In 2000-2001, 9% of all public schools (kindergarten to 12th grade) had high proportions of poor and black or Hispanic students. By 2013-2014, that figure was 16%, the report showed.
These schools are disproportionately poor and non-white: 75% to 100% of the students were black or Hispanic and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch—a widely-used indicator of poverty.
Schools with high levels of poverty offer fewer math, science, and college prep courses. While 71% of better-off schools had calculus classes, and 80% offered physics, only 29% of poorer ones had calculus and 55% offered physics. High-poverty schools also had higher rates of students held back in 9th grade, suspended or expelled.
The GAO reviewed nationally representative studies from 2004 to 2014 and found that:
“schools with higher concentrations of students from low-income families were generally associated with worse outcomes, and schools with higher concentrations of students from middle- and high-income families were generally associated with better outcomes.”
In one study, when the average family income of a school increased, the academic achievement and attainment of students of all racial backgrounds improved.