Oklahoma City, OK – Statistics show the number of Oklahoma students who are eligible for free or reduced-cost school meals is rising.
The state Department of Education says about 640,000 students in Oklahoma are eligible for the program.
That number is about 55.5 percent of all students.
Anne Roberts with the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy says the numbers are an indication of poverty.
Roberts says it's often difficult for schools to serve the needs of students who qualify for the program. She says such students often deal not only with nutritional issues but with stress at home and gaps in vocabulary and life experiences.