The Washington Post is reporting on the results of a study showing not only a long-term trend of poverty in the south, but a recent spike in the number of students on the Free & Reduced lunch program; an indication of low-income.
A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.
The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nation’s oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year.
….. “When you break down the various test scores, you find the high-income kids, high-achievers are holding their own and more,” Rebell said. “It’s when you start getting down to schools with a majority of low-income kids that you get astoundingly low scores. Our real problem regarding educational outcomes is not the U.S. overall, it’s the growing low-income population.”
This does not bode well for the overall fiscal health of the south and may actually indicate an even larger gap in disparity. And of the southern states, Georgia ranks last or next to last in student achievement. We have a very long way to go and the first step is for everyone to get their heads out of the sand and quit telling politically-motivated lies. You can’t fix what you refuse to admit exists. We still live with carry-over thinking from a centuries old antebellum history. The ‘race’ issue in Georgia is really more a class issue. To his credit, Michael Thurmond recently admitted that achievement is more related to income than race and he is working to address issues in our low-income schools.
DeKalb county is a prime example of the disparity in achievement between students from low-income and high-income families. The students from high-income (generally two parent) households continue to score just fine and will probably always do well. But the low-income families are unable to provide the tutoring, support and extra life experiences that make learning easier. This is why we continue to rant that our Title 1 schools need to hire support teachers who work with students one on one or in small groups, especially in the early years, to ensure a strong grasp of reading and mathematics. Without a solid foundation, the road ahead will get very rocky – often too rocky to complete the journey.