Houston Matters

Majority of the Nation’s Public School Students Qualify for Free or Reduced Lunches

According to 2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 51 percent of America’s public school students were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program in the 2012-2013 academic year. In Texas, that number rises to 60 percent. It’s the first time a majority of students in our public schools meet that […]

According to 2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 51 percent of America’s public school students were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program in the 2012-2013 academic year. In Texas, that number rises to 60 percent. It’s the first time a majority of students in our public schools meet that threshold.

It’s also been a substantial rise. Back in 1989, 32 percent — less than a third — met that threshold. The number had only risen to 38 percent by the year 2000. While eligibility for the school lunch program is only a rough estimate of poverty, it underscores the continuing growing divide between rich and poor families – and schools.

We break down the numbers further for the Greater Houston region and consider the implications as we talk with Steve Suitts, Senior Fellow at the Southern Education Foundation.

We also discuss the intersection of health and education for poor students, as we talk with Patrick Bresette, Executive Director of the Children's Defense Fund of Texas.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required

Share

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

More Information