rice says. “But we’re still not where we need to be. We still lag the national average a little bit. So, we’re happy to see that improvement, but we need to see some accelerated gains to bring us closer to national averages.”

Only about one-third of Georgia’s fourth-graders showed proficiency in reading on recent national tests. Rice says that can eventually translate to poor math scores.

“As kids get older, there’s a language comprehension component with a lot of math, so they’re related,” she says.

Rice says there are signs Georgia is moving in the right direction. For example, she says, the state switched to a tougher testing system that’s more closely aligned to national exams. Rice says the increased rigor of the new test could help bring scores up over time.

Read the story and listen to the interview with Rebecca Rice, GaFCP KIDS COUNT manager, on