ROC The Future, a community-wide alliance of organizations designed to improve academic achievement for Rochester’s youth, released it’s 2016 “State of Our Children” report card Oct. 25, which showed 92 percent of four-year-olds are enrolled in pre-kindergarten this school year.
The number is down slightly from the group’s 2015 report, which found that 95 percent of four-year-olds had been enrolled in pre-K at the time; however, according to the 2016 report, the number of chronically absent students in grades K-3 has also fallen, from 30 percent in 2015, to 28 percent in 2016, and the number has decreased slightly in secondary schools as well.
“As a result of our collaborative effort, chronic absence during the 2015-16 school year improved from 30.1 percent to 27.6 percent for K-3 students, and reduced to 32.7 percent for the district overall,” the report stated.
There was also a slight decrease in the number of children born to mothers who received early prenatal care, which fell from 72 percent in 2015 to 71 percent in 2016, while the graduation rate remained flat, at 51 percent, compared to the year before.
However, on the contrary, although some progress has been made with early childhood measures, the group said only 15 percent of Rochester graduates who enrolled at Monroe Community College in 2016 were considered college-ready by the school, down from 18 percent the year before.
The 2016 report also found that, of the 52 percent of children in Rochester who live below the poverty line, the percentage of children under the age of 18 who live in poverty varies by racial and ethnic groups.
Fifty-seven percent of both African American and Hispanic youth live below the federal poverty line in the city, compared to 43 percent of Asian youth, and 41 percent of whites in the same age group, the report stated.
In addition, the Rochester City School District’s student enrollment has also fallen 15 percent, to 27,611, while enrollment in charter schools has increased six-fold over the past decade, from 761 to 4,629.
But, on the positive side, RCSD and area charter school students’ early FAFSA applications for federal student aid rose 17 percent from March 2015 to March 2016, and GROW-Rochester, a group that is part of the organization’s Collaborative Action Network (CAN), successfully screened 600 children, ages three to five, for developmental and school readiness, by June of 2016.
“If we continue our investments in 3-year-old programming and summer learning, by 2020, the School Readiness CAN and GROW Rochester will screen 4000 three- and four-year-olds annually, and 80 percent of them will be ready for kindergarten,” the report said.
According to ROC the Future officials, the group plans to continue collaborating with community groups going forward, in order to improve the report card’s indicators.
“ROC the Future’s leadership includes stakeholders from philanthropy, government, education, non-profits, community based organizations and many others, working together to improve outcomes for kids,” the group stated. “As a community, we must also hold ourselves accountable to meet the needs of our children. And, as a community, we must raise expectations for all of the adults to do the same.”
Visit http://www.actrochester.org/roc-the-future to view the report’s full findings, or to view additional information from the report.