Childhood poverty: majority of U.S. public school students eligible for free or...

Childhood poverty: majority of U.S. public school students eligible for free or reduced lunch


Rising income inequality in the U.S. has produced a startling statistic: 51% of U.S. public school children in pre-K through 12th grade were eligible under the federal program for free and reduced-price lunches in the 2012-2013 school year according to a report from the Southern Education Foundation.

The increase in needy children in the U.S. threatens has become a bigger issue for researchers and policy makers. According to Lyndsey Layton of The Washington Post:

“The shift to a majority-poor student population means that in public schools, more than half of the children start kindergarten already trailing their more privileged peers and rarely, if ever, catch up. They are less likely to have support at home to succeed, are less frequently exposed to enriching activities outside of school, and are more likely to drop out and never attend college.

It also means that education policy, funding decisions and classroom instruction must adapt to the swelling ranks of needy children arriving at the schoolhouse door each morning.

Schools, already under intense pressure to deliver better test results and meet more rigorous standards, face the doubly difficult task of trying to raise the achievement of poor children so that they approach the same level as their more affluent peers.”

Latino and black children are more impacted by poverty than their white peers. In 2011, the Pew Hispanic Center released a report showing that Latino children lead the nation in childhood poverty constituting over 27 percent of poor children in the U.S. The high childhood poverty rate in the U.S. also reflects a broader policy failure for law makers. The U.S. is the richest country in the world, and it has managed to leave its most valuable human resource at risk.


Photo credit: Lunch at Kelly Miller Middle School by DC Central Kitchen, licensed under CC BY 2.0


  1. It is time our leaders take on the powerful vested interest that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world. Global Wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated among a Small Wealthy Elite….One Member of Congress= 18 American Households. Lawmakers Personal Finances Far From Average: It would take the combined wealth of more than 18 American Households to equal the Value of a Single Federal Lawmaker’s Household, according to The Center for Responsive Politics Latest Analysis of Congressional Wealth Finds….The median net worth of a Member of Congress was $1,029,505 in 2013 a 2.5% increase from 2012. Compared with an Average American Household’s Median Net Worth of $56,355….Once again, The Majority of Members of Congress are Millionaires….271 of the 533 Members Currently in Office, or 50.8%….The Senate’s Median Net Worth went from $2.3 Million to $ 2.8 Million, while Members of The House went from $708,500 to $843,507….Not all Members of Congress are Millionaires….There are 7 whose Net Worth is in the Nine Figures Totaling at Least $ 100 Million, there are two dozen who are in the Minus Column…..Lawmaker’s Financial Statements once again shows that they are not Remotely Similar to the Typical American in terms of Wealth, Investments, and Economic Security….Half of this year’s Freshman Class were Already Millionaires upon their Arrival….The Retirement of one Senator whose name is the very Symbol of Wealth Jay Rockefeller[D-W-V] whose Median Net Worth was $101.2 Million in 2013…The incoming Freshmen include Rep.Dave Trott[R-Mich] Net Worth of $ 200.5 Million.”Whether voters elect them because they are successful or because people of Modest Means do not Run or for other reasons is unclear but Struggling and Liabilities. As of December 31, 2013….$76,000 typical American households….Rep.Darrell Issa[R-Calif] retains his claims as the Wealthiest Member of Congress he had an Average Net Worth of $ 448.4 Million. That’s an Eye Popping Number…The Obscene Wealth of Some Members in our Congress and Senate is very Alarming at best….Some Economist say the World Economy in 2015 will carry troubling echoes of the late 1990s.

