New Report: Prioritizing the Nation’s Lowest-Performing High Schools

Posted by on May 03, 2010

The achievement gap behind the achievement gap

The stereotype of the nation’s lowest-performing high schools is that of large schools located in big cities, but a brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education says this is not the whole story. Lowest-performing schools are scattered throughout the country, in every state in the nation and in nearly 350 congressional districts. Twenty-two percent have four hundred students or fewer, and 29 percent have between four hundred and one thousand total students. More than 150 of them, or one in eleven, are charter schools. Their common attribute, however, is the high number of poor and minority students attending them. In all, 28 percent of the nation’s students of color are enrolled in one of these high schools, making minority students six times more likely to attend a lowest performer than their white counterparts. Eighty-four percent of these schools are high-poverty. In the view of the authors, federal policymakers have an obligation to prioritize these schools for massive transformation: “Effectively performing legislative triage now will yield economic benefit to the nation and to the millions of individual students who will graduate from high school with a diploma that prepares them for success in college, careers, and life.”

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