There is a disturbing update to a 2007 report released Thursday by the Southeastern Education Foundation. The report, “A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South and the Nation” states, “Low income children are a majority of students in the public schools of 17 states across the nation -- and 13 of those states are in the South.” There are only three states in the South that have a higher percentage of low income students in public schools than Georgia (57.4 percent); Louisiana (65.5 percent), Arkansas (60.4 percent) and Mississippi (70.6 percent).
Over the last 10 years, The report states:
The number of low income students have grown 3-4 times greater than the growth of per pupil expenditures in three of the four regions of the country;
During the last decade, while achievement scores have increased for most student groups, huge gaps still remain between low income and higher income students -- particularly in regions where less is spent on students; and
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The achievement gap between low income and higher income students is as large or larger in private schools as in public schools.
What can be done? We know what will happen if we do nothing. Efforts such as the Promise Neighborhood concept is just one of the initiatives taking hold across the country to help children shackled in low income neighborhoods. As the report states, “Without fundamental improvements in how the South and the nation educate low income students, the trends that this report documents will ricochet across all aspects of American society for generations to come.”
Find the full report at www.southerneducation.org.