The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 school year were eligible for the federal program that provides free and reduced-price lunches. The lunch program is a rough proxy for poverty, but the explosion in the number of needy children in the nation’s public classrooms is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining attention among educators, public officials and researchers.
Majority of kids in public schools are in poverty
There are multiple articles out about this report, which came out last week. However I would submit that they’re missing an important point–this report looked at children in PUBLIC schools. The question is whether in absolute numbers the number of children in poverty is rising or if it’s that a higher percentage of children who aren’t in poverty attend private schools. It looks as if about 45% of U.S. children are low-income, but I don’t know what percentage are in school versus under 5.
One strategy to shore up schools facing the challenges of educating children in poverty would be to change the equation in public schools, to get more middle and upper-middle class families to send their kids to public schools so that those schools have more resources to help ALL children.
We are heading towards becoming a country where poor children go to public school and better off children go to private schools. And that is something that is corrosive to the very essence of America.
But to make that happen, the public schools have to put in place programs to entice those middle and upper-middle class families into the public schools, because they appear to be leaving. We’ll end up like Britain, working class and poor kids in state schools, rich kids in “public” schools and a class gap that is ever more difficult to overcome.
New York City is working to do that by adding more language immersion programs, to lure the middle class into public schools. What is YOUR school district doing to welcome and encourage middle class families to come into the public schools? I’d love to hear stories.
Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty
Please read more here
Here’s the NY Times on it.
You can read the actual report here.