Happy New [School] Year to all of Kentucky’s educators! Here’s your first pop quiz of the year:

Do you wish Head Start could serve all eligible children? Would you like smaller class sizes? Have you ever yearned for more school funding?

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, you’re going to want to read these 4 things your school needs to know about the 2020 census this school year:

1. Children are the most undercounted group in the census. While children under age 5 have historically been the most undercounted age group, children ages 5 to 9 are the second-most undercounted age group in the decennial census. More than 12,5000 young children in Kentucky were missed in the 2010 census. Each young child missed in the 2020 census will be in middle or high school by the time that mistake can be rectified in 2030. In the meantime, schools will have to serve students our population estimates couldn’t account for.

2. Getting your fair share of federal education funding depends on an accurate count in the decennial census. Important federal funding streams for K-12 education, like Title I and Special Education Grants, are allocated based on census-derived data. Also on the list are the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, and programs like Head Start that prepare children for school, and…well, you get the point.

See how much money your Kentucky county gets in Title I funding each year here and keep in mind that figure would be larger if thousands of Kentucky children had not been missed in 2010.

3. Your school district can’t adequately plan without accurate census data. In addition to being used to allocate more than $900 billion annually, census data is used by states, localities and school districts for important planning decisions. For example, accurate census data enable school districts to decide if district boundaries need to be redrawn and when to build new facilities to house a growing student population.

4. There are MANY ways your school can help ensure every student is counted. Schools will play a pivotal role in preventing another undercount of Kentucky children. There are no-cost ideas on getting children excited about having their household counted in the census – like our Statistics in Schools Sweepstakes – and low-cost ideas on ensuring internet access isn’t a barrier to parents completing the census online.

Check out our list of ideas here and share yours with us!