AUSTIN — African-American and Hispanic children in Texas have more barriers to success than their counterparts from other races, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The Race for Results survey, which will be publicly released Tuesday, analyzes the welfare of children of color in the United States and measures education, health and economic milestones by race in every state. The report found that the overall progress of children in Texas is lowest for Hispanic and black children and highest for white and Asian or Pacific Islander children.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation advocates to create better educational, health and economic outcomes for at-risk children.
Black and Hispanic children lag behind in key areas in Texas, such as reading proficiency and family income, according to the report. The reading proficiency of Texas fourth graders was 31 percent. But the score was even lower for black and Hispanic fourth-graders, at 17 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
The report found that Texas is one of the worst 20 states for Hispanic children to live in, and only 36 percent of Hispanic children in the state live in families that earn more than $49,200 per year for a family of four, above the 200 percent federal poverty level.
The report also delved into how immigrant families in the state are faring. In Texas, 2.36 million of the state’s 7 million children live in immigrant families, which are more likely to live in poverty than their peers in U.S.-born families. An estimated 48 percent of children in immigrant families in the state live in poverty, making it more difficult for them to succeed, the report says.
The report makes several suggestions for improvement, including increasing access to health care for underserved families, increasing state funding for schools, ensuring higher education access for students regardless of immigration status, and promoting pathways out of poverty for working families of all immigration statuses.
“For Texas children to reach their full potential, they need lawmakers to craft policies that provide stability and a path to opportunity,” Ann Beeson, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, said in a news release for the report. “Particularly for the over 2 million Texas children in immigrant families, it’s time for constructive policies that welcome immigrants rather than hateful policies that discriminate.”
The left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities is the Casey Foundation’s state grantee for Texas. In its recommendations, the center said the state should prioritize immigration policies that emphasize children’s well-being rather than “anti-immigrant legislation” like the recently passed sanctuary cities ban.
It also recommended that the state defend its 16-year-old legislation that allows unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the state as children to receive in-state tuition at public Texas universities. In recent years, state legislators have proposed doing away with the law, which was the first of its kind in the country.