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Poor Students Make Up Majority In Western US Public Schools

— Poor students now make up the majority of kids in public schools in the western United States. New Mexico has the second highest rate of low income students after Mississippi.

Over the last decade the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced meals has dramatically increased. And during that same period the growth of poor students considerably exceeded the amount of money spent per pupil. That’s according to a new report by the Southern Education Foundation.

Fifty-two percent of all students attending public schools in America’s towns (located outside urban and suburban areas) were eligible for free or reduced meals in 2011. Credit: Southern Education Foundation.

“We have to come to grips with the fact that we now have a school system where the majority of public school students are low income and they are not performing at levels that they want and need and that society wants and needs, and we need to do education differently,” said Steave Suitts, vice president of the Southern Education Foundation.

The Atlanta-based think tank works to improve education policy and practice. The report also showed the gap between low income and high income students is as large in private schools as it is in public schools.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | October 18, 2013 at 9:33 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Another bi-product of illegal immigration?? This situation is turning the US into a third world country. Legal children cannot be getting a quality education if schools are constantly worried about multiple languages in the classroom and feeding people breakfast, lunch and week-end snacks.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | October 18, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. ― 3 years ago


Do you look for illegal aliens under your bed or in your closet at night? "Legal children?!?!" You have a lot of hate in you. The only thing threatening to turn our country into a "third world" one is the economic disparity between the classes, which you don't seem to have a problem with. Is that not discussed on Fox News?

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | October 18, 2013 at 11:24 a.m. ― 3 years ago

This is the result of irresponsible people over breeding and treating public schools like a daycare.

I still advocate a tax on having children. Have it be exponentially progressive so that a 3rd kid is going to be a few thousand. Maybe that will persuade more responsible reproductive choices.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | October 18, 2013 at 11:50 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Delarick, I think _uckkkapoo is former KFMB host, Rickkk Roberts.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | October 18, 2013 at 11:51 a.m. ― 3 years ago

AL ANON, if you are anti-taz, why do you want to tax parents?

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | October 18, 2013 at 12:09 p.m. ― 3 years ago

I'm not against taxation in all forms. Many things we enjoy as a society were only made possible through crowdfunding via taxes.

On topic, I would like to ask Muck how to explain the success of northern European classrooms where multiple languages are mandated?

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | October 18, 2013 at 12:18 p.m. ― 3 years ago


Taxation is necessary. However, I would like to see a true system of taxation. By "true" I mean that a citizen is only taxed for the services he/she/it uses. There would be a flat tax for roads and public services. Then, every person would pay taxes on the services they used in the prior year. Used the court system for a civil matter and lost? Pay X amount. Have children in public schools? Pay X amount. Etc. Society would become civil again overnight if everyone had to mind their pints and quarts.

Adding illegal residents to the tax rolls and having them abide by the same system would increase the coffers and appease people like Muckapoo. Everyone would pay their fair share.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | October 18, 2013 at 4:32 p.m. ― 3 years ago


I agree. A flat tax for services that all of society uses and a use fees for the rest.

That would make coping with illegal aliens much easier. Although they'll still rob our society by not paying the flat tax, at least they will be forced to pay for schools, libraries, transportation, day care, etc.

That alone will drastically cut down on illegal immigration. More than all the walls, razor wire, cameras, and border patrol agents put together.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | October 18, 2013 at 9:01 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Way off topic...

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | October 21, 2013 at 9:04 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Okay CA Offender, let's try it one more time for the thick-headed:

PDF]ImmIgratIon Myths And The Facts - US Chamber of‎Cached
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U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. IMMIGRATION MYTHS AND THE FACTS BEHIND THE FALLACIES. Dear Reader,. There is a great deal of misinformation ...

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | October 21, 2013 at 11:26 a.m. ― 3 years ago


Maybe one day you'll figure out how to post a link. Why should I trust the US Chamber? Of course they like illegal aliens. They keep wages low and profits high.

As for the achievement gap, I place the blame squarely on families and a culture of apathy, not public schools themselves. Perhaps that is coming from immigrant cultures that don't have a strong emphasis in education. Or it is just a sign of the decay of American culture.

Most public schools offer a decent education, but it takes effort from both students and parents and that is what is lacking. Not some mystical difference in how low income and high income students learn.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | October 22, 2013 at 1:54 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Ah, but the Chamber is pro-Capitalist, and so are you, I trust, no?

Now, the article DOES say Western US. I guess your evil illegals on the East Coast are pretty bright, then???

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Avatar for user 'theRose'

theRose | October 22, 2013 at 3:51 p.m. ― 3 years ago

The title of this article and the first line both mention the "Western U.S.," while the map indicates that this statistic applies to all but 14 states. The article then reveals the data is based on a report that focused on schools in the south and goes on to quote a think tank in the south. I'm not calling the data into question on that basis, but I do wonder if KPBS thought we wouldn't click the link of if the title hadn't re-contextualized this article as being about the western U.S.

Anon11 - PREACH! I've been saying this very thing for years, but given that a significant portion of parents divorce, remarry, and have more kids (or change partners and have more kids, without bringing marriage into it), do we impose these limits on couples or individual people? If a person with two children from a previous relationship then couples with a childless person, are they allowed one more? I say NO, unless through adoption. Where's your petition? I'm ready to sign.

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