ProPublica

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.

Find a school

Central High School

421 FOUNTAIN STREET NE, GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., 49503 | Grades 9-12

Districts with 3,000 or more students
Students Total Teachers Inexp. Teachers AP Courses
This School
525
33
8% 1
District 16.5K 784 6% 1
State 949K 49,657 5% 8
 
State Average
 
District Average

Percentage of relevant students who...

Get Free/Reduced Price Lunch

38%
88%

89%

Take at Least One AP Course

17%
9%

10%

AP Pass Rate

59%
0%

0%

Take Advanced Math

14%
4%

2%

Take Chemistry

22%
27%

26%

Take Physics

11%
11%

14%

Participate in sports

48%
0.0%

27%

Are

0%
1%

0% Am Indian
3%
1%

1% Asian
22%
41%

35% Black
5%
32%

55% Hispanic
68%
20%

7% White

Central High School, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is part of the Grand Rapids Public Schools district. The school reports enrolling 525 students in grades nine through 12, and it has 33 teachers on staff.

Central High School is above both the state and district averages in terms of the percentage of its students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. On average, 38 percent of students in Michigan are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, whereas 89 percent of Central High School students are eligible. At the district level, 88 percent of students are eligible.

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.

Central High School offers one AP course, and 10 percent of students participate in that class.

Central High School enrolls 2 percent of students in advanced math classes, and 26 percent of students take chemistry. The enrollment rate for physics at the school is 14 percent.

Northville High School, in Northville, Michigan, is a lower-poverty school than Central High School, with 3 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. The school offers 19 AP courses, and 29 percent of students are enrolled in those classs.

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