What? Sen. Cory Booker tweets that half of US students are living in poverty

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) seems to have taken away a single line from a USA Today opinion piece on the “poverty crisis” in America’s schools: “Half of students in poverty.”

https://twitter.com/CoryBooker/status/422829214967300096

Many are questioning Booker’s math, however. Oliver Thomas, who wrote the USA Today piece, notes that “in Finland, the child poverty rate is about 5%. In the U.S., the rate is almost five times as high.” That would make the U.S. child poverty rate…

Maybe it was a simple rounding error.

Where, then, did the senator get the idea that half of all students are in poverty? Likely from this subhead later in the piece.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 5.47.29 PM

The study cited describes not students in poverty but rather “low income” students, defined as those eligible for free or reduced lunches, and concludes that more than half of students in 17 states qualified as low income. So, what does it take to qualify for a reduced price lunch? The family must have a household income of less than 185 percent of the poverty line.

So, who really believes that a full half of public school students are in poverty?

Why tweet such a misleading figure to your followers, especially if you’re a U.S. senator?

https://twitter.com/cathybuffaloe/status/422834808335523840

Probably for this reason.

Editor’s note: The headline of this piece has been changed to read “students” rather than “children.” Twitchy regrets the error.

blog comments powered by Disqus