November 30, 2009

Child poverty rising in rural Oregon

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It may not be surprising, but it’s worth noting that the poverty rate for children varies widely by the counties they live in. In Oregon, children in rural counties were the most likely to live in impoverished households.

According to Betsy Hammond, writing in The Oregonian, children in the Lake Oswego, Sherwood, Corbett and West Linn-Wilsonville school districts had six percent or fewer children living under the poverty line.

In contrast, many of the school districts in southeast Oregon’s Harney County and in the Three Rivers school district near Grants Pass had up to one-third of their students living in poverty.

Poverty level is considered $22,050 a year for a family of four.

Students need more assistance in high-poverty communities in order to read and do math. A federal report released last week shows that kids who go to school in low-income districts are about 12 times more likely to be attending low-performing schools, Hammond writes.

Holly Pruett, executive director of Stand for children in Oregon, told the Oregonian:

 “For children living in poverty, schools are the essential lifeline to the skills and the inspiration to be able to succeed in life.”

–Carol Smith

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