Journalism in the Public Interest

Is Your State Providing Equal Access to Education?

ProPublica analyzed federal education data from the 2009-2010 school year to examine whether states provide high-poverty schools equal access to advanced courses and special programs that researchers say will help them later in life. This is the first nationwide picture of exactly which courses are being taken at which schools and districts across the country. More than three-quarters of all public school children are represented. Read our story and our methodology.

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Atholton Elementary

6700 SENECA DR, COLUMBIA, MD., 21046 | Grades PreK-5

Districts with 3,000 or more students
Students Total Teachers Inexp. Teachers
This School
District 50.4K 3,705 12%
State 826K 56,262 11%
State Average
District Average

Percentage of relevant students who...

Get Free/Reduced Price Lunch



Are in a Gifted/Talented Program





1% Am Indian

5% Asian

27% Black

8% Hispanic

49% White

Atholton Elementary, in Columbia, Maryland, is part of the Howard County Public Schools district. The school reports enrolling 480 students in grades pre-kindergarten through five, and it has 34 teachers on staff.

Atholton Elementary is below the state average but above the district average for the percentage of its students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. On average, 34 percent of students in Maryland qualify for free or reduced-price lunch programs, whereas 15 percent of Atholton Elementary students qualify. At the district level, 13 percent of students qualify.

ProPublica's analysis found that all too often, states and schools provide poor students fewer educational programs like Advanced Placement, gifted and talented programs, and advanced math and science classes. Studies have linked participation in these programs with better outcomes later in life. Our analysis uses free and reduced-price lunch to estimate poverty at schools. We based our findings on the most comprehensive data set of access to advanced classes and special programs in U.S. public schools — known as the Civil Rights Data Set— released by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

Atholton Elementary's enrollment rate for gifted and talented is 8 percent.

Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary, in Baltimore, Md., is a higher-poverty school than Atholton Elementary, with 97 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. The school hasn't reported or may not have a gifted and talented program.

These data points were reported by schools and districts to the Office for Civil Rights. For more information about the data, see our full methodology.

— Generated by Narrative Science