Special Report

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

Source: Courtesy of Las Animas School District via Facebook

6. Colorado: Las Animas School District
> Location: Bent County
> Annual per student spending: $7,046
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 10.3%

Greater financial resources for a school district can provide students with advantages like a broader range of options related to elective course work and smaller class sizes. In Colorado’s Las Animas School District, located in the southeast section of the state, per pupil spending is just $7,046, well below the average expenditures of $9,809 statewide and $12,201 nationwide.

Perhaps due to the lower spending, class sizes are large in Las Animas. There are 40.3 students for every teacher in the district, well above the average student-to-teacher ratios of 17.4 to 1 statewide and 16.1 to 1 nationwide.

Source: Courtesy of Hartford Public Schools via Facebook

7. Connecticut: Hartford Public Schools
> Location: Hartford County
> Annual per student spending: $19,705
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 16.8%

Connecticut’s Hartford public school system reports per student spending of close to $20,000 per year, well above the national annual per pupil spending figure of $12,201 and slightly higher than the state figure of $19,322.

Despite the relatively high spending in the district, student achievement is relatively poor. Just 24% of students test as proficient in reading, and just 16% test as proficient in math. Less than 10% of high school students are enrolled in AP courses, one of the smallest shares of any district in the state.

Source: Courtesy of Woodbridge School District

8. Delaware: Woodbridge School District
> Location: Sussex County
> Annual per student spending: $14,137
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 13.1%

Delaware’s Woodbridge School District covers four schools that enroll about 2,500 students in central Delaware. High school students in the district are less likely to take college level courses than most high schoolers in Delaware, and those who do are less likely to master the material. An estimated 13.7% of high schoolers in the district are enrolled in an AP class, and only 24.1% of them pass their exams — each well below the corresponding 18.8% and 49.9% statewide rates.

Outcomes such as these are likely attributable in part to certain conditions outside of the classroom. For example, children whose parents have lower educational attainment are more likely to struggle in school, and in Woodbridge, just 13.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree — well below the 31.4% share across Delaware.

Source: Courtesy of Hamilton County School District via Facebook

9. Florida: Hamilton County School District
> Location: Hamilton County
> Annual per student spending: $10,976
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 9.3%

Florida’s Hamilton County School District, located in the northern part of the state near the border with Georgia, ranks in our index as the school district where students have the lowest chances for success. A major reason for this ranking is the district’s very high child poverty rate of 34.3%, which is much higher than both the state and national rates of 18.4% and 17.0%, respectively.

Students who live in poor households are much less likely to succeed in school, as are those whose parents have a college education. In the district, just 9.3% of residents 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree, less than one-third of the national or state shares.

Source: Courtesy of Stewart County High School- Knights via Facebook

10. Georgia: Stewart County School District
> Location: Stewart County
> Annual per student spending: $14,967
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 11.2%

Georgia’s Stewart County School District ranks as the district where students are most likely to struggle to find academic success. The relatively small district of about 500 students and three operational schools reports spending $14,967 per pupil per year, higher than both the national and state per pupil spending figures.

However, student achievement is relatively poor, despite higher spending in the district. Just 29% of students scored as proficient in math, and only 14% score as proficient in reading in the state. Less than 2% of high school students have enrolled in an AP course, one of the lower shares of any district in the state.

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