Measuring disadvantage

Student poverty usually is measured by school lunch eligibility, which undercounts older students, who may shun the school lunch even if they’re poor.

The National Assessment of Education Progress is developing new ways to evaluate students’ socioeconomic challenges, reports Ed Week.

It will start with the “big three”: the family’s income, parents’ level of educational attainment, and whether and where they are employed. This year’s administration of NAEP has also tried out new background questions, including how long the child has lived in the United States, how many family members live with the child, and how many adults in the home have a job.

The NAEP student survey includes questions about home possessions related to student achievement, such as access to the Internet and the number of books in the home.

The board may add to the mix neighborhood resources, such as libraries, museums and parks, and neighborhood problems, such as concentrated poverty, linguistic isolation, low education, low employment and high crime rates.

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  1. The more poor kids at your school, the more federal cash you receive. You get more of what you incentivize. Ironically enough, the corollary is also illustrated by the school lunch theme: “You do not value what you receive for free.” Check the trashcans and abundant campus litter at the average American school. Hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) and tons of food are being wasted every school day.