2013 – A New Majority Update- Low Income Students in the South and Nation finds that 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. The report warns that this continued trend in both the South and the nation raises the prospect of “entrenched, inadequately funded educational systems that enlarge the division in America between the haves and have-nots.”
In addition, the SEF report finds:
- Half or more of the public school children in two regions –the South and West– are low income, and a near majority of all students across the nation are low income (48 percent);
- Over the last 10 years, the number of low income students have grown 3-4 times greater than the growth of per pupil expenditures in 3 of the 4 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
- The achievement gap between low income and higher income students is as large or larger in private schools as in public schools.
These findings update a 2007 report released by SEF, A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South’s Public Schools. It documented how low income students had become a majority in the South’s public schools for the first time in more than four decades.