Special Report

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

Source: Courtesy of Crooked Oak Public Schools

36. Oklahoma: Crooked Oak Public Schools
> Location: Oklahoma County
> Annual per student spending: $8,367
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 2.8%

Socioeconomic conditions in Oklahoma’s Crooked Oak Public Schools district are likely to have a negative impact on student achievement. Just 2.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, which is not only the lowest share in the state but one of the 10 lowest shares out of more than 10,000 U.S. school districts. And only an estimated 68.5% of adults in the district have a high school diploma. Over 35% of children in the district live in poverty.

Academic outcomes are relatively poor in the district. According to Niche, just 21% of students in the district score as proficient in reading, and just 16% score as proficient in math.

Source: Courtesy of Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons

37. Oregon: Oakridge School District
> Location: Lane County
> Annual per student spending: $13,128
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 15.5%

Spending in Oregon’s Oakridge School District comes to $13,128 per student per year, which is higher than both the national and state per pupil spending figures. However, based on socioeconomic indicators of success and school outcomes, students in the district face substantial obstacles to academic achievement. Notably, the district has a child poverty rate of 56.2%, which is by far the highest in the state — the state’s child poverty rate is 13.9% — and is 10th highest in the country. The district also has a far lower than average high school graduation rate.

Source: Courtesy of Farrell Area School District

38. Pennsylvania: Farrell Area School District
> Location: Mercer County
> Annual per student spending: $26,975
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 13.0%

Pennsylvania’s Farrell Area School District is a small district of only two schools and about 700 students located in the northwestern section of the state. According to Niche, only about 16% of district students are proficient in math, and 31% are proficient in reading.

Though the district has higher than average per student spending and smaller than average class sizes, circumstances outside the classroom likely have a negative impact on academic performance. For example, poverty can put enormous stress on school-age children, and that can have a negative effect on academic performance. In the school district, 43.9% of school-age children live below the poverty line, more than double the 15.5% state child poverty rate.

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

39. Rhode Island: Central Falls School District
> Location: Providence County
> Annual per student spending: $17,157
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 8.0%

The Central Falls School District, located just north of Providence, ranks as the worst school district in Rhode Island. Only 11% of district students are proficient in reading, and 9% are proficient in math. Poor academic performance is likely due in part to conditions outside of the classroom, as 34.2% of school age children in the district live below the poverty line, the largest share of any Rhode Island school district and more than double the state child poverty rate of 16.2%. Poverty can detract considerably from young student’s ability to perform academically.

Source: Courtesy of Dillon School District Four

40. South Carolina: Dillon School District Four
> Location: Dillon County
> Annual per student spending: $9,387
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 10.6%

Dillon School District Four is located in northern South Carolina. Schools in the district lack the same financial resources as the average district statewide as per pupil spending in Dillon is $9,387 per year — below the $10,590 average across South Carolina. Additionally, smaller class sizes have been shown in some cases to improve academic outcomes, but in Dillon, the student-to-teacher ratio of 17.3 to 1 is well above the 14.8 to 1 average ratio statewide.

Older students in the Dillion district are less likely than those across the state as a whole to enroll in advanced, college level courses. Just 2.5% of district high schoolers are in an AP course, compared to 14.7% of high schoolers in South Carolina.

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