Report: Black children lag in overall well-being

Michigan ranks slightly below the national average in the overall well-being of its white children and lags significantly behind most of the nation in how black children are faring, according to a report released Tuesday.
AP Wire
Apr 1, 2014

The private Annie E. Casey Foundation released the report, titled "Race for Results" as well as "Kids Count" reports, with reams of state-specific data. The foundation says Michigan has the third-lowest score for the overall well-being of black children. White kids ranked 32nd out of 50.

The study examines 12 indicators to determine the rankings, including reading and math proficiency, high school graduation data, teen birthrates, employment prospects, family income and education levels, and neighborhood poverty levels.

"The ... data paint a very distressful picture about all children in Michigan," said Tonya Allen, president and chief executive of the Detroit-based Skillman Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve the lives of youth in the city.

The report's national average for white children was a composite score of 704. Michigan's average is 668. The overall well-being for black children in the state is 244, one point better than Mississippi and higher than Wisconsin's 238. The national average for black children is 345.

"We are third from the bottom in terms of overall well-being, and we're one point away from Mississippi," said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, of the Michigan League for Public Policy and project director for Kids Count in Michigan. "You think of the implications of that, and it's pretty sobering."

American-Indian, Hispanic and children of Asian and Pacific islander descent in Michigan ranked above the national averages for their ethnic groups.

Zehnder-Merrell notes the correlation between both white and black children in Michigan coming in below national averages and the economic meltdown that crippled the state several years ago.

"We've seen a huge increase in child poverty," she said. "People who lost their jobs can't find jobs that pay anywhere near what their former jobs have paid."

Allen said a stronger education policy is needed at the state level to address achievement gaps between white, black and Latino students.

But the state has not been standing pat, the Department of Human Services told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Officials there pointed to a program that puts DHS workers in more than 160 schools across the state to help make sure students get to — and stay in — class.

Since Pathways to Potential was launched in 2012, school attendance has improved and chronic absenteeism is coming down, DHS said in an emailed statement.

DHS workers "help keep small problems from becoming bigger problems, leverage resources and work with community agencies to help children and their families, especially those in poverty," the agency said.



Turn this State blue and conditions will get better. The war on the poor is real and the party of hat has their head in the sand. Governor Snider has taken money from the middle class and put it in the pockets of the rich. Most local governments are Republican and will not spend any money helping the people. Bring back the Jobs and the wages and yes the Food stamps. Above all stop preaching the Hate.

Tri-cities realist

Yep, just look to Detroit to see what local democrat "leadership" will get you.


I agree with you about Detroit, except for the fact that the real problem was high pensions and low employment. (not Democratic ideals) Greed hurts every one That is why we must all work together for all the people.


Yep, those poor progressive liberals were bullied into turning a city and it's industries into shambles by republicans who had little to no say in any of the city’s business and governing for around 60 years... There is no shame in recognizing your party of choice has become corrupted, the T.E.A. party was formed mostly out of disgust for the corrupted progressives not to vote out democrats so spit out the Kool-aid and focus on men of character who will do the will of the people and not a party.


I'm wondering why you are not responding with another one of your inspiring Christian sermons, quoting scripture and espousing on your religious views in an article about impoverished, or perhaps even homeless, children; the increase in numbers of these disadvantaged children since the very brutal Bush recession and the increase in MI unemployment and steady MI corporate movement of jobs overseas (especially those corporations that were granted many tax subsidies and incentives over the years); and your apparent lack of empathy or understanding of who did what or who caused that, and certainly not for the children.

Perhaps a word of prayer is in order?

Also, you should know that the TEA party was founded as a bogus astroturf movement that the uber-billionaire Koch Bros founded, funded, and run, using unsuspecting citizens as their schmucks to help impose their corporate greed, self-interest, and obsessive need for political control, power, and influence over US public policy and Democracy.


I'm wondering why you would call me a Schmuck because we’re all Schmucks!
I was responding to the ignorant idea that republicans ruined the city of Detroit because they gave the Democrats the ideas and of course they could not resist but do the bidding of the minority no legislative authority at all republicans more than 60 years ago.


I wouldn't dream of calling you a schmuck. I said that the founders/funders of the Tea Party - the Koch Bros - are using unsuspecting citizens as schmucks. If you are a member of the Tea Party, I am calling you an unsuspecting citizen - especially based on your original comment. I'm suggesting the founders of the Tea Party consider you a schmuck.

I would like to address the rest of your reply to me, but I don't understand what you are trying to say. Please re-state, if possible.


Sure Lani, blame the Koch brothers for everything and site a lib. piece of garbage like the huffypost to make your point. Remember, while you're blaming BUSH, JENNY was in charge of our house...she did a bang-up job!!!


I'm afraid you misread me. I said the Koch Bros were the founders, funders, and drivers of the Tea Party, and offered a Huffpost link that shows the facts and copies of documents to prove this.

The Recession of which I speak did indeed begin under Bush, was a direct result, in part, of Bush administration policies, and there are literally hundreds of facts, charts, statistics, and economic indicators that prove this.

As to your mentioning that Governor Granholm did a bang-up job, I will assume you are being sarcastic and actually mean the opposite, and ask you to provide some facts via links to support your claim.

Back to the Wall

Nice try, Lani, but you either forgot or never learned the history of Coleman's Fair City. Detroit's problems are economic, but they grew out of racial discord.

"That city" was in shambles long before any Bush was elected. You'll need to look back to the 1930s and 1940s to realize the racial discord was not native to the area. It oozed up Highway 23 with the wartime victims of the New Deal who were looking for a way out of the poor, rural, democratic south.

The racial segregation was brought in by poor white southern democrats who escaped the coal mines and cotton fields only to find they had to share busses and drinking fountains with "colored folk". So they settled in the southwestern suburbs, setting the stage for one of the most segregated metropolitan areas in the world.

By 1974, the City was in serious decline, and Mayor Young (d) turned that decline into a vicious chum that enraged generations of citizens - pitting black against white. Remember "Murder City USA"?

This cleavage manifested in white flight, further eroding the city's tax base, luring business to the suburbs, and the once fair city began to eat itself from the inside.

Please remember and never forget that it was the Democratic party that resisted emancipation only 150 years ago, and it was Democratic run state governments that tried to keep black Americans less than second class citizens a short 50 years ago, tried to keep them from arming themselves in 1968 (staurday night special is a racist term) and it is the Democratic party today that wants to foster an environment of victimhood, supposes people can't care for themselves, and casts blame on wealthy Bogeymen (koch bros, anyone?).


Thanks for the details highlighting the events that have added to those that began Detroit's spiral. My intent was not to ignore the racial factors, but to counterbalance the incessant knee-jerk approach to Detroit's problems by mentioning some of the other forces that played into the current situation.

My point is this: When it comes to Detroit, we shouldn't indulge ourselves into diminishing the many factors that helped to create Detroit 2014. It isn't just a race problem or a Democrat leadership problem, but is a deeply complex one that requires - as you point out - a study of the history of Detroit. Maybe we as a Nation can learn something from it, and put that knowledge to good use in future.

(Remember that those Southern Democrats that resisted emancipation 150 years ago are also the ones that turned Republican after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, quicker than you can say the Confederacy. And also, while we're at it, it was the Republican Party that promoted Women's Rights for decades, but who now are attempting to erode women's right on a nearly daily basis - things change).

My comments about the Koch Bros are based on months of research, are not something I say lightly or as some stupid opinion. The Koch Bros have spent an enormous amount of time, energy, and money to create, fund, and promote an unprecedented, massive tangled network of conservative associations, think tanks, super PACs, 501(3)c's/501(4)c's, alliances, and cover groups with the sole purpose of promoting, influencing, and manipulating public policy, politicians, and local, state, and federal governments.

It's all out there to read - I dare ya. Am I casting blame on the Koch Bros? You're damm right I am!

Tri-cities realist

Perhaps you could apply the same approach to Detroit democrats that you do to Bush, or vice versa. But then that would require consistency.

Barry Soetoro



I would if there were grounds, but so far in my studies, I haven't found the following:

1. A democrat administration that entered into (2) major wars within about a year of each other.

2. A democrat administration that issued deep tax cuts just when the expensive, unfunded wars began.

3. A democrat administration that presided over all 50 states simultaneously entering into bankruptcy.

4. A democrat president that entered office with a criminal record.

I could go on, but you catch the drift. Or at least you should. But that would then require consistency on your part.

Tri-cities realist

Yep I catch your drift. But as usual, either I wasn't clear or you chose to ignore what I said. You stated that Detroit's condition can't merely be blamed on democrats, it is more complex according to you. However you consistently blame Bush for the recession and the wars. I was merely pointing out that consistency would require you to accept that the recession was more complex than "blame bush". And that bush did not start wars all on his own, remember the congressional authorizations? Again, more complex than just blaming one man. Comprende?

And regarding #3. I totally missed that one. I would have thought I would have heard about "all 50 states simultaneously entering into bankruptcy." When did that occur? Links please.

Perhaps your studies should include other sources than the daily kos and such.


The T-party is bad for America. Spreading hate, Fear, lies and racism. They killed a once good Republican party.


How do you go from children/school problems to high pensions and low employment. Way to twist the issue to make your point. It is in fact the Democratic ideals of "make the govt. fix the problem" that has caused Detroit schools and children issues. The inner city (Democractic Based) schools never want to take the blame for anything. It's always "THE MANS" KEEPING ME DOWN. But yet they do little or nothing to help the problem. Don't see any lilly white school districts with emergency managers.


Tri-Cities Realist: Am I correct in understanding that you blame only "local democrat "leadership"" for Detroit's problems - what most knowledgeable people will tell you are very serious, complex, multi-faceted, arising over a half century, and influenced by not only political leadership or corruption, but by Corporate, Union, and US Car Culture influences?

How wonderful it must be to have the mental ability to reduce a complicated problem into such a simplistic, shallow explanation!


Detroit and the US in general is spiritually sick, so many coveting power over their fellow man, Greed, Graft, Self-Serving politicians sucked the life out of Detroit and in this case they have been Democrats but I suspect if needed to make a sweet power grab they would become republicans in a heartbeat. Not to suggest that Republicans are less full of Greed, Graft and Self-Serving desires I often make it clear I find little solace nor trust in either party. Both parties are drunk with power and have corrupted themselves. Kwame Kilpatrick got caught up in the graft, people looking the other way, special favors not afforded anyone but the power circle, it’s the culture of politics in Detroit and many other places where there is big industry there is big money but the Auto manufacturing machine could no longer sustain the smoke screen and we now see the dank underbelly of modern politics at play, this is not a Detroit issue it is systemic spiritual issue within we the people.
The “real” victims in all of this can be found all over Detroit and this nation existing within the endless blocks of squalor where living among garbage and rats becomes the new normal. Their faces fixed with sorrow and hopelessness and at what gain….for whom?...for sweet retirement deals in exchange for Union votes?...for more $1.00 a block deals for only the developers in the power circle? So they condemn a few houses…they’ll find some other hole to crawl into. and there must be a way to blame Bush cause even though we treat people like cattle we still need their votes so tell the poor and hungry go knock on Bush’s door, that will bring peace to their spirits and line them up to vote for us again!. Enough finger pointing, it will not feed the hungry nor clothe the poor; you sit resolute claiming no responsibility because the other kid broke the lamp and we found blameless with nothing is required of us… WE voted for Mr. Right…

Back to the Wall

You, sir, have won the innernetz. Well done.

Tri-cities realist

Yes the depravity of democrats can run quite deep

Tri-cities realist

Nope. I don't only blame the local democrat leadership. I also blame the unions, although that is redundant. And yes I place some blame on the auto companies for accepting union contracts that were sure to lead toward insolvency due to unaffordable pay, pensions, and benefits. There, I placed blame on private companies, I wonder if I'll live to see you ever blame a democrat for anything bad happening. Definitely not holding my breath.

Tri-cities realist

"Allen said a stronger education policy is needed at the state level to address achievement gaps between white, black and Latino students."

I can understand why a gap would exist for Latino students whose first language may not be English. Are teachers teaching differently to different races? I doubt it. So what could be the cause for the disparity? And I hope she intends to close the gap by bringing the bottom up, not by bringing the top down. Must be we need to spend more money on education, hasn't spending more worked well for us in the past?


Because there is a great socio-economic divide between blacks and whites in Michigan in general. The same thing is happening in Chicago on a much greater level.

Do you think teachers are robots and that every classroom functions the same regardless of class makeup, school location or teacher effectiveness?

The fact is, it is not a race issue, but the blacks happen to make up a large portion of impoverished and "dangerous" areas. As such, the education system in these areas does not compete with others throughout the State.

Simply throwing money at the problem solves nothing.

Tri-cities realist

To answer your question, no. Thank you for making my point, perhaps I could have been more clear and less sarcastic. I agree 100% with your last sentence.

So if this issue is about improving student achievement, why do some continue to insist on bringing race into the conversation? Shouldn't we focus on improving performance, regardless of race? No sarcasm here.

Tri-cities realist



We bring race into the conversation because race clearly affects student achievement. This is NOT to say that African-American students have a diminished capacity or motivation to learn.

You said, "Are teachers teaching differently to different races? I doubt it." Don't doubt it. Unfortunately, there are plenty of racist teachers. On top of that, there is clear evidence of discrimination in schools, particularly in discipline. A Department of Justice study recently concluded that African-American students -- on average -- suffer stiffer punishments for similar infractions, and are suspended at much greater rates for similar violations than are whites. Again, that is not to say that all administrators are clandestine KKK members, but clearly racism is influencing decisions.

Other studies have shown that schools with majority-minority student bodies offer fewer AP/IB programs and classes, limited the opportunity for those students to earn college credits before graduation. Because of the de facto segregation of American life, schools nationwide are more segregated by race today than they were when Brown v Board was ruled upon sixty years ago. African-American students tend to live in higher-poverty areas, with poorer schools. Poverty -- not race, but poverty -- links to higher truancy rates and discipline problems, because parents are too busy working multiple jobs or odd hours to keep a close eye on their children. Poverty also means poorer school districts, who pay less and offer fewer benefits. Thus, the people who wind up teaching in poorer districts are often not the top students in their teacher-prep programs. There are some who take such jobs because they want to transform the lives of impoverished kids, but others take such jobs because they are the only places that are still hiring, since turnover is extremely high in poor schools.

Is more money a perfect fix? Of course not. However, it'd be progress if the Muskegon districts of the state were given MORE per pupil than the Farmington Hills districts, rather than less. Our public policy sends a message: poor (and thus, often, minority) kids are worth less to Michigan than affluent, suburban (mostly white) kids, who already have numerous advantages.


you can't fix lazy and bad parenting. maybe if we increase their welfare amount they will become better parents and role models to their kids....


I see racism in your statement. The truth hurts. People like you are what hurts America.


i see you're the excuse maker, was that racist?


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.