Monday, May 18, 2015

What percentage of your county's public-school children live in poverty? Look here

Some of the highest rates of low-income students in public schools are in the rural South, according to data from the Southern Education Foundation, and a report by The Urban Institute this week found that poverty manifests itself unevenly throughout counties and across race.

Since 2004-2005, the majority of the South's public school students have been eligible for free or reduced price lunch, which requires low income, Allie Yee writes for Facing South, a publication of The Institute for Southern Studies.

Reed Jordan wrote in The Urban Institute's report: "In many parts of Kentucky (such as Jackson, Owsley and Clay counties), 60 percent or more of all students are from low-income families. A similar belt of rural poverty stretches across Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia."
Example of data from interactive map, available here.
Across the nation, both low-income students and African American students are six times more likely than non-poor and white students to attend high-poverty schools in which at least 75 percent of the students are low-income. In the South, non-poor and white students are still less likely than their counterparts to attend high-poverty schools, but they are more likely to do so than non-poor and white students in other areas of the country, Yee reports.

Jordan said public schools should provide a quality education for all students. "Our school system alone can't solve the problem," Jordan writes. "We have the policy tools—in both housing and schools—backed by solid research to address concentrated poverty. Doing so is imperative for our children, our schools, our neighborhoods and cities." (Read more)

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