K-12 Assessments Evaluated for Career, College Readiness: Jobs for the Future releases a report analyzing the historical development and current status of K-12 education assessments. The report found that existing assessments do not account for the fact that students more regularly retain information when provided with context or for the increasing importance of college readiness skills.
Rich Giving Less: Compared to previous trends, rich Americans are giving less of their income to charity, while poor and middle-income households are giving more, a study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy finds. Based on an analysis of IRS data on the 30% of taxpayers who itemize their deductions — a group that accounts for 80% of all individual donations — the study found that households earning at least $200,000 a year donated 4.5% less to charity as a share of adjusted gross income in 2012 than they did in 2006, even as total donations by the group increased $4.6 billion, to $77.5 billion. In contrast, those earning less than $100,000 donated 4.5% more of their income in 2012 than before the Great Recession.
Child Mortality Rates Down by Nearly Half: Mortality rates for children under the age of five have declined by nearly half since 1990, a report from UNICEF finds. Committing to Survival: A Promise Renewed finds the child mortality rate fell from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013. The report also found that the total number of under-five child deaths fell from 12.7 million to 6.3 million over the same period. The report noted nearly 2.8 million babies die each year within the first 28 days from causes that can be prevented with simple, cost-effective interventions before, during, and immediately after birth.
Child Poverty Rate Fell to 19.9%: The official poverty rate in the United States was 14.5% in 2013, down from 15% in 2012 — the first year-over-year decline since 2006, a report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 finds that 45.3 million people were living at or below the federal poverty level in 2013. The report also found that the poverty rate among children under the age of 18 fell to 19.9% (14.7 million), from 21.8% (16.1 million) in 2012 — the first decline since 2000. Both the percentage and number of families in poverty fell slightly on a year-over-year basis, from 11.8% (9.5 million) to 11.2% (9.1 million).
States Lack School Emergency Plans: 21 states and the District of Columbia do not meet emergency planning requirements for schools and childcare providers, a report from Save the Children finds. The 2014 Disaster Report Card finds that 29 states met minimum standards drawn from recommendations of the Nat’l Commission on Children in Disasters, which was established after Hurricane Katrina exposed deep weaknesses in the nation’s capacity to protect children from disasters. The report card tracks four standards based on the commission’s recommendations: that states require all childcare providers to have evacuation and relocation plans, family-child reunification plans, and a plan for children with special needs, and that all K-12 schools have a written multi-hazard emergency plan.