By Ken Selvaggi
WAVE 3 Vice President & General Manager
It was disappointing to see Indiana fall closer to Kentucky in the latest "Kids Count" state-by-state look at child well being.
Slightly more than one of every four children in Kentucky and slightly less than one of every four children in Indiana is poor. Overall, Kentucky ranked 35th and Indiana 31st in child well-being.
It is nothing new for both states to rank in the bottom half of all states. It doesn't help that one in five births in Kentucky are to mothers with no high school degree.
A new initiative in Indiana should help end this slide. More than half of the four year olds in Indianapolis Public Schools may enroll in free, full-day preschool beginning this Fall. It is an eight million dollar investment that will pay off. Preparing students for kindergarten and first grade is important to success for them in school.
Kentucky could improve overall child well being by just keeping kids in school. Nearly one in five students in Kentucky miss more than three weeks of school a year. That truancy leads to dropping out which leads to poverty, perpetuating the cycle of poor child well-being.
Improving education outcomes for children in both Kentucky and Indiana will do more in both the short and long term to move both states into the top half of all states in future Kids Count reports.
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