Special Report

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

Source: Courtesy of Oglala Lakota County School District

41. South Dakota: Oglala Lakota County School District
> Location: Oglala Lakota County
> Annual per student spending: $16,412
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 11.8%

Serious financial hardship can undermine a student’s ability to perform well academically, and the Oglala Lakota County School District is one of the poorest places in the United States. Over half of all children in the district live below the poverty line, compared to 14.3% of school-age children across South Dakota.

Disadvantages for local students do not end there. Children raised by college-educated parents are more likely to succeed academically than their peers. But in Oglala Lakota, just 11.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well below the 28.5% share of adults across the state.

Source: Courtesy of Fayetteville City Schools

42. Tennessee: Fayetteville City Schools
> Location: Lincoln County
> Annual per student spending: $8,104
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 18.3%

In Tennessee’s Fayetteville City Schools district, located in the southern part of the state near the border with Alabama, annual spending comes to just $8,104 per student, about $1,000 less than the state’s already low per-pupil spending and approximately $4,000 less than the national per pupil spending figure.

Students in the district are more likely to face obstacles to their academic achievement based on their home environment. The adult bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 18.3% is well below both the state and national figures, and over one in four children in the district live in poverty.

Source: Courtesy of Monte Alto Independent School District

43. Texas: Monte Alto Independent School District
> Location: Hidalgo County
> Annual per student spending: $11,037
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 9.5%

Children raised by college-educated parents are more likely to succeed academically than their peers. But in Texas’s Monte Alto Independent School District, just 9.5% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well below the 29.3% share of adults across the state. Further adding to disadvantages outside of the classroom, over a third of all children in the district live below the poverty line, well above the state child poverty rate of 19.9%.

Source: Courtesy of Ogden School District

44. Utah: Ogden City School District
> Location: Weber County
> Annual per student spending: $8,419
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 20.1%

Utah’s Ogden City School District has a high school graduation rate of less than 70%, one of the few districts in the state where that is the case.

The district compares favorably to some others in the state in some measures of school quality and achievement, but students in the districts are more likely than students across the state to face academic difficulties based on their home environment. About 20% of adults in the district have a bachelor’s degree, well below the 31.5% share of adults statewide and 33.3% share of adults nationwide. The district’s 17.4% child poverty rate is nearly double the state’s 8.8% child poverty rate.

45. Vermont: Springfield School District
> Location: Windsor County
> Annual per student spending: $19,602
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 15.9%

In Vermont’s Springfield School District, according to Niche, about a third of students test as proficient in reading, and just 18% test as proficient in math. AP enrollment, an indicator of student achievement, is extremely low in the district. An estimated 1 in 20 high school students have enrolled in at least one AP course, one of the lowest shares of any district in the state with available data and well below the 21.5% national share.

Another important indicator of student opportunity for success is the education level of their parents. In the district, 15.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, well below the state’s 37.3% share.

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