Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty

The advocacy of quality public education has long been a core progressive cause. For progressives, the relationship of education, of social and economic opportunity, to the sustained viability of a democracy have always seemed clear and obvious.

This newly released study by the Southern Education Foundation underscores the significance of these relationships. The growth of economic inequality in the United States now threatens the very foundations of our society by destroying and diminishing the prospects for the future success of our youngest citizens–and of our nation.

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Three-year-old Saria Amaya waits with her mother after receiving shoes and school supplies during a charity event in October to help more than 4,000 underprivileged children at the Fred Jordan Mission in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. Children from low-income families now make up a majority of public school students in the nation, according to a new report. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

By Lyndsey Layton

For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of public school students across the country are considered “low-income”, according to a new study by the Southern Education Foundation. While poor children are spread across the country, concentrations are highest in the South and in the West.

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…

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