Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Increasing Numbers of Oklahoma's Children Raised in Poverty

Last week the Tulsa World ran an article on children and poverty in Oklahoma entitled Tulsa, state schools' free meal eligibility rises. In the article, State Superintendent of Schools Sandy Garrett and Anne Roberts, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, and others talked about the challenges of teaching children from very poor families. They also acknowledged that the percent of children in Oklahoma schools coming from very poor families is increasing over time (see below).

Today, The Oklahoman ran an editorial entitled Going Hungry: Poverty devastates children. It didn't offer solutions but at least acknowledged the problem.

The following are statewide percentages of public school students qualifying for free-reduced meals for the last five school years (note the disturbing trend):

2007-08: 55.50 percent
2006-07: 55.40 percent
2005-06: 54.84 percent
2004-05: 54.11 percent
2003-04: 53.23 percent

Source: Department of Education

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