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Facts and Figures About Rural Student Poverty

Ohanian Comment: This article appeared in the March 2012 Rural Policy Matters. You can subscribe to monthly updates.

If you can stand it, here is the New Mexico Public Education Department plan to improve things. They call this plan "Kids First, New Mexico Wins," but there is little mention of kids in it. The plan includes "Seek federal competitive grants to increase overall educational funding." Well, we know what that does to kids. We can hope the bureaucrats mean something different by increased dollars to "direct instruction" than what makes alarm bells go off for most of us. The plan also includes technology upgrades to enhance and improve data-based decision making.

This sounds like knee-jerk repetition of mantras pushed by Arne Duncan and his partner Bill Gates rather than a response to the needs of children.

Question: Does anybody visit these schools and talk to the teachers, parents, and children about what they really need?

Facts and Figures About Rural Student Poverty

Question: Which state has the highest rate of poverty (as measured by eligibility for federally funded subsidized meals) among rural students?

Answer: New Mexico, with 80%. Other states where over half of rural students are living in poverty are: Louisiana (69%), Mississippi (63%), Arkansas (58%), Oklahoma (57%), Kentucky (57%), South Carolina (57%), West Virginia (53%), Alabama (52%) and Georgia (52%).

(Why Rural Matters, 2011--12. Data source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data, Public School Universe, 2008--09.)

— Rural Policy Matters
Rural School and Community Trust





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