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Worst Performing Schools

NeighborhoodScout’s Worst Schools
Top 100 Worst Performing Public Schools in the U.S. Help

While producing a list like this is never heartening, it can be a useful rallying tool for change on a community or legislative level. Additionally, the NeighborhoodScout ranking of America’s worst public schools is different from most - it’s a patented ranking system that takes into account both the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) state-level achievement in reading and math, as well as the National Assessment of Educational Progress benchmarks in those same subjects, which are universal across the country. Because of this, we are able to compare schools all across America on the same ranking system, even if students in those schools took different assessment tests. Our method measures the gap between a state’s rate of student proficiency on its state-mandated NCLB test, and that state’s passing rate for the NAEP, and applies the state-specific gap in performance on these two tests to each school. (For more information on this patented ranking system, check out our list of the 100 best schools in America).

From this, an improvement of a school’s national ranking can be accomplished a couple of different ways. Firstly, there is an incentive to make the state-specific tests more difficult, rather than less, thus closing the gap with the often more difficult national NAEP measurement. If the state-specific tests are harder than the NAEP, this can help the ranking of well-performing schools on these tougher NCLB tests even more. And, if the state does better on its NAEP than other states, it helps the best schools in that state compare favorably against the best schools in other states. The two work together to show the best of the best, and rank all schools on a comparable index based on student performance. It’s a holistic way of measuring that’s completely unique to NeighborhoodScout.

Infographic: Top 5 Worst Performing Public Schools in America

The geography of this list shows some interesting patterns. Like our list of the 100 most dangerous cities in America, or our top 30 murder capitals, there is a somewhat heavy concentration in the large cities of the Northeast: Ballou High (98) in Washington DC, City Neighbors High (45) in Baltimore, Germantown High 72) in Philadelphia, and Foundations Academy (89) in Brooklyn, NY, among others. California’s large cities also have several schools on this list: Animo Ralph Bunche (87) in Los Angeles, Big Picture High School (43) in Fresno, Encina Preparatory (56) in Sacramento, and Alliance Academy (82) in Oakland. These schools’ listings actually differ from our Most Dangerous Cities list, in that the trend on that ranking was towards small towns outside of big cities, as opposed to the big cities themselves.

However, the dispersal between the coasts isn’t much like any of our other rankings. Most states that have schools on this list have more than one - which makes sense, given that the state’s performance on the NAEP determines the relative standing of that state relative to others, while individual schools in the state can perform across the spectrum North and South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, and Indiana all have 2 on this list. Alaska has 3, Arizona and Mississippi have 4, and Pennsylvania has 6.

Infographic: Top 3 Worst Performing Public School in America

And while it’s much easier to accept being one of the country’s top public schools over being one of its worst - we at NeighborhoodScout understand the vast challenges facing our public school system, and hope that this can be used as a rallying point to bring about change. Today more than ever, discourse on how to improve public schools thrives - and there are a number of directions from which to approach the issue. From a local government standpoint, efforts can be made to become a more teacher-friendly city, providing incentives for quality educators to move and set up shop in the area. While NCLB and the NAEP operate on a state and national level, respectively, there is nothing stopping local government for providing incentives and support for quality education on a local level. Schools themselves can take part in improving their lot by encouraging parents to get involved, incorporating community partners into the education process, and providing quality afterschool programs that keep kids off the streets. And in the end, it is all about the individual students, their home lives and family support for education, and ultimately, their individual educational outcomes that drive this ranking, and matter for today and for their future.

The possibility for creative solutions to public school issues are endless, and if nothing else, we hope that this list will function as a generator of dialog and focus on what causes lower student achievement. It is popular to blame the schools, but top performance by students so often begins in the home and requires supportive, stable, education-centric parents.

