The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), based at Samford University, is a great asset to the state of Alabama. Jim Williams and his trusty band have been churning out reports on education, