In past reports, the correlations among demographics, education, economics, health and safety have been highlighted. Although these areas are presented in sections, they are all interrelated. The Education Matters Initiative puts much emphasis on Success By 6 because early learning, prevention and intervention are more successful and less costly than at any other time in life.
A decade ago, state demographers warned that population shifts would lead to less prosperity, poorer health and more limited opportunity. Today's kids make up more than one-fourth of Texas' total population. If the socioeconomic factors that are tied to these demographic factors are acknowledged and addressed, the odds for Texas children will be brighter.
Nationally, abuse-related child fatalities and reports of child abuse/neglect have dropped for the fifth straight year. But as previous reports have documented, the Lubbock area consistently has the highest rate of child abuse and neglect in Texas. Texas leads the nation in child abuse fatalities. Ten foster children died under suspicious circumstances in Texas during the fiscal year that ended August 31st. The previous year, two foster children died of abuse and neglect. Furthermore, the U.S. has the worst record of any other industrialized nation, losing five children every day due to abuse-related deaths.
Some good news is that Lubbock County's rate of rape and domestic violence both dropped from 10-year highs. Lubbock was referenced in a report to the Texas Legislature for the formation of a local task force and its assessment of sex trafficking.
For the first time in Texas history, more Hispanic than white students took the SAT last school year. A total of 59,294 Hispanic students took the test in public schools, nearly a thousand more than white students. Texas Education Agency also announced in September that in 2012-13, participation in the college entrance exam by students statewide increased 0.2% from the previous year. Hispanic students have been the majority in Region 17 schools since 1996-97 at 45.7% and statewide since 2001-02 at 41.7%.
The latest U.S. census data show the gap between rich and poor was largely unchanged over the past year, having widened since 2007 to historic highs. The nation's poverty rate remained at 15% in 2012, despite America's slowly reviving economy. More than one in seven Americans live in poverty.
Texas was one of only two states where the poverty rate declined, dropping to 17.9 % in 2012 from 18.8 % in 2011, the highest rate recorded since 2000. The State weathered the 2008 recession better than most states, with the median income rising to $58,016 in 2011. Lubbock County's median income for 2011 rose to $57,727, after dipping to $50,030 in 2009.
Missing so far this year is some information on important indicators and comparisons that is usually included. As of the publication of this report, the most recent health data for year 2010 has not been made available. Also, due to changes in the state juvenile justice data system, data are not currently available for juvenile crime.
As a result of the implementation of new statewide tests that replaced the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), data are not yet available for STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) for school year 2011-12. Results of the spring and summer 2012 end-of-course assessments at the state, region, district and campus levels can be accessed at