Maps and data can provide quantitative confirmation of anecdotal stories of racial disparities many know to exist and can help guide policymakers when it comes to designing policies that will ensure equitable distribution of resources and services. One area where the Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance (KYOSA) knows that inequality exists is access to affordable, high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs. Identifying and closing gaps in access to OST programs for students of color in Kentucky is key to addressing educational inequalities and learning loss exacerbated by the pandemic.
In October 2020, KYOSA launched a new online data mapping tool called the KYOSA Data Explorer that helps users take a closer look, down to the neighborhood and street level, at how OST access varies along a number of demographic, economic, social, and educational measures. The tool was designed by PolicyMap, and combines location and descriptive data on all currently known OST programs in Kentucky with nearly 40 other indicators across the following categories:
- Kentucky out-of-school time supply
- Incomes & spending
- Quality of life
This tool can be useful when it comes to examining disparities in access to OST programs in predominantly Black or Latinx neighborhoods in Kentucky. Over the last few months, Louisville, Kentucky has been the site of major uprisings: first, after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed on March 13, 2020 while asleep at home when police issued a “no knock” warrant, then later when David McAttee was shot and killed by Kentucky Army National Guard on June 1, 2020 while the Guard was trying to enforce curfew during Black Lives Matter protests.
Recently, PolicyMap put together a blog post highlighting how their data mapping software–the same software that powers the KYOSA Data Explorer–could be used to “shed light on some of the underpinnings of racial inequities in the [Louisville].” By combining the power of PolicyMap and data on Kentucky’s currently known OST supply, KYOSA can take this analysis a step further, looking at how these racial inequities make it difficult for students and families of color to access affordable, high-quality OST programs in their neighborhoods.
First, let’s examine the geography of race in Louisville. Using the tool, we can map the predominant racial or ethnic group by neighborhood by clicking on the “New Map” button at the top left-hand corner of the tool and selecting the “Predominant Race/Ethnicity” layer from the “Demographics” menu. The map produced is shown below. In this map, race predominance is mapped at the Census tract level, where green indicates that the shaded region is predominantly Black, blue indicates predominantly White, orange indicates predominantly Latinx, and purple indicates predominantly Asian. There are other race categories available in this data layer that do not have predominance in Louisville.
FIGURE 1: Predominant racial or ethnic group in Louisville
Leaving this layer visible, we can now overlay the locations of all currently known OST programs in the city by going back to the “New Map” drop-down menu and selecting the point dataset, “Kentucky Out-of-School Time Supply.” But it’s important to consider not just the existence of an OST program when determining if certain populations have access, but also a variety of socioeconomic factors that often work to limit access to these programs.
FIGURE 2: Current OST program sites and predominant racial or ethnic group by Census tract in Louisville
Keeping in mind that race and income level often go hand in hand, let’s now take a look at another map that shows what percent of the population under age 18 in each Census tract is in living in poverty. Comparing the two maps side by side, we quickly see that they’re nearly identical. When deciding if students from predominantly Black or Latinx neighborhoods in Louisville have access to affordable high-quality OST programs, it is important to not only look at how many high-quality programs are available in each neighborhood relative to school-age population size, but whether or not these programs are also affordable relative to estimated household income in these neighborhoods.
FIGURE 3: Comparing poverty and race/ethnicity predominance by Census tract in Louisville
Going back to the map of OST program locations by predominant race/ethnicity, we can take a closer look at how many non-fee-based versus fee-based programs sites there are across each Census tract in Louisville by selected the “Fee-Based Program–Color Code All” filter in the legend on the right-hand side of the tool. Now all fee-based program sites are shown in yellow and all non-fee-based sites are shown in green. Looking at this new map, we quickly see that almost all OST sites across Louisville are fee-based.
FIGURE 4: Fee-based and non-fee-based OST program sites and predominant racial or ethnic group by Census tract in Louisville
One way low-income families get help paying for OST care/programming is through public assistance from Kentucky’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which allows families earning less than 160% of the federal poverty level to receive assistance with child care costs for children up to age 13 or, in the case of a documented special need, age 19.
The KYOSA Data Explorer also allows users to see which OST programs on the map accept CCAP. When the “Accepts CCAP–Color Code All” filter is applied to the predominant race/ethnicity map of Louisville, we can now take a closer look at the supply of programs that accept CCAP in each Census tract, as shown in the map below. Program sites that accept CCAP are shown in yellow, ones that don’t are shown in green, and non-fee-based programs like federally-funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLCs) to which CCAP does not apply are shown in orange.
FIGURE 5: OST program sites accepting CCAP and predominant racial or ethnic group by Census tract in Louisville
At first glance, it appears that there is a greater supply of programs that accept CCAP in predominantly Black tracts than there are in predominantly white tracts, which then raises questions about de facto segregation. After all, it is impossible to look at the map above and not wonder why so many OST program sites in predominantly White areas of Louisville, most of which are licensed under the Kentucky Division of Regulated Child Care, do not accept CCAP. Is it for the same reason that many landlords in predominantly White neighborhoods all across America don’t accept Section 8 vouchers?
While many licensed programs participate in the Kentucky All STARS quality rating system, many OST programs are exempt from licensing under current regulations. Furthermore, anecdotal reports from program providers to KYOSA suggest that the Kentucky All STARS system was originally designed with early childhood programs in mind, and as a result, is insufficient when it comes to assessing the quality of school-age programs.
In addition to examining racial disparities related to access to OST programs, the KYOSA Data Explorer also allows users to explore racial disparities along a number of other indicators available through the tool, such as educational attainment, transportation access, child food insecurity, broadband and computer access, unemployment, juvenile incarceration, health outcomes, and more. Click here to learn more about how to use the tool, and feel free to contact us if you have additional questions not answered on our website.