Over half of the students in America’s public schools–51% overall, but in many states the number is much higher–are from families below the poverty line.
Some will say that this is because the middle class has abandoned public education, what with homeschooling, parochial and other Christian schools, and other private institutions. But why are so many middle class families not sending their children to public schools anymore? What could public schools do to bring them back?
From Lyndsey Layton, Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty – The Washington Post:
For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation.The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in the 2012-2013 school year were eligible for the federal program that provides free and reduced-price lunches. The lunch program is a rough proxy for poverty, but the explosion in the number of needy children in the nation’s public classrooms is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining attention among educators, public officials and researchers. . . .
The shift to a majority-poor student population means that in public schools, a growing number of children start kindergarten already trailing their more privileged peers and rarely, if ever, catch up. They are less likely to have support at home, are less frequently exposed to enriching activities outside of school, and are more likely to drop out and never attend college.