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.

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