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The Depths of How Poverty Affects Learning: A Superintendent’s Quest

When Pedro Martinez took over as superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District last year, he knew poverty didn’t have to be destiny. To start that conversation, he needed data. For decades, educators and education policymakers have defined poverty rates in schools as the number of students whose family income qualifies them for free or subsidized meals. Yet Martinez’ personal and professional experience told him that the challenges faced by students who are entitled to subsidized meals vary widely with their family’s income.