- EdBuild, a nonprofit focused on issues of school funding, analyzed all of the bordering school districts in the country, naming 50 as the most dramatically segregated by poverty rates.
- NPR reports the most segregating district boundary is the one separating Grosse Point Public Schools and the Detroit City School District, which have 7% and 49% of their students in poverty, respectively.
- Alabama had two district boundaries in the top 10 list — both around the Birmingham City School District — and Ohio had three, with Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado and Illinois also home to some of the most segregating boundaries nationwide.
Students who live in poverty come to school with a plethora of barriers that get in the way of their learning. Some of them are homeless, others don’t get enough to eat, many have parents who are or have been incarcerated and some live in homes or neighborhoods saturated with violence. All of these things can contribute to behavior problems and inhibit school readiness, meaning districts with high concentrations of poverty have to spend time and money addressing students’ nonacademic needs.
Many districts can turn to community organizations as partners in the effort, but too much falls back on the school and contributes to very different student outcomes. In high-poverty districts, high student achievement is against the odds. And that is something that will occupy school reformers for years to come.