AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Recent data published by the Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis on reading and math test scores shows that students in the poorest U.S. school districts perform, on average, four grade levels below children from the richest districts.
Examining data from 200 million standardized math and reading tests from 2009 to 2012, researchers also found gaps in learning outcomes between white students and their Hispanic and black classmates. In Berkeley, CA, for example, white 6th graders are 2.7 grade levels above the average, while their Hispanic and black peers are 1.1 and 1.9 grade level below the average, respectively. In general, the racial achievement gaps between different racial background are higher in affluent districts.
The correlation between income and academic performance may not surprise anyone. But there are anomalies, in poorer districts such as Bremen City, Ga. and Union City, N.J, where students perform above average. "There are some outliers, and trying to figure out what’s making them more successful is worth looking at,” said Mr. Reardon, the lead author of the analysis, to The Upshot. Check out The New York Times’ interactive visualization of the data to see how your local school district fares.