Group Says Arkansas Education Challenged by Rising Poverty - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Little Rock, AR

Group Says Arkansas Education Challenged by Rising Poverty

JUNE 26, 2006 - Posted at 4:21 p.m. CST


LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new report shows Arkansas' campaign to improve its schools is challenged by a rising number of low-income and minority students.

The report is from the Southern Regional Education Board, a nonprofit group that helps states in the region improve education.

The report says more than half of the state's school children now live in low-income households and are eligible for the federal school lunch program.

The number of minority students is also expected to grow significantly over the next decade, making state efforts to close performance gaps among groups of students even more important, the report says.

By 2018, white students are expected to decline from 73 percent to 53 percent of high school graduating classes in Arkansas, while Hispanic students will grow from five percent to 27 percent.

The report also notes progress the state has made, pointing out that Arkansas' high school graduation rate of 77 percent in 2003 beat the national average and average in the South.  The report also notes that Arkansas fourth-graders are showing improvement in reading.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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