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The School District Where Students Are Least Likely to Succeed in Every State

Samuel Stebbins, Michael B. Sauter

School district quality is one of the most important factors homebuyers consider when looking for a place to live — particularly for new or expecting parents. A good school district can greatly increase a child’s chances of future success. 

Of course, the influences that can shape a child’s future are not strictly limited to the classroom. Conditions in the home and the broader community also have an effect. 

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index of measures, including the child poverty rate, the teacher-to-student ratio, per-pupil spending, the share of adults with a college education, and the high school graduation rate to determine the school district where students are least likely to succeed in every state. In our analysis, we also reviewed a number of measures of district outcomes, including college entrance exam performance and subject proficiency tests from education and community data clearing house, NicheWhile unfavorable rankings in these measures will not alone dash children’s chances for success through their school years and into adulthood, they can present considerable disadvantages. 

One of the most important predictors of a child’s academic success is their poverty status. Children living below the poverty line are more likely to report poor physical health and have reduced ability to concentrate and retain information. Childhood poverty increases the likelihood of low test scores and reduces a student’s chances of completing high school. For this reason, the child poverty rate was selected as a component in the index. Here is a state-by-state look at the child poverty rate

It is important to note that education policy is decided largely at the state level, and partially as a result, the difference in school district quality across a state can be lower than it is between states. A district that ranks as the worst in a given state will not necessarily compare unfavorably among districts in other states. Here is a list of the states with the best and worst schools

Click here to see the school district where students are least likely to succeed in every state
Click here to see the school district where students are most likely to succeed in every state
Click here to read our methodology