The Southern Educational Foundation just issued “A New Diverse Majority,” a report on demographic changes in the public school student body.
It has a surprise.
Kentucky isn’t as “poor” as our educators might like us to believe when they make excuses for performance.
This graphical map from the Southern Educational Foundation shows the percentage of the students in each state that qualify for the federal free and reduced cost school lunch program. The numbers are a commonly used indicator of poverty for school children.
Plenty of states on the map have higher poverty rates than we have. And, because the break point used to color code the map is a 50 percent rate, and because we barely exceed that, several of the states shown in green are actually within a few points of our poverty rate, as well.
So, when white students in every state on this map except Oklahoma (poorer), Tennessee (poorer), Hawaii, Alabama (poorer), Mississippi (MUCH poorer) and West Virginia (equally poor) outscored our whites on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress Grade 8 Math Assessment, and when of that group of six states, Oklahoma (poorer), Tennessee (poorer) and Hawaii actually were able to tie us, we have just cause to worry.
The poverty excuse won’t fly any more in Kentucky. Almost every state in the South plus California and West Virginia have more poverty now than we do, but in most cases their kids now outperform our dominant racial group.
(Note: I ranked the NAEP scores as downloaded from the NAEP Data Explorer web tool)