average percentage of low income students for Jasper
County is 61%
report written by Southern Education Foundation Program
Officer Steve Suitts details the high percentages
of low income students in the south as compared with
other regions in the nation.
wanted to document where we are now as far as children
in poverty in the south and address
that regionally by bringing this to the forefront,"
said Lauren Veasey, SEP associate program officer.
report called "A New
Majority: Low Income Students in the South's Public Schools"
looked at how the percentage of low income students in the
South has steadily increased from 1989 to 2006 as well as
the implications of the growing population of impoverished
students in the region.
Compared to the nation
The national average of low
income students is 46 percent. In the report, the southern
region is comprised of 15 states and the average percentage
of low income students for those states stands at 54 percent,
or 8 percentage points higher than the national average.
This figure is seven percentage points higher than the region
with the second highest low income students - the west with
47 percent of students coming from poor households. Both
the Midwestern and northeastern region report 36 percent
of their students as from low income families.
Out of the 15 states in the southern region, 11 have more
than half of their students coming from low income households.
In the west, only three states had 50 percent or more of
their students categorized as low income. No state in the
northeast or Midwest has more than half of their students
living in low income households. The number of low income
students also has significantly increased across the nation
since 2000. In 2000, four states - Mississippi (63 percent),
Louisiana (60 percent), New Mexico (51 percent) and Kentucky
(51 percent) - had more than 50 percent destitute students.
Six years later, the number of states with more than half
of their student population categorized as low income had
jumped to 14 - including Georgia. Louisiana (84 percent),
Mississippi (75 percent), New Mexico and Florida (both 62
percent) currently have the highest percentages of poor
Georgia's most current figures
show 52 percent of the state's students come from low income
In the southern region, Georgia fares better than Alabama,
Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and
Texas. While, Georgia's average is two percentage points
better than the south's average, it is six more than the
The smallest counties (less than 1,000 students) in Georgia
log the highest percentage of low income students. The highest
percentage recorded in Georgia is 94 percent low-come -
shared by Baker, Clay, Quitman, Taliaferro and Warren counties.
Fayette and Forsyth counties reported the lowest percentages,
both with 14 percent. Both of those counties house more
than 20,000 students. Out of the Georgia's 159 counties,
118 have more than 50 percent low income students, 36 have
25 to 50 percent and only five have less than 25 percent.
Veasey of the SEF said the recent increases in impoverished
students in the South can be attributed to a number of factors.
Reasons include an increase in the Hispanic and black populations
- demographics with higher birth rates - of the region,
high unemployment rates and high pre-existing rates of southern
"Also, we definitely saw differences in per-pupil expenditures
on students in the south," Veasey said. For example,
several states' lowest per student expenditures exceed Mississippi's
highest per student expenditures.
"What we've seen in states and systems with higher
percentages of low income students are differences in the
academic achievement," Veasey said, "such as lower
scores on national achievement exams as well as state exams."
Economically disadvantaged students not only post lower
scores on standardized tests but also are more likely to
drop out of school because of too many courses failed or
because they feel they need to earn money by working instead
of attending school. "Low educational achievement leads
to low pay and it's a cycle that just keeps repeating itself,"
In Georgia middle and high schools, newly installed graduation
coaches work to identify students at risk of not graduating
in four years or at all and make sure they are supported
with school services that will put them on the path to a
Veasey said southern states should set a minimum amount
of funding given to schools to even out the disparity in
per pupil spending from region to region.
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
as to where and how
their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and
discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending,
and lower property taxes.