In vast swaths of America, the conversion of the "public" school system into a separate and unequal educational system catering to the poor and powerless is almost complete.

A new study from the Southern Education Foundation shows that 17 US states have reached quite a notable turning point: the majority of students in their public school systems receive free lunches—which is to say, the public school systems in these states can now be properly classified as institutions that mostly serve the poor, rather than public institutions that serve a representative cross-section of society. This means that the concerns of the public school system can be more easily ignored on a statewide and region-wide level by politicians who care not for the interests of low-income people.

The states with majority-poor school systems, as seen in the map above, include almost the entire South, as well as Oregon, Nevada, and California. From the Washington Post:

“This is incredible,” said Michael A. Rebell, the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University..

“When you break down the various test scores, you find the high-income kids, high-achievers are holding their own and more,” Rebell said. “It’s when you start getting down to schools with a majority of low-income kids that you get astoundingly low scores. Our real problem regarding educational outcomes is not the U.S. overall, it’s the growing low-income population.”

No one who believes in the concept of universal free public education should have any illusions about this: if this trend continues (and it will, unless something powerful is done to stop it), public schools will become politically irrelevant and further neglected and less cared for in larger and larger portions of America, until the entire national public school system is threatened with destruction. This is why we need to outlaw private school.

[Image via SEF]