22% of Children Will Live in Poverty, New Study Shows

More than one in five American children will live in poverty in 2010, according to projections from a new report by the Foundation for Child Development. The 2010 Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI) shows that the estimated rate of children living below the poverty line in 2010–22%– is the highest in 20 years.

The CWI used 28 indicators of quality of life ranging from economic to emotional well-being; based on data through 2008, the report extrapolates that the “family economic well-being” measure will sink to its lowest point since 1975. This can be attributed to the effects of the global recession, which began in 2008, and illustrates the lag time that typically occurs between the beginning of a recession and its subsequent impact on families. Six of the seven quality of life domains in the study are predicted to reach their lowest points this year.

“Research shows that children who slip into poverty, even for a short time, suffer long-term setbacks even when their families regain their economic footing,” says Ruby Takanishi, president of the Foundation for Child Development. “This is especially true for children during their first decade of life. This means that, even if the recession subsides soon, the effects on these children will not. Unfortunately, we fear the worst is yet to come.”

  • The full CWI report is available here.

New National Numbers on High-poverty Schools

The National Center for Education Statistics has just released its 2010 Condition of Education report, an in-depth examination of 49 indicators on the state of education across the country. This year’s report includes a special section devoted to profiling high-poverty public schools and their students, staff, and outcomes.

Lunch

The report used the percentage of students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL) through the National School Lunch Program to determine school poverty status. High-poverty schools had 76 to 100% of students eligible for FRPL and low-poverty schools had up to 25% of students eligible.

How does this compare to Boston? According to the most recent data from the Boston Foundation’s Indicators project, approximately 71% of Boston Public School students–roughly 40,000 students–qualify for FRPL. Nationally, there were 16,122 schools that were considered high-poverty, which shows a 5% increase over the past decade (12% of schools in 1999-2000 versus 17 percent in 2007-08).

The report says that for both elementary and secondary schools, there was little difference between the distribution of school support staff between  high- and low-poverty schools. At high-poverty elementary schools, 62% of all staff were professional instructional staff, 5% were student services professional staff, 16%  were aides, and 17% were other staff. The numbers at low-poverty elementary schools were very similar.

Despite the staffing levels being nearly identical, the report reiterated the outcomes of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments in reading, mathematics, music, and art, where students from high-poverty schools did not perform as well as students from low-poverty schools.

  • The full report is available here.

Boston Increases Reading Scores on Nation’s Report Card

Good news for Boston in the latest release from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP):

Fourth graders in Boston Public Schools had NAEP reading scores higher than the national average for public school students in large cities in 2009. Of the 11 urban districts examined, Boston was one of four that showed an increase in average reading scores. You can view more data about Boston’s fourth grade reading scores here.

NAEP also surveyed eighth graders’ reading proficiency. While they too had above average reading scores for public school students in large cities, there was no significant difference between the 2009 and 2007 results.  Eighth grade reading scores are available here.

However, urban schools still lag behind the nationwide average. Taking all of the 11 urban districts’ results into consideration, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a statement:

Today’s report shows that the reading achievement of students in our largest cities has increased over time. At the same time, the results also show that cities have significant work to do . . . In cities, towns, and rural areas across the country, we have to work together so that all children are receiving the world-class education they deserve.

Boston Globe Coverage of Secretary Duncan’s Visit

The Boston Globe spent the day with Education Secretary Arne Duncan as he made several stops around the city–read their account of the day’s events here.

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