What does the Hillsborough County, Fla., school district have that Milwaukee Public Schools doesn’t? What about Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in North Carolina?
Much better overall scores in reading and math, for one thing. They were at the top of the list of 21 urban school districts in results released last week as part of the National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP. Milwaukee was near the bottom.
But here’s something else Hillsborough County – which is the Tampa school district – has: Among its 193,000 students, 57% are from low-income homes. For Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the percentage of low-income students among its 136,000 students is 52%.
For MPS, with 80,000-plus students, the low-income rate is 83%.
Each of the four urban districts that scored the best in fourth-grade reading had a low-income rate of 61% or less. Among the four with the worst results, MPS was the lowest with its 83% rate. Detroit, with the worst scores, was listed in the NAEP report at 87%, Cleveland at 100%, and Fresno, Calif., at 93%.
Two other things: