July 18, 2008

City's poverty rate appears to be escalating

Students in Bristol are more than 5 percent more likely to be living in low-income families now than they were in 2006.
In a side-by-side, citywide comparison of the same classes in school two years ago and this year, the percentage of students receiving free or reduced price school lunches rose for each of the four grades where comparisons were possible.
For instance, 36.8 percent of third graders in 2006 were eligible for cheap or free school lunches. This year, that same class, who are now in fifth grade, saw 40.9 percent of the students qualify.
The percentages of students who receive free or lower-priced school lunches is one of the breakdowns available to study the results of the Connecticut Mastery Tests that are given to nearly every student between third and eighth grade.
Because some students move, the makeup of classes changes from year to year, but the overall trend remains clear.
The fourth grade class in 2006, 34.9 percent of students were eligible for the lunch benefit. By the time they got to sixth grade this year, 37.9 percent of the class qualified.
The fifth grade class in 2006 had 33 percent of its students qualify. This year, 33.5 percent were eligible, the smallest increase among the group.
The sixth grade class two years ago had 33.6 percent of students eligible. This year, 35.7 percent of students made the cut.
The increasing rate of poverty has implications for the city's economy as a whole as well as for the educational system.
Students who come from low-income families are much less likely to score well on tests and educators say it takes more money to teach them because they are often lacking the skills that peers from richer homes possess.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

Thank God for Art Ward.

Anonymous said...

It "Appears" to be escalating? Who's the rocket scientist that discovered this?? Unless you are blind, you really can't miss it. This town is sinking more and more everyday. And i don't see things turning around. Get out while you can, lol.

Anonymous said...

Let's get some more out of town slum lords into Bristol and create more section 8 housing so we can continue to attract the flotsam and jetsam of every other community in Connecticut.

Come on all of you slum lord defenders… tell me how great it is to support the scum of the earth.

Anonymous said...

Before you blame "The Slum-Lords" blame the Dumb-o-crats in Hartford and Washington who love to hand out entitlements (like welfare and Section 8) to minority victim-groups.

Subtract the people who's welfare-class parents refuse to speak English at home and then how do the English scores look?

Anonymous said...

Big Shocker here...given that we've taken on about 20% of the population of New Britain, Waterbury and Hartford in the last 5 years.

Anonymous said...

"SlumLords" love section 8 . They survive on taxpayers money. They have none of their own to spend.

Anonymous said...

Before everyone jumps up and down and accepts what are arguably self-serving statistics from the Superintendent, there are a few simple questions that should be asked. Here are three.

1. The definition of poverty is eligibility for subsidized meals. It is interesting to note that the definition includes both free and reduced cost meals. Have the eligibility requirements changed to include more students?
2. Have there been more aggressive efforts to recruit students who might have been eligible in the past but did not apply for the program?
3. Are the students in the program, especially in the higher grades, new residents or are have they been in the system since the last time (2006) these statistics were released. The former suggests in migration. The latter suggests the preceding questions or a decline in income among people who have been residents since at least the last time the statistics were calculated.

This said I think Bristol is getting poorer if only for two reasons. First, middle and working class wages have not kept up with the real cost of living. Second, Bristol is getting older and retirees usually see a decline in income as they leave the work force. How much new residents play in this I do not know. Can this be documented or is it simply a matter of impressions and personal biases?

chris wilson said...

regardless the number is increasing therefore we have more students with less resources therefore more resources need to be spent by government. If the students are in our system we should and must educate them. It is irrelevant where they came from or the reasoning behind their poverty status! We as a community and an educational organization are obligated to provide the resources necessary so these students are not left behind.

Anonymous said...

Low income students are left behind because they choose to be...The free food that they get is a crime because they throw it out!!! I know this because I work cafetieria and I see the amount of food wasted everyday!!!