Click on any school name below to get a report

Rank School Location
100 SOUTHWEST ACADEMY Atascosa, TX
99 GONZALES HIGH Gonzales, CA
98 BALLOU HIGH SCHOOL Washington, DC
97 ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL Washington, DC
96 JUSTICE A.W. SEEWORTH ACADEMY Oklahoma City, OK
95 HENDLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Washington, DC
94 BASSICK HIGH SCHOOL Bridgeport, CT
93 MCCOY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Yazoo City, MS
92 AZTEC HIGH SCHOOL Yuma, AZ
91 HARRISBURG HIGH SCHOOL Harrisburg, PA
90 WESTWOOD PREK-8 SCHOOL Dayton, OH
89 FOUNDATIONS ACADEMY Brooklyn, NY
88 RICE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL San Carlos, AZ
87 ANIMO RALPH BUNCHE HIGH Los Angeles, CA
86 VILLAVIEW COMMUNITY SCHOOL Cleveland, OH
85 D. M. SMITH MIDDLE Cleveland, MS
84 MANUAL ARTS SENIOR HIGH Los Angeles, CA
83 MOTEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Washington, DC
82 ALLIANCE ACADEMY Oakland, CA
81 SOUTHERN ARIZONA COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL Tucson, AZ
80 AITON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Washington, DC
79 PHOENIX ACADEMY Lancaster, PA
78 HEART BUTTE ELEMENTARY Valier, MT
77 TODD COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL - 10 Mission, SD
76 WOODROW WILSON HIGH SCHOOL Camden, NJ
75 CAMDEN HIGH SCHOOL Camden, NJ
74 DR. LEWIS DOLPHIN STALLWORTH SR. CHARTER Stockton, CA
73 FOUR WINDS COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL Fort Totten, ND
72 GERMANTOWN HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
71 KENNEDY HIGH Richmond, CA
70 FRANKFORD HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
69 JOHN MARSHALL COMMUNITY JR HIGH SCHOOL Indianapolis, IN
68 RISE COMMUNITY Oakland, CA
67 TULUKSAK SCHOOL Bethel, AK
66 ANTON GRDINA Cleveland, OH
65 KENWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL Kansas, OK
64 LODGE GRASS HIGH SCHOOL Pryor, MT
63 PREMIER CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL Phoenix, AZ
62 LODGE GRASS SCHOOL Pryor, MT
61 WEST PHILADELPHIA HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
60 MCS PREP SCHOOL - SOUTHEAST Memphis, TN
59 FANNIE LOU HAMER FREEDOM HIGH SCHOOL Bronx, NY
58 SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATIONS NEW MEDIA AND TECH AT ROO Los Angeles, CA
57 LEWIS ANGAPAK MEMORIAL SCHOOL Bethel, AK
56 ENCINA PREPARATORY HIGH Sacramento, CA
55 CANNON BALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Cannon Ball, ND
54 LAMBERTON ROBERT HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
53 KET'ACIK/AAPALLUK MEMORIAL SCHOOL Bethel, AK
52 WOLF CREEK UPPER ELEMENTARY - 06 Oglala, SD
51 KING MARTIN LUTHER HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
50 CHESTER HIGH SCHOOL Chester, PA
49 ALTA VISTA PUBLIC Hesperia, CA
48 O M MC NAIR UPPER ELEMENTARY Belzoni, MS
47 BROCKINGTON ELEMENTARY Timmonsville, SC
46 WOGAMAN 4-8 SCHOOL Dayton, OH
45 CITY NEIGHBORS HIGH SCHOOL Baltimore, MD
44 OVERBROOK HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
43 BIG PICTURE HIGH SCHOOL - FRESNO Fresno, CA
42 JONATHAN LEVIN HIGH SCHOOL OF MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS Bronx, NY
41 LOS ANGELES TEACHERS PREPARATORY ACADEMY Los Angeles, CA
40 BARTRAM JOHN - MAIN Philadelphia, PA
39 STONE CORRAL ELEMENTARY Ivanhoe, CA
38 RICHMOND HIGH Richmond, CA
37 BARBOUR COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL Louisville, AL
36 EDWARDS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Oklahoma City, OK
35 UNIVERSITY CITY HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
34 ANIMO LOCKE TECH HIGH Los Angeles, CA
33 PHILADELPHIA LEARNING ACADEMY - NORTH Philadelphia, PA
32 DELHI HIGH SCHOOL Delhi, LA
31 WOLF CREEK LOWER ELEMENTARY - 02 Oglala, SD
30 DAVID STARR JORDAN SENIOR HIGH Los Angeles, CA
29 R.A.A.M.P. CHARTER ACADEMY Antioch, CA
28 WEST OAKLAND MIDDLE Oakland, CA
27 ANIMO LOCKE II COLLEGE PREPARATORY ACADEMY Los Angeles, CA
26 CULINARY ARTS ACADEMY Hartford, CT
25 VITALISTIC THERAPEUTIC CS OF THE LEHIGH Bethlehem, PA
24 SAVA: SACRAMENTO ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL ACADEMY Sacramento, CA
23 SAYRE WILLIAM L MS Philadelphia, PA
22 ARISE ACADEMY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
21 KEYSTONE EDUCATION CENTER CS Jamestown, PA
20 GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER Cleveland, OH
19 COLUMBUS EL SCHOOL Chester, PA
18 C W HARRIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Washington, DC
17 WEST SIDE LEADERSHIP ACADEMY Gary, IN
16 FULLERTON SCHOOL Cleveland, OH
15 HOOPER BAY SCHOOL Hooper Bay, AK
14 MULTICULTURAL HIGH SCHOOL Brooklyn, NY
13 DAVIS-RAMOTH SCHOOL Selawik, AK
12 CARL & LOUIS STOKES CENTRAL ACADEMY Cleveland, OH
11 OKOLONA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Okolona, MS
10 PERFORMANCE CONSERVATORY HIGH SCHOOL Bronx, NY
9 WEST PARK CHARTER ACADEMY Fresno, CA
8 VAUX ROBERTS HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
7 AKIACHAK SCHOOL Bethel, AK
6 STRAWBERRY MANSION HIGH SCHOOL Philadelphia, PA
5 HOPE CS Philadelphia, PA
4 CAREER SUCCESS JR/SR HIGH SCHOOL - NORTH PHOENIX Phoenix, AZ
3 OPTIONS PCS Washington, DC
2 INTERNATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL Lawrence, MA
1 NELSON ISLAND AREA SCHOOL Bethel, AK
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