Where are the Children?: Educational Neglect Across the Fifty States

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This paper explores the extent to which states are meeting their obligation to provide adequate educations for their minor citizens. It reveals the current mismatch between children identified in the federal census and those enrolled in any form of schooling. Currently, approximately 1.7 million children (3.5% nationwide) within compulsory education age ranges are not enrolled with any type of educational institution. Hawaii, at 17.5%, has the largest percentage of “missing children.” These “missing” children lie at the intersection of two policy implementing bodies, departments of education and departments of health and welfare. Unfortunately, most states cannot reconcile the number of children that should be educated. At a minimum, this is necessary to meet the democratic intent of compulsory education statutes.

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