USED & White House
Majority of U.S. Public School Children in Poverty, Study Says
Douglas R. Clifford/Times

A study published last month by the Southern Education Foundation says that the majority of children in public schools come from low-income families.  The report is based on data from the 2012-13 school year, which states that 51% of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade were eligible for free- and reduced-price school meals that year (the number of students eligible for those meal programs is often used as a shorthand for poverty).  Concentrations differ from State to State, however, with concentrations of poorer students in the Southern and Western United States.
 
This marks the first time in at least fifty years that most public school students are living in poverty.  Kent McGuire, President of the organization that released the study, called it a “watershed moment.”  “The fact is, we’ve had growing inequality in the country for many years,” he told the Washington Post.  “It didn’t happen overnight, but it’s steadily been happening.  Government used to be a source of leadership and innovation around issues of economic prosperity and upward mobility.  Now we’re a country disinclined to invest in our young people.”
 
Resources:
Lyndsey Layton, “Majority of U.S. Public School Students are in Poverty,” The Washington Post, January 16, 2016.

About the Author

Julia Martin is an attorney with the Washington, DC law firm of Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC. Established in 1980, the Firm is nationally recognized for its federal education regulatory and legislative practice, providing legal advice regarding compliance with all major federal education programs as well as the federal grants management requirements, including the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). In addition, they work with agencies on federal spending flexibility, allowability, policies and procedures, audit defense and resolution and legislative updates. The Firm provides government relations services for the National Title I Association.