A recent study of Illinois’ 849 elementary and secondary school districts shows that West Central Illinois schools may be some of the least equitable in the state.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has raised alarms about equitable education between rich and poor students around the country. WalletHub recently completed a study using statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics and a formula to demonstrate the most and least equitable school districts.
The list of most and least equitable districts was based on 2 metrics: average household income and expenditures per student in public elementary and secondary schools.
Each school district was given a base score of 50 points. Points were added or deducted based upon a percentage above or below state averages in each metric. The final score for each district was calculated by taking the absolute difference between the 2 scores for each category, with the lowest value representing the most equitable.
Only 1 school district from West Central Illinois appeared in the Top 10 – New Berlin, with a score of .18. Three districts ranked near the bottom 20% of the 849 districts listed – Pikeland School District, Beardstown, and North Greene. All had scores above 60 points. Jacksonville School District 117 was ranked at 541 on the list with a score of 43.25.
Illinois overall has the 4th least equitable schools in the entire nation. Several educational studies have shown that by having equitable funding in a district, it can help prevent low income students from having low graduation rates, low participation in higher education, and small future income.