  2. U.S. Public Schools: The Outrageous Atlanta Teacher Cheating Case: The Criminal Justice System, with one set of rules for ordinary people and another for elites. We know all to well that justice is a commodity to be bought rather than a universal value delivered without prejudice….The never ending miscarriage of justice in the news of The Atlanta Test Cheating Case…..Eleven Educators were found guilty of racketeering charges. Something typically reserved for Organized Crime; for giving students answers to standardized tests, or changing test sheets after they were turned in. If you don’t remember these kinds of Creative Prosecution Strategies during the Financial Crisis, that’s probably because no prosecutors ever used them…..Teachers ordered to falsify tests and The Superiors who demanded it, amid desperation to save schools from destruction, deserve no mercy from the court. Bankers who ran a Criminal Enterprise to engage in the Largest Consumer and Investing Fraud in World History….The Eleven Educators Convicted Middle School Teachers, A Principal and School Administrators were among 35 initially charged. Many took a plea deal. But the initial State Investigation found this to be a Widespread Practice in The District, involving 44 Schools and almost 180 Education Personnel. And Atlanta was not alone: There have been stories of Cheating in 40 Different States Across The Country. We Ask Why? Federal Money From The No Child Left Behind[NCLB] Law Has Been Tied To Standardized Testing……Schools that fail to meet Performance Levels can be Shut Down…..Atlanta School Superintendent implemented even more Rigorous Rules Than The Feds: Any Principal not meeting Achievement Targets Within Three Years Would Get Fired, and Teacher Evaluations, Along With Bonuses, were based in part on Test Scores….Many view those standards as unrealistic…..In High Poverty Areas With at-Risk-Kids disinclined to performing well on Standardized Test, the drive to hit those Benchmarks and Pressure from Administrators creates Huge Temptations to Cheat. And we’re seeing it Everywhere….The Children are The Losers….As Recounted by The New Yorker, at one Middle School, the Principal informed Teachers they had to Cheat to Keep The Schools Above The[NCLB] Threshold. Dissenters were Transferred to Other Schools or Placed on Track to be Terminated.

  3. U.S. Public Schools: The Outrageous Atlanta Teacher Cheating Case: The cheating became Routinized, with Teachers tearing open Sealed Test Sheets, wit Razor Blades and fixing the answers They justified it to themselves as doing it for the schools, for the children even. The tests didn’t properly evaluate student performance in their view, and the kids needed stability not upheaval through shifting schools every couple years….It matches almost precisely what went on at every level of the Mortgage Market before, during and after the Housing Bubble. Mortgage Brokers used write-out and exacto knives to falsify income tax data for unqualified borrowers to get them into loans….They employed Coke Vending Machines as Light Boards to trace forgies, putting people into garbage loans they didn’t purchase. The loans got sold to Wall street Banks, which routinely lied to investors, who purchased bundles of Mortgages packaged into Securities, by telling them that the loan quality exceeded underwriting standards……Department of Justice is still more Bark than Bite whe it comes to Corporate Crime….So let’s see how the Justice System deal with these two cases. When mostly African Americans Educators at Poor Schools in Atlanta cheat on test, they get the Books thrown at them. Ten of the 11 convicted on Thursday went directly to jail while they awaited sentencing….Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter only spared the eleventh because of her pregnancy. They each face up to 20 years…With Baxter quoted sa saying”they have made their bed and their going to have to lie in it. It’s difficult to expect much leniency….Even higher -ups get drawn into the Criminal Justice Net; the former Atlanta School Superintendent, Beverly Hall, only avoided conviction for looking the other way, because she was too sick to stand trial… She died of breast cancer earlier this year…..As for the entire housing market, top to bottom, you can count the number of people who went to jail on one finger. The dark amusing part of all this is that the harsh sentence in the Atlanta case is seen as a necessary counter to the temptation to cheat caused by the testing regime….So prosecutors devote huge amounts of resources[The District Attorney called it it the most complex case of his career]. Paul Howard who needs to be removed….And judges dole out long sentences, all to keep teachers in line….No similar deterrent has been created for the industry that sells Americans the most important financial product of their entire lives….We send messages to teachers; We send bailouts to bankers….You don’t have to consider The Atlanta Teachers innocent to know something has terribly gone wrong in this country whe filling bubbles on Scan-Tron Sheets can get you 20 years, but stealing people’s homes and defrauding pensions funds can’t get you indicted. The only way you could see what the Justice System has granted bankers as in any way commensurate with what it does to ordinary people is if you grade on a curve…

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