For all families, a quality K-12 education lays the groundwork for future employment opportunities and long-term economic stability. As with early education, ALICE and other low-income families face multiple barriers to access, including:

  • Income Disparities
    By the time they reach high school, children from families with low socioeconomic status (SES) have literacy skills that are an average of five years behind their higher-income peers.34 Schools in communities with low SES, as well as low-SES families themselves, are more likely to have fewer resources to support students, which impacts academic achievement.35

  • The Achievement Gap
    As children move on to K-12 education, the one area of concern for ALICE households is the achievement gap. Nationwide, Black, Hispanic, and Native American students (who are disproportionately low income); students with limited English proficiency; and students with disabilities have lower test scores throughout K–12 and have high school graduation rates below the national average.36

  • Housing discrimination
    Past and current public policies and an array of systemic forces — including housing discrimination — have segregated many children living in under-resourced neighborhoods with low-quality schools. Although neighborhoods and schools are modestly more integrated by race than they were decades ago, significant racial segregation persists. In most states, there is wide variation in school performance across school districts.37

What do families do if they don’t live near a quality elementary, middle, or high school?


Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

© 2019 United Way of Northern New Jersey.  All rights reserved.

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