The Southern Education Foundation recently released “A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South and Nation“, which highlights that the majority of students in the South are considered low income. “Low income students” are students eligible for free or reduced price lunches.
How many children are eligible for free or reduced lunches in Alabama’s schools? Latest figures (the 2012-2013 school year) indicate nearly 60%. That’s 432,265 of 735,605 children in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Children become eligible for reduced price meals when their family income is 185% of the federal poverty level. Eligibility for free meals occurs when family income is 130% of the federal poverty level. The eligibility guideline is calculated each year by the federal government and differs based on the number of members in the household. The cost of students’ lunches are subsidized/paid with federal funds.
As expected, the number of low income students in Alabama varies by school district. Where are children in poverty in Alabama? Check out the data map below or click this link to view if the data map doesn’t show in your browser. Play around with the check boxes and filters to discover the variations among Alabama’s school systems. (Thank you, Mr. Cukier for sharing how to embed this)
The ALSDE’s Comprehensive System of Learning Supports was the subject of my last post. Poverty is one of many barriers to learning. Removing those barriers may be the single most important task to assist a child in reaching his or her academic potential.
What is your school district doing to address poverty-related issues? Do you know how many low-income children are in your child’s school?
To see the data yourself: Here is the link to view and download the 2012-2013 Free/Reduced Lunch data from the ALSDE web site. Click the link, then use the drop-down menu to choose “Free Lunch by System and School” report. Follow the rest of the instructions to view the data.