SA2020 releases annual progress report

Report shows teen pregnancy down, literacy goal not met

By Cory Smith - VJ, Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - SA2020 released its annual progress report Thursday at a luncheon held at Morgan's Wonderland.

The annual report is a snapshot of the organization's progress toward meeting more than 60 city-wide goals in 11 cause areas.

"We're actually starting to really be able to tell stories from what the data means for the health of our city, the economic competitiveness of our city, and how we're doing in education, serving our young people," said SA2020 CEO and President Darryl Byrd.

All the SA2020 goals were established through community input since 2010. Byrd said the organization is transitioning out of the visioning phase and has minimized its emphasis on data collection.

"We have a much stronger understanding of the data that tells us what are the strategies that we're employing that are really making sense, that are really moving the needle in any of these 60 measures of success," he said. "That data, that information, is just the beginning of the story. The next piece of that story is how we take that and make smarter decisions, how we take that and double down in the areas where we know we're not getting the returns that we want."

The report shows that the city has met and surpassed many of the benchmark goals set by SA2020.

For example, the city's teen pregnancy rate is down by 15 percent, lower than the original goal. Mario Martinez from Project Worth said the city should move the goal posts and try to reduce the rate by 25 percent.

"We have said let's raise that goal so that we can then start working harder and involve more people," said Martinez.

Other highlights of the report include an increase in downtown housing units and high school graduation rates, and reductions in unemployment, child abuse, and obesity.

The report showed improvement is needed in the areas of downtown employment, college enrollment, high school graduation rates, third grade literacy and poverty. Christina Martinez from San Antonio Youth Literacy said poverty and education go hand-in-hand.

"We have some children in our city who don't even know if they're going to have a meal when they go home, so how can they even think about reading?" said Martinez. "Until we find a way to eradicate poverty, we're going to see issues with children struggling to learn."

To read the full SA2020 progress report, click here.

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