51 percent of students

Shocking but not really surprising – more than half of students in public schools in the US come from families in poverty.

This week, the Southern Education Foundation reported that 51 percent of students in grades K through 12 received a free or reduced-price school lunch in 2013, meaning that their families lived on less than 185 percent of the poverty line. According to the Washington Post, it is “the first time in at least 50 years” that more than half of the country’s public school kids have qualified as low income. In 1989, the figure was under 32 percent. In 2006, it hit 42 percent, and by 2011, it had ratcheted up to 48 percent.

Why is it not surprising? Because poverty is official policy. We keep wages down as a matter of policy, we don’t have a national health service as a matter of policy, we don’t fund universal day care as a matter of policy, and on and on.

It’s how we roll.



  1. Blanche Quizno says

    This statistic is also measuring privileged flight to private schools and charter schools, and federal vouchers that can be used even for religious schools are accelerating that flight. Yes, we have a growing poor class, but we are also creating new opportunities for the wealthy to avoid mingling with the hoi polloi and we are providing them with the means of doing just that. So it should surprise no one that the public schools are more and more the haunt of the poor instead of the ideal of guaranteeing the same level of education to all.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Comment #1 is spot on, but I wonder how many parents of that 51% voted in last November’s election?

  3. shadow says

    Of those parents who voted/were allowed to vote, how many chose the Reprobate party? (Republican — against their own interest)

    Because they (the R’s) are so good for the pipple.

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