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A new report released Tuesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reveals an alarming trend of concentrated poverty in schools across the nation.

Using data collected through U.S. schools’ community eligibility program — a school lunch and breakfast initiative that provides students free meals if they attend schools in high-poverty areas — CBPP finds that over 3,000 school districts meet the requirements necessary for eligibility in the program. To put it more simply: Over 3,000 school districts encompass areas of concentrated high poverty.

Most disturbing is that over 28,000 schools throughout the nation meet these requirements, too. As CBPP’s Robert Greenstein reports, at least 60 percent of students in more than 8,000 of those qualifying schools are labeled as “Identified Students,” or low-income students that receive help through federal safety-net programs like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or “are considered at risk of hunger,” possibly because they are homeless or poverty-ridden.

CBPP -- School Poverty

 

As demonstrated in the chart above, in another 6,000 schools across 44 states, 50 to 60 percent of students are Identified Students.

As Greenstein notes, “this means that in more than 14,000 schools” — over “1 in 10 schools nationwide” — a “majority of the students receive SNAP or are homeless, migrant, or otherwise vulnerable.”

Unfortunately, the numbers get worse: For every 10 Identified Students, the CBPP finds that six additional students come from families that qualify for either reduced-price or free school meals, which suggests that they, too, are economically vulnerable.

The data also serve to reinforce the significance of community eligibility programs. Considering that “nearly 16 million American children live in households that struggle against hunger,” offering free breakfast and lunch in over 28,000 U.S. schools is especially important and has much deeper implications for students. Research has long shown that students who face food insecurity are less likely to succeed in school, because they tend to miss more days, not focus in class, and struggle with behavioral and academic difficulties. While the community eligibility program is certainly not a remedy for widespread poverty, it is a positive treatment for a particular population affected by this already existing economic instability; the community eligibility program can help students who often fall through the cracks because of economic insecurity and deprivation.

Photo: USDAGov via Flickr

Chart via Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

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President Trump boards Air Force One for his return flight home from Florida on July 31, 2020

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Florida senior residents have been reliable Republican voters for decades, but it looks like their political impact could shift in the upcoming 2020 election.

As Election Day approaches, Florida is becoming a major focal point. President Donald Trump is facing more of an uphill battle with maintaining the support of senior voters due to his handling of critical issues over the last several months. Several seniors, including some who voted for Trump in 2016, have explained why he will not receive their support in the November election.

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