Special Report

School Districts Where Students are Most Likely to Succeed By State


To determine the worst school district in every state, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index based on various socioeconomic measures, school finance, student success, and environmental factors. The share of children aged 5 to 17 living with their family who are in poverty as of 2017 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program and was included in the index. Per-pupil expenditure for 2016 came from the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of School System Finances and was included in the index. The average cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for the 2015-2016 school year came from the National Center for Education Statistics and was included in the index. The number of teachers per student in the 2016-17 school year also came from the NCES and was included in the index. The share of adults aged 25 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree came from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey and were included in the index. All data are for the most recent period available. Any school district with a population of less than 500 was excluded. Any school district that did not have a cohort-level graduation rate was excluded, with the exception of the state of Montana, for which graduation rates were not included in the index.

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