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California’s children are ailing in body and mind, an Oakland nonprofit reports. Children Now released its annual report card, dubbed the State of the State’s Children, assigning middling grades to California’s health insurance, K-12 education, mental health and other youth services and protections.

Though the report lauds strides in dental care and after-school programming, California’s grades haven’t improved significantly.

In the classroom, Children Now recommended a number of reforms: Boosting facilities funding through a bond, to ensure kids have safe, spacious schools. Untangle school funding so that it’s clearer who gets what, and why — and so that inequities can be blotted out. Find ways to track students “longitudinally,” so that educators can track whether reform efforts work. (Right now, schools can only evaluate scores in the aggregate, making it difficult to discern which programs work.) Quash dropouts. And make teaching a more appealing profession, so that more teachers are recruited — and more stay.

Some of Children Now’s findings echo those of a governor’s commission including two San Diego locals, former State Senator Dede Alpert and County Superintendent of Schools Randolph Ward. The panel is expected to tout simpler school funding and longitudinal data when its recommendations are released this year.

EMILY ALPERT

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