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.

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North High

150 HARRINGTON WAY, WORCESTER, MASS., 01604 | Grades 9-12

Districts with 3,000 or more students
Students Total Teachers Inexp. Teachers AP Courses
This School
1,130
106
5% 11
District 24.1K 1,747 13% 10
State 645K 46,071 12% 10
 
State Average
 
District Average

Percentage of relevant students who...

Get Free/Reduced Price Lunch

35%
66%

75%

Take at Least One AP Course

15%
16%

13%

AP Pass Rate

64%
30%

23%

Take Advanced Math

20%
17%

15%

Take Chemistry

20%
13%

12%

Take Physics

14%
7%

5%

Participate in sports

62%
0.0%

25%

Are

0%
1%

0% Am Indian
7%
8%

8% Asian
10%
15%

19% Black
18%
37%

40% Hispanic
63%
39%

31% White

North High, in Worcester, Massachusetts, is part of the Worcester district. The school reports enrolling 1,130 students in grades nine through 12, and it has 106 teachers on staff.

North High is above both the state and district averages for the percentage of students eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch. On average, 35 percent of students in Massachusetts qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, while 75 percent of students at North High do. At the district level, 66 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.

North High offers 11 AP courses, and 13 percent of students participate in those classes.

The school's pass rate for AP exams is 23 percent. This is lower than the district average of 30 percent.

A school's AP pass rate is determined by the number of students who both sat for AP exams and passed some or all of those exams.

North High has an enrollment rate of 15 percent for advanced math classes, and 12 percent of students take chemistry. The enrollment rate for physics at the school is 5 percent.

Medfield Senior High, in Medfield, Massachusetts, is a lower-poverty school than North High, with 1 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. The school offers 12 AP courses, and 34 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