CHARLOTTE, NC (April 4, 2017) – A new report released today by the Public School Forum of North Carolina and its NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) highlights large areas of North Carolina where young people are at risk of not succeeding. The report, 2017 Roadmap of Need, was released today at the Center for Afterschool Programs 14th annual Synergy Conference in Charlotte.
First published by the Public School Forum of North Carolina and NC CAP in 2010, the Roadmap of Need uses data on health, youth behavior and safety, education, and economic development to assess the relative well-being of young people living in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
According to the report, the five top counties where young people have the greatest likelihood for success are Orange, Union, Wake, Cabarrus and Watauga. The bottom five counties where young people are most at risk are Northampton, Warren, Halifax, Robeson, and Edgecombe. The makeup of the top five has Watauga County in place of Camden County, while Vance and Anson moved out of the bottom five this year.
“Our latest report, much like our Local School Finance Study just released last week, shows that North Carolina continues to be a state where opportunities for young people vary dramatically different depending on where they grow up,” said Keith Poston, President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. “The Roadmap of Need report clearly shows there are far too many counties in North Carolina in economic decline, which typically means struggling and underfunded schools, few out of school opportunities and relatively unhealthy and unsafe places for children compared to other parts of the state.”
At first glance, the Roadmap points to counties in eastern North Carolina as those most at risk. However, the nature of county-wide indicators often masks the variation occurring within counties, particularly our most populous urban counties where neighborhoods that alone would be viewed as thriving on the Roadmap indicators exist in close proximity to neighborhoods with many young people in need.
“Our state continues to be two North Carolinas when it comes to opportunity, not just for children, but for all our citizens,” Poston said. “We must find better ways to bring jobs and economic growth to rural North Carolina which is the root cause of most of these other areas of need in these communities.”
Over the past several years, the Roadmap has been a key resource for afterschool providers and other education organizations in communicating with policymakers, funders, and citizens about the importance of their services, and to target areas for increased investment. School administrators, central office staff, nonprofits, community leaders, and parent advocates also use the Roadmap to demonstrate to others the needs faced by their community. Public education advocates have brought Roadmap data to the attention of school board members, county commissioners, and members of the General Assembly in order to inform their efforts to create state and local policies that address significant community needs.