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Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South and West

Posted on 20-Oct-2013
Topics: Economic Warnings  Future of California  

From The Washington Post:

A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.

The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nationís oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year.

The meals program run by the Department of Agriculture is a rough proxy for poverty, because a family of four could earn no more than $40,793 a year to qualify in 2011.

Children from those low-income families dominated classrooms in 13 states in the South and the four Western states with the largest populations in 2011, researchers found. A decade earlier, just four states reported poor children as a majority of the student population in their public schools.

But by 2011, almost half of the nationís 50 million public-school students ó 48 percent ó qualified for free or reduced-price meals. In some states, such as Mississippi, that proportion rose as high as 71 percent.


[1] "Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West", Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post, 16-Oct-2013

[2] "A New Majority - Low Income Students in the South and Nation", Southern Education Foundation, October 2013

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