School districts and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) are reaching out to community members to let them know how important Census 2020 is and to encourage them to take part in the population count done every 10 years.
Census counts determine political representation and the proportion of the more than $675 billion in federal funds that jurisdictions receive based on their demographic characteristics, needs and assets, said Lizette Escobedo, director of national census programs for NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.
Video by Mary Irish/AZEdNews: Census 2020 Testimonial by Dr. Cherryl Paul
For Arizona’s public K-12 schools, an accurate census count is key to funding for many critically important programs, said Monica Trejo, Arizona deputy director of constituency services for education for NALEO Educational Fund and vice president of the Tempe Elementary School District Governing Board.
If there is a census undercount, the state’s public schools could lose some of the $13,513 billion they currently receive for the National School Lunch Program, special education (IDEA) grants, Head Start/Early Head Start, Title I grants to local education agencies and health center programs as well as child care and development entitlement funds.
“Our schools are already doing more with less, and we simply cannot afford any additional loss in funding,” Trejo said.
To avoid an undercount, Arizona public schools are reaching out to students’ families and community members to let them know how federal funding based on census data helps support vital community programs.
Tempe Elementary School District is highlighting the importance of participating in the 2020 Census in the coming months, Trejo said.
“If we have thousands of kids and students missed once again in 2020, there could be a potential loss of funding for Title I Grants, the National School Lunch Program, and Special Education Grants (IDEA),” Trejo said.
Sacaton Elementary School District Superintendent Dr. Cherryl Paul said encouraging people to complete the census is critical.
“Moving forward it’s just going to be direct advocacy – using social media, using all of our family gatherings,” said Dr. Paul. “Every time we have an opportunity, just reminding people of the importance of it.”
“I really do believe that when families know the importance, we’re going to increase the likelihood of them complying,” said Dr. Paul, whose school district in Pinal County serves more than 500 students in the Gila River Indian Community.
“It’s essential that all of our families have access to accurate and timely information about the Census, especially the need for all children in the household to be counted,” Trejo said.
The census consistently undercounts children younger than age 5 at a much higher rate than any other age group, Trejo said.
“The 2010 Census failed to count almost one million children ages 0-5,” said Trejo said, noting that the net undercount rate for young Latino children was 7.1 percent, compared to 4.3 percent for non-Latinos.
Approximately 400,000 Latino children from birth to 4 years old were left uncounted by the 2010 Census, Trejo said.
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“Five states — California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and New York — accounted for 72 percent of the national net undercount of young Latinos. The undercount of young children means less federal funding for key federal assistance programs,” Trejo said.
For the first time, the Internet will be the primary response option for Census 2020.
“We recognize that not everyone has access to technology, so we will be sharing guidance and opportunities for our families to complete their Census forms in hard copy form as well through social media and our e-flyer application – Peachjar,” Trejo said.
A Tempe Elementary School District representative is serving on the City of Tempe’s Complete Count Committee, which is dedicated to helping educate and motivate residents to participate in the 2020 Census, Trejo said.
“I would encourage school districts to work with their local municipalities to participate in a Complete Count Committee to ensure a fair and accurate count for all of our children. Districts can access online resources at hagasecontar.org,” Trejo said.
Census 2020 outreach efforts to Latinos
NALEO Educational Fund video: How the U.S. Census works
In addition, the ¡Hazme Contar! campaign, is focused on achieving a full count of young Latino children from birth to five years old.
Both campaigns will focus on regions with significant Hard-To-Count Latino communities and a notable undercount of Latino children, Escobedo said.
Nationally, the ¡Hágase Contar! Census 2020 campaign will provide partners with a number of resources, including:
“Train-the-trainer” workshop opportunities
• State of the Census 2020 briefings
• Campaign material and promotional information
• Public awareness events and informational panels
• National bilingual information and referral hotline – 877-EL-CENSO (877-352-3676)
• Website: www.hagasecontar.org.