In America, what you earn depends largely on your success in school. Unfortunately, your success in school depends largely on what your parents earn. It's an intergenerational Catch 22 that's at the heart of modern poverty.
Keep that in mind while looking at the monstrously depressing map up above, which comes courtesy of a new report by the Southern Education Foundation. In 2011, there were 17 states where at least half of all public school students came from low-income families, up from just four in 2000. Across the whole country, 48 percent of kids qualified as low income, up from 38 percent a decade earlier.