Poverty rates climbing in Georgia schools

The changes have been subtle, but the cumulative effect of rising poverty has been unmistakalbe to…

Georgia (Nov 24, 2014)The changes have been subtle, but the cumulative effect of rising poverty has been unmistakalbe to Sabrina Oakley, a parent who sent two children to public schools in Gwinnet County….


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But some question whether spending more is the way to address the growing poverty.

Ben Scafidi, an economics professor at Kennesaw State University, said cumulative spending from all sources — local, state and federal — soared over 25 years, with little obvious impact.

Georgia spent $4,843 per student in the 1979-80 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which used inflation-adjusted dollars. The comparable amount four years ago, the most recent available figure, was $10,022.

“There’ve been massive increases in spending but not increases in student achievement,” Scafidi said. “So my read of the data is there are a lot more things going on than spending. I think we need to focus on improving the productivity of our education dollars.”


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu