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The Daily Dish: Statistics on Education Trends Show Increase Number of Students Living in Poverty

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May 28, 2015 03:54 pm

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The Daily Dish digs deeper into one of the day’s top news stories on K–12 education. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed for all the latest updates and follow the Alliance on Twitter at @All4Ed for more education news.


The number of school-aged youth living in poverty in the United States is on the rise, according to a new report released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics Institute for Education Sciences. The Condition of Education 2015, an annual report meant to inform members of Congress, is a summary of the “important developments and trends in education.” The data in the report is collected across 42 key indicators of education trends recognized throughout U.S. public and private K-12 schools as well as higher education institutions.

According to the report, 1 in 5 school-aged children lived in poverty in 2013, up for 1 in 7 in 2000. As The Huffington Post’s Rebecca Klein points out, poverty is often associated with low academic achievement and the report notes the upward trend is having a negative effect on students in the classroom, writing:

“Teachers reported that kindergarten students from affluent households in the 2010-2011 school year were more likely to have positive approaches to learning than those whose families live below the poverty line…”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to the inequities in educations facing students in high poverty areas in a Thursday blog for the Department of Education. He discussed specifically the large gaps in school funding for low poverty schools compared to that of high poverty schools, saying that now is a crucial time to advance equity for students who need it the most. Duncan writes:

“These gaps should spur bold action by all of us — educators, district leaders, community members, and elected and appointed officials. And there are examples throughout the country of just that kind of collective action.”

The Condition of Education 2015 makes reference to the all-time high graduation rate for public high schools, noting that 81 percent of students graduated on time in the 2011-12 school year, up 8 points from the 2005-06 school year. While the U.S. is on track to graduate 90 percent of students by 2020 according to a recent report released by America’s Promise Alliance, there are still roughly 1,200 of these schools that fail to graduate one third of students on time. These schools are still in need of improvement.

Duncan agrees. He calls for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to “expand funding and support for schools and educators, and maintaining high expectations for students,” without intensifying existing inequities that face struggling students.

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