The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s yearly report, “Kids Count,” has been released. This year’s report shows that South Carolina ranks 39th in the nation in terms of child well-being. This is an improvement over previous years. While 39th is certainly not where we need to be, you have to be careful in terms of the statistics used in the report. They’re not always “apples to apples.”

The most significant example of this phenomenon is reading. The report states that over 60% of South Carolina third graders are reading below grade level, but this data is based on one of the most rigorous state reading tests in the country. A few years back, a report by the Thomas Fordham Foundation, a conservative think tank, indicated that a student reading below grade level based on the South Carolina state test would be assessed as reading on grade level in multiple other states.

Graduation rates are another area that can be difficult to compare. South Carolina requires 24 credits for graduation while many other states require fewer credits.

While the “Kids Count” Report is certainly interesting and useful to some degree, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak.