Approximately 43% of school funding comes from state governments. Just as the quality of school districts vary heavily within a state, the quality of state education systems vary heavily across the country. With Alabama schools ranking as some of the lowest in the country, ranking 44th among the 50 states, according to a January report by Education Week.
Best school district
24/7 Wall Street determined the Mountain Brook City School District is the best in the state. Located in Jefferson County, the district spends $12,324 per student (total enrollment: 4,461). With an impressive 96.8% high school graduation rate, 85.1% of the adults in the district also have a bachelor’s degree.
“School spending contributes to better student outcomes, and is one of the largest contributors to the disparity in academic success across the country. With greater funding, schools can afford better teachers, state-of-the-art educational technology, and other resources that help students succeed,” wrote 24/7 Wall St. in their report. “Educated parents are more likely to read to their children, and enhance their children’s development by exposing them to more complex speech patterns and a broader vocabulary.”
The fact Mountain Brook City Schools rank number one makes sense — Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham, is the wealthiest town in Alabama. According to 24/7 Wall St, the city has a median household income of $126,534 and a poverty rate of just 3%. Meanwhile the state median income is $43,623 — the 4th lowest in the nation.
Worst school district
The worst school district in the state is Chickasaw City School District. Located in Mobile County, the district spends $8,347 per student (total enrollment: 950). While the high school graduation rate is unknown, only 12.4% of adults in the district have a bachelor’s degree.
Compared to Mountain Brook, Chickasaw City numbers are staggering with a median household income of $28,893 the poverty rate is 38.9% — which doesn’t even rank as the worst stats in the state.
“Family income may have the largest direct impact on a student’s academic outcomes. Parents with greater financial resources have the ability to move to more expensive communities with better schools. They can also afford resources to better their child’s education such as tutoring and other extracurricular activities,” added the report.
To determine the best school district in every state, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index based on various measures of child poverty, per-pupil expenditure, graduation rate, teachers per student, the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree, preschool enrollment, and AP enrollment.
To determine the worst school district in every state, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index based on various socioeconomic measures, school finance, student success, and environmental factors, all using data from the most recent period available.