21. Massachusetts: Public Schools of Brookline
> Location: Norfolk County
> Annual per student spending: $20,250
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 83.7%
Per pupil spending is not a guarantee of good student outcomes, but higher spending can come with certain advantages. And at Massachusetts’ Brookline public school system, per pupil spending exceeds $20,000 annually, roughly $8,000 greater than national per pupil spending.
As is usually the case in high-spending districts, Brookline — a suburb of Boston — is a relatively affluent community, with a median household income of $113,515. Students who grow up in an affluent household with college-educated parents have a greater chance to succeed academically. Among the district’s adults, 83.7% have at least a bachelor’s degree, one of the 10 highest shares of any school district in the United States.
22. Michigan: East Grand Rapids Public Schools
> Location: Kent County
> Annual per student spending: $9,975
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 78.4%
While the East Grand Rapids Public School District has lower than average per pupil spending and a higher than average student-to-teacher ratio, conditions outside the classroom give children in the area an academic advantage. For one, 78.4% of adults in the school district have a bachelor’s degree, well above the 28.6% share of adults across Michigan as a whole — and children of college-educated parents are more likely than average to be successful academically. Indeed, the district has a high school graduation rate over 95%.
23. Minnesota: Edina Public Schools
> Location: Hennepin County
> Annual per student spending: $11,815
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 72.7%
Minnesota’s Edina Public Schools, just southwest of Minneapolis, comprises 12 schools that enroll nearly 9,000 students. The best district in the state, Edina’s high school graduation rate is over 92%. Students in the district are also more likely to be enrolled in advanced, college level courses than students in districts statewide. An estimated 25.3% of high schoolers in Edina are enrolled in an AP class, compared to 21.5% of students nationwide.
24. Mississippi: Madison County School District
> Location: Madison County
> Annual per student spending: $9,117
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 54.1%
Students in the Madison County School District benefit from smaller than average class sizes. The student-to-teacher ratio in Mississippi’s best school district is 14.5 to 1, below both the 15.1 to 1 average ratio statewide and 16.1 to 1 ratio nationwide. Additionally, the district’s 84% high school graduation rate is better than most other districts in the state.
25. Missouri: School District of Clayton
> Location: St. Louis County
> Annual per student spending: $21,268
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 77.4%
While high per pupil spending is no guarantee of better outcomes, it can provide students with greater opportunities and advantages. In Missouri’s School District of Clayton, per pupil spending is $21,268 per year, roughly double the average of $10,589 across the state as a whole. In districts that spend more, students often benefit from smaller class sizes. In Clayton, there are 11.8 students per teacher, below the 13.4 to 1 student-to-teacher ratio statewide.