More than half of U.S. students now live in poverty

SEF-Percent-of-Low-Income-Students-in-US-(2) According to a new report from the Southern Education Foundation, more than half of U.S. students in public schools lived in poverty in 2013. That’s 51 percent.

From the report:

In 40 of the 50 states, low income students comprised no less than 40 percent of all public schoolchildren. In 21 states, children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches were a majority of the students in 2013.

Most of the states with a majority of low income students are found in the South and the West. Thirteen of the 21 states with a majority of low income students in 2013 were located in the South, and six of the other 21 states were in the West.

I suppose we don’t need to look at the voting habits of those states with the majority of impoverished students, but it’s worth a mention here. Mississippi leads the way, with 71 percent, followed by New Mexico, with 68 percent. That is abysmal. That is just wrong.

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    1. As I read this, I was thinking of the late, great Joe Bageant, of “Deer Hunting With Jesus” fame (and other great works. I was wondering how often the voters in those states with extremely high poverty among public school students voted against their own best interests in favor of their flag, their military, their….what?

    2. I do miss Joe.
      But voting habits didn’t crash the economy. Voters have little…if any…actual influence on economic policies and practices. SCIENCE! proved that last year. (You covered it here.)

      Capitalism crashed the economy. And get ready…because it’s not done with us yet.

      1. Gosh, that was a beautiful blog post. Did I write it? Is it wrong to think that voting has the teensiest influence, in that we keep electing the same ol’, same ol’ who feed into the oligarchy? Or would that be like saying we actually have influence over the oligarchy. To quote a fabulous person I know, “MORE COFFEE!”

        1. You did write it!
          In a One Party Country, voter choice…all choice… is necessarily limited by the people who own the country…that ain’t us…and the people they employ to manipulate the electorate.

          Voting can have more influence locally than nationally…depending on the issue…but when the rubber hits the road, it’s still the people behind the wheel…that ain’t us…who decide what road is taken.

          Capitalism…what a concept.

            1. Chaos.
              I don’t think we can just remove Capitalism from the equation. History has shown that attempts to do so often wind up being as bad…or worse…than Capitalism itself. Removing the absurdity from it…the illusion and false consciousness it propagates…is necessary if we want to socialize (democratize) our economy and enlarge (de-privatize) our political sphere. Markets are necessary critters…especially consumer markets…and profit doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

              Henry Giroux said recently that a radical new democracy…[D]emands a social movement unwilling to abide by technological fixes or cheap reforms… a new politics for which the word revolution means going to the root of the problem and addressing it non-violently with dignity, civic courage and the refusal to accept a future that mimics the present.
              …is needed to reclaim the agency neoliberalism has robbed from the electorate. Social solidarity will be required. The people who own this country…as we’ve seen… will make that as difficult as possible.

          1. Am I naive to think things would be drastically different if democrats were truly in charge, super majority all around? I do think the deck would be less stacked in favor of the wealthy, and poverty could become more rare.

            I heard someone say one time (I don’t remember who) that wealthy conservative politicians divert blame on them for policy that favors the wealthy, by getting the middle class to blame the poor for their woes. “Blame entitlements!” “You hard working folks are supporting the lazy poor!” – they say. Meanwhile, while the middle class isn’t paying attention to what’s really happening, they become poorer. It is sad that so many have been hoodwinked into supporting policy & politicians that only hurt them.

            1. I’m not going to call you naive. But the neoliberal Democratic Party actively promotes the illusion that today’s Democratic Party embodies the same principles that constructed Democratic Party identity for 50 years, (1930s-1980s). That simply is not true anymore.

              I believe the middle class, especially the younger voters, understand fully what’s really happening. I think the worst voter turnout in 70 years…the 2014 midterms…illustrates that clearly. The realization that there is no substantive difference between the two Parties contributes to a lack of confidence in government that inspires people favorable to those past Democratic Party ideals to disconnect from the political process. Why vote when it doesn’t really matter who wins?

              Hoodwinked is a good descriptor, but the neoliberal ideology…
              the primacy of the market…
              cutting public expenditure for social services (the dismantling of the welfare state)…
              eliminating the concept of “the public good” or “community” and replacing it with a dogma of “individual responsibility”…
              and the eradication of any accountability for policy failures in the public sector and crimes in the financial sector…
              …is completely bipartisan in nature.

              The only real choice remaining between the two legacy Parties is: One uses lube, the other doesn’t.
              Either way…we’re all getting bent over the same chair.

              1. I do get discouraged, for the reasons you mention, leftover. However, I am not quite hopeless. I do believe there would be a substantial difference in the state of the country if Democrats were in charge vs Republicans in charge. The problem is, we have both sides in charge, and they have to work together. Needing to compromise changes everything, I think. I hope young people get out and vote. For me, voting Democrat is partly a protective action. If we become apathetic, then the Republicans will take charge, and we will be worse off, don’t you think?

                1. Oh…they’re working together allright….
                  The neoliberal tendency goes back much farther than the Obama Era. And the Republicans have been in charge all through the Obama Era. (See bruce Bartlett’s analysis here.) And remember…which Party…allegedly…had control in Congress between 2008 and 2014?

                  Compromise would be fine. But we’re not seeing any compromise. We’re seeing capitulation, political opportunism and corruption masquerading as compromise. Appeasement is not progress.

                  When the Republicans take the White House in 2016…and they will…their current majority will likely be tempered by losses in both houses in Congress…leading to the same manufactured paralysis and neoliberal shift on social issues we’ve seen the last 6 years. Even if the Democrats do retain control of the Executive Branch, it will be by the same free market corporatists that control it now. Either Political Dynasty…Bush or Clinton…ruling class aristocrats all…will maintain the stranglehold the financial elite has on government…and society.

                  Change will come…sooner or later…because the neoliberal tendency cannot be sustained. But it’s not going to be pretty.

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