According to the recent SC Education Oversight Committee on public school performance, 70% of public school children qualify for free/reduced lunch. To qualify, household income cannot exceed 185% of the federal poverty index. For a family of 4, the income limit is $42,643/year. Assuming 2 children per household, this suggests that 70% of SC children live in households who make no more than $42,643/ year on average.
According to the US Census Bureau, median SC income per household is $43,939 with 2.51 persons per household. Overall, 16.4% of South Carolinians live below the 100% poverty level index. The national median household income is $51,914 – 18% higher than the SC average.
Currently, 25% of children do not graduate from high school.
20% of children are not reading on grade level in 3rd grade.
In spite of these statistics, 42 school districts scored Excellent or Good in 2012, up from 33 in 2011 – a 27% increase.
If our average median income ever reached the national average, we could see an 18% drop in the number of children who qualify for free/reduced lunch.
Policies directed toward creating opportunity for the lower middle class matter.