More than 2 million children were not counted in the 2010 Census, which reduced federal, state and local resources for public education, children and families, according to the National School Boards Association (NSBA).
The NSBA supports “efforts to ensure an accurate count for the 2020 Census,” which it says will help address the mission of advancing equity in education. The United States Constitution requires the federal government to count “the whole number of persons in each state” every ten years.
The U.S. Census count serves as the basic data set for federal, state, and local policies, programs, and elections. An under-count of the persons in each state would result in inaccurate data on which to base important governmental apportionment and funding decisions.
The U.S. Census Bureau, Count All Kids Campaign and others are encouraging school districts and other units of government to form state and local “Complete Count Committees.” For example, school districts could host forums with parents and include curriculum information in classroom instruction from the Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools site.
Another option for schools is to use computer labs for families to complete the Census form online, as the 2020 Census will be the first census conducted primarily online. The NSBA emphasizes that outreach is essential, especially for citizens in rural communities and those without broadband access. An unsuccessful outreach effort could result in a significant undercount.