Arizona’s Invisible Achievement Gap
In Arizona, we supported the production of a report that merged state-level education and child welfare data to paint a picture of the educational outcomes of students in foster care. Arizona’s Invisible Achievement Gap: Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care in the State’s Public Schools, was modeled after the California report and examined education and child welfare data obtained from Arizona’s state-level agencies. It similarly found that Arizona students in foster care persistently underperform academically as compared to their classmates. It showed that students in Arizona’s foster care system trail all other students, including those identified with academic risk factors such as low socioeconomic status, limited English language proficiency, and disabilities.
The report played a key role in our efforts to educate partners about the educational needs of students in foster care, and to inspire these partners to work together for change. As we move ahead in our work, we will continue to look for opportunities to facilitate research using state-level data to inform our and other stakeholders’ work supporting youth.