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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Critical school poverty rate miscalculated in Md; here's how to fix it

Critical school poverty rate miscalculated in Md; here's how to fix it

A school’s poverty rate determines everything from funding allocations and staffing to free buses for field trips and up to $14,000 in federal loan forgiveness for individual teachers. Poverty rates are used for accountability systems and to compare school and district performance. Poverty rates even determine which schools receive fresh fruits and vegetables from the federal government. With so much riding on the poverty rate, the data has to be trusted and sound.

But poor children in Baltimore City are being undercounted. This is a systemic problem put in place four years ago. That was the year we stopped collecting lunch applications, used for decades to set poverty rates. The...

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