Special Report

The Worst School District in Each State


To determine the worst school district in every state, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index based on various measures of school finance, student success, and other socioeconomic measures, specifically: the child poverty rate, the teacher-to-student ratio, per-pupil spending on education, and the share of adults with a college education. Data on per pupil spending in 2019 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of School System Finances. Data on the ratio of students to teachers in the 2019-2020 school year came from the National Center for Education Statistics. Data on the percentage of children aged 5 to 17 living in poverty in 2019 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program. Finally, five-year data on the percentage of adults 25 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree by school district in 2019 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Only school districts with at least 500 students and at least three of four index data points were considered.

We excluded any school district with an overall rating of B- or higher on school district and neighborhood review site Niche. Districts in which most students attend classes online were also excluded.

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