This year’s Kids Count in Nebraska Report featured a commentary debuting our new Index of Race & Opportunity for Nebraska Children. After spending the last 6 weeks introducing the commentary and detailed our methodology, and diving into the 13 indicators by issue area: health, education, economic stability, child welfare and juvenile justice, we will wrap up the series with today’s 7th and final post on this year’s commentary.
After collecting the data for the 13 indicators of child well-being and prediction of future opportunity, we calculated our overall index score to create a measure of opportunity for Nebraska children based on the color of their skin. We expected to see differences in overall scores based on the disparities that we saw when looking at the individual pieces of data, but the actual scores surprised everyone here at Voices. We knew disparities in opportunity existed, but did not expect them to be so extensive.
For a refresher – scores can range from 0 to 100 points. A score of 0 would mean that the racial/ethnic group had the worst outcome for each of the 13 indicators, a score of 100 would mean that the racial/ethnic group had the best outcome for each indicator. No race/ethnicity in Nebraska had a score of 0 or 100.
We could not offer our Index without providing recommendations for solution. We believe that research and data must guide our state and it’s policies. In order to improve the results shared with our Index, Nebraska must:
- Improve collection methods of racial and ethnic data.
- Use the seven steps to advance and embed race equity and inclusion at all levels of policy creation.
- Use data to target intervention and investments to yield the greatest impact.
Nebraska’s population is changing. While the data on disparity and obstacles to opportunity for different racial and ethnic groups is daunting, it must be confronted. The racial disparities highlighted in this report show an urgent need to act and work to remove barriers to opportunity for all of Nebraska’s children. If Nebraska is to remain a strong and vibrant state into the future, we need to take steps now to eradicate these disparities and move forward in advancing equality. Many organizations have been and continue to work tirelessly to address and correct the barriers children of color face. We honor their diligent work and commit to joining them in their efforts. We contribute this Index of Race & Opportunity as a mechanism for compiling data and measuring the progress of all children on their path to a lifetime of success.
This year’s Index of Race & Opportunity is not the last for Voices, but rather the first of what will become an annual update to the Kids Count in Nebraska Report so that the efforts of advocates, families, and communities to ensure that every child has an equitable chance for opportunity and success can be monitored for years to come.