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Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty

The Washington Post – Lyndsey Layton

“For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation. The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade were eligible under the federal program for free and reduced-price lunches in the 2012-2013 school year…The shift to a majority-poor student population means that in public schools, more than half of the children start kindergarten already trailing their more privileged peers and rarely, if ever, catch up…It also means that education policy, funding decisions and classroom instruction must adapt to the swelling ranks of needy children arriving at the schoolhouse door each morning…Schools, already under intense pressure to deliver better test results and meet more rigorous standards, face the doubly difficult task of trying to raise the achievement of poor children so that they approach the same level as their more affluent peers.”(more)

Why You May Care More About Education Than You Realize

The Huffington Post – Patricia Andrews Fearon

“Those who fight hunger know that, while at times necessary, handing out food is not enough to systemically and forcibly end the problem. Rather, lasting solutions are those that empower individuals and communities to provide for themselves…Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope… It is a bulwark against poverty…it is an agent of family health and nutrition.” (more)

Bringing the Promise of Healthy School Meals to More Children This Fall

The Huffington Post – Sec. Tom Vilsack & Sec. Arne Duncan

“The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 enabled the U.S Department of Agriculture to make historic changes to the meals served in our nation’s schools. Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks sold during the school day are now more nutritious than ever…” (more)

When Students Can’t Pay for School Lunch, Everyone Loses

Education Week – Patricia Montague

“…why do news reports, from Utah to Texas to New Jersey, continue to surface about unintended consequences for students who cannot pay for school lunch? Although every incident is different, each of these “unpaid meal charge” stories indicates a broad and growing national problem…We all need to work together to develop compassionate policies for responding to children who are unable to pay for their school meals, while managing the cost incurred by the school district.”(more)

School lunch: Some schools drop federal healthy lunch program

Christian Science Monitor – Carolyn Thompson

“After just one year, some schools around the country are dropping out of the healthier new federal lunch program, complaining that so many students turned up their noses at meals packed with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that the cafeterias were losing money.” (more)

School Lunches Vital to Children’s Health, Education says World Food Program

Voice of America – Jennifer Lazuta

“The U.N. World Food Program said in its 2013 State of School Feeding Worldwide report that supplying meals and snacks to students is a proven benefit, but that the programs are still not reaching children who need them most. Researchers have found that supplying free lunches to students in rural primary schools not only made them healthier, it raised their test scores.”(more)