Low-income children now represent a majority of students enrolled in public schools in the South, a new report by the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) finds. The 2009-10 school year marked the first time in modern history that a majority of students in public schools in the South were low-income students, defined as the number of students participating in the federal free- and reduced-lunch program. As public schools in North Carolina and other southern states are challenged with educating more low-income students – who typically need extra learning support and resources to succeed – education spending has failed to reflect this growing need and challenge. Read More…
A new release from the NC Justice Center:
A boom in low-wage jobs is the leading factor contributing to the drop in unemployment across most of the state’s metros, according to today’s jobs report from the N.C. Division of Employment Security.
Although unemployment has dropped in all 14 of North Carolina’s metro areas over the last year, most of these job growth has occurred in the lowest wage sector—Leisure & Hospitality. Unfortunately, this industry pays $8.30 an hour, more than $12 below the statewide average—suggesting that most metros are seeing the biggest growth opportunities in ultra-low wage jobs.
Over the last year, Leisure & Hospitality was either the fastest or second fastest growing industry in 10 metro areas. These metros include:
- Asheville—5.7% growth Read More…
North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.7 percent in August, according to the latest jobs report from the Division of Employment Security, but this “improvement” is largely the result of a mathematical quirk, and masks deeper, long-term problems in the state’s labor market—most notably, the lack of available jobs for unemployed workers.
While the number of unemployed people dropped last month, this is only because jobless workers gave up on their job search and dropped out of the labor force, not because they actually found jobs. In August, Read More…
The federal Pell Grant Program serves students from very poor families, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). However, the ability of the Pell Grant to cover the cost of higher education has declined over time and will continue to in the years ahead. This student aid program was created in 1972 to help improve the access of low-income students to postsecondary education and is the largest federal student aid grant program. For 2012-13, nearly 9 million students across the United States received Pell grants at a cost of $32.4 billion dollars.
The report presents Congress with a range of options for potentially making changes to the federal Pell Grant Program. Eligibility and Pell grant award amounts are determined using various formulas and thresholds. Simply put, the program determines how much a family is expected to contribute towards the cost of a student’s postsecondary education – the estimated family contribution (EFC) – and based on this (EFC), a student may qualify for a Pell grant. The maximum Pell grant award is $5,645 for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The CBO report includes an abundance of data and information regarding the Pell Grant Program; however, the big takeaways highlight the type of students the program serves and the ability of the program to promote college affordability. Read More…
On Friday, Chris Mai of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities documented some remarkable numbers related to American support for public education. As her chart below shows, North Carolina’s dwindling support parallels a disturbing national trend:
”Local governments added 20,000 education jobs in the month of August, the Labor Department reported today. That’s good news, but schools remain in a big hole from the recession: local school districts still have 297,000 fewer jobs than in August 2008 (see chart).
This means that, even as K-12 enrollment has risen — by 800,000 students between the fall of 2008 and fall of 2013, according to the Education Department — schools have fewer teachers, librarians, principals, guidance counselors, nurses, and other staff to help them.
Instead of setting our students up for success at the start of a new school year, we’re giving them less support than just a few years ago.