Analysis: From Los Angeles to New York City to Anchorage, it’s time for all of us to start minding the school quality ‘performance gap’

Every parent knows that school quality and student performance can vary widely in any given city. That’s why families look closely at the school quality in the neighborhoods they’re considering when they’re planning to move.

What’s less understood is how cities across the country rank in terms of providing consistently good public schools and educational opportunities for all children who attend them, regardless of neighborhood.

As an education policy expert, I was curious to find out just how big the difference is between a metro area’s most and least effective public schools. I did this by gathering data from 68 of the largest districts in the country — from Los Angeles to Dallas, from New York City to Anchorage — which collectively serve about 7.8 million students.

What I discovered is both depressing, for those parents stuck in metro areas where the quality of schools is consistently low or where the gap is greatest between the best and worst schools; and hopeful, in that if we examine areas where schools are consistently high-quality, with little variation between top and bottom student performance, we may better understand how to help all students. Click here to read more: