Special Report

School Districts Where Students Are Least 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, and environmental factors. The share of children aged 5 to 17 living with their family 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 was included in the index. All data are for the most recent period available. Any school district with a student population of less than 500 was excluded. Any school district that did not have data on 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. School districts in which the 2016-2017 cohort graduation rate was significantly different from previous years were excluded from ranking.