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Half of U.S. Public School Students Live in Poverty, Report Finds

Half of U.S. Public School Students Are In Poverty, Report Finds

A report from the Southern Education Foundation found that over half of U.S. public school students live in poverty.

The results found that these students "are eligible for free-and-reduced lunch, an increase that places strains on school systems across the nation," according to an article on

The article looks at a recent conversation between Lyndsey Layton from the Washington Post and PBS NewsHour who discussed this data, "explaining how money in high-poverty districts first goes toward making sure kids are just OK before even being allocated for specific education initiatives."

"While it is not so surprising that border states in the South and West have large amounts of child poverty, Layton points out that there less-expected states like Vermont also face high poverty levels," EducationDive said.

According to Layton, the article said, "a third of kids in Vermont are eligible for free and reduced lunch. She uses the state as an example of how the issue of poverty is growing, telling PBS, 'It’s all over the country, and beyond the obvious issues in the border states. You can find it all over the place.'"

"To put context on the strains placed on the classroom, Layton gave an example of a kindergarten teacher she spoke to in downtown Albuquerque, NM, who told her that, for the first hour of school, she has to check to make sure all of her students have eaten and are clean," the article said. "It's a chunk of time that, of course, gets taken out of actual learning time."

Layton, the article said, explained that "poverty affects policy" and added that "as Republicans talk about re-authorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, questions come up about testing and what is best for students—specifically students struggling with poverty."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor 

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