The increasing economic gap between rich and poor is now becoming the great divide of American education. Even above race. Current research shows that since the 1960s “the difference in test scores between affluent and underprivileged students has grown by 40%, and is now 2x the gap between black and white students.” With that in mind consider that almost half of all American public school students are now low-income.
In America, what you earn depends largely on your success in school. Unfortunately, your success in school depends largely on what your parents earn. It’s an intergenerational Catch 22 that’s at the heart of modern poverty.
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Across the whole country, 48 percent of kids qualified as low income, up from 38 percent a decade earlier. In 2011, there were 17 states where at least half of all public school students came from low-income families, up from 4 in 2000.