Despite rising poverty numbers, local schools ‘respond’ to challenge
The 2011 Iowa Kids Count highlights Jasper County as an area of rising poverty and unemployment, yet test scores and graduate rates continue to climb
It goes nearly without saying that in 2000, things were looking up in Newton. Unemployment numbers were low — some of the lowest in the state, as evidenced by Jasper County’s millennium jobless measure of just 2.1 percent — and the economy was steady.
Twelve years later, it’s difficult to ignore the changes that gradually wrought the county. With the loss of thousands of jobs, unemployment numbers soared and numbers of students qualifying for free and reduced lunches in the Newton Community School District followed suit, evidenced by data found in the recently released Iowa Kids Count.
The report, which examines “hundreds of measures of child well-being,” laid out state and county data in areas such as child poverty, children receiving WIC benefits and unemployment figures.
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