These 10 states top the list for being home to the most equitable school districts

WalletHub's analysis compared each state—excluding Hawaii—based on two metrics: average household income and public elementary and secondary school spending per pupil. Where does your state rank?

In 2023, closing the educational gap has become more important than ever. As K12 school districts continue their efforts to resolve the negative academic-related effects brought on by the pandemic, some fare better off in their ability to do so, particularly when it comes to funding and their expenditures per pupil.

A new analysis from WalletHub sheds some light on this topic by ranking each state based on where school funding is distributed most fairly. In their “2023’s States with the Most and Least Equitable School Districts” report, each state was measured using two metrics: average household income and public and elementary and secondary school spending per pupil.

Equitable funding has the power to raise graduation rates among poor states and assist students pursuing postsecondary opportunities, the research declares. However. the pandemic exacerbated discrepancies between rich and poor students.

“One contributing factor was that people in low-income districts are less likely to have the technological resources they need,” according to the report. “Now, less fortunate students most struggle to make up the educational ground that they lost due to this lack of resources.”

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As evident in WalletHub’s state-by-state ranking, some states have less of an opportunity to close the gaps through funding. States like New York, Arizona and California rank among the three least equitable school districts on the list. Oppositely, here’s a look at their list of the top 10 states with the most equitable school districts:

  1. Iowa
  2. North Carolina
  3. Arkansas
  4. Indiana
  5. West Virginia
  6. Florida
  7. Minnesota
  8. South Carolina
  9. Mississippi
  10. Nebraska

Source: WalletHub
And the 10 least equitable, ranked best to worst:
  1. Alaska
  2. Idaho
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New Jersey
  5. Illinois
  6. Montana
  7. Oregon
  8. California
  9. Arizona
  10. New York
“I think it is important that we take a both historical and present day look at the populations that are served by the public school systems,” Louie Rodriguez, vice provost and dean, division of undergraduate education and professor of education at the University of California Riverside in a statement featured in the report. “We need to acknowledge the percentage of the student population that live in poverty, that are communities of color, that are English learners, that are students with disabilities, and the extent to which these communities are concentrated in particular parts of the states. As we have seen from the data, there is often a resource gap between communities impacted by poverty and the availability of resources and investments in these same communities.”
Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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