Kansas: Kansas City Unified School District 500
> Location: Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties
> Per student spending: $11,186
> High school graduation rate: 71%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 14.6%
The Kansas City School District, with roughly 22,000 students, is one of the largest in the state. With a 71% graduation rate, it is also the district where students are least likely to succeed in the state. Just 14.6% of adults in the district have a bachelor’s degree, less than half both the statewide and national bachelor’s attainment rates. Only 2% of high schoolers in the district enroll in AP courses.
Kentucky: Clay County School District
> Location: Clay County
> Per student spending: $10,167
> High school graduation rate: 79%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 9.5%
Kentucky has one of the worst-rated early education systems in the country, and students in the Clay County School District have an even lower likelihood of receiving quality early education. Just 18.2% of 3- and 4-year olds in the district are enrolled in Pre-K, less than the statewide enrollment rate of 41.3% and the national rate of 47.5%.
Children whose parents have a college education have been shown to be more likely to do better in school and more likely to attend college. In the Clay County School District, however, less than 10% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to the state’s bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 24%, which is one of the lowest of any state.
Louisiana: Morehouse Parish School District
> Location: Morehouse Parish
> Per student spending: $11,775
> High school graduation rate: 69%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 13.9%
In Louisiana’s Morehouse Parish School District, located in the northernmost part of the state, just 69% of the class of 2017 graduated on time, nearly the smallest share of any district reviewed in the state. High enrollment in Advanced Placement courses in a school district can be a sign students there are excelling at their studies. The average enrollment rate across all school districts with available data in the U.S. is 18.4% of high school students, but in this district, no students are reported as enrolled in AP classes.
> Location: Androscoggin County
> Per student spending: $11,511
> High school graduation rate: 76%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 19.2%
Maine’s Lewiston School District is located not far from Bates College. While the presence of a nearby college or university often corresponds with higher local educational attainment rates, less than 20% of adults in the district have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 32.1% of adults in the state. Many of the state’s school districts lack comparable high school graduation rates, but of those with data, Lewiston’s 76% graduation rate for 2017 was the worst in the state.
Maryland: Baltimore City Public Schools
> Location: Baltimore city
> Per student spending: $15,168
> High school graduation rate: 71%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.4%
Generally, Maryland’s education system compares favorably to the rest of the country, and the average district spending per pupil is considerably higher than the nationwide average. In the vast majority of school districts in the state, a smaller than average share of school-aged children live in poverty. One of the few major exceptions is the Baltimore City School District, where nearly 30% of children live in poverty, compared to a national child poverty rate of 17.3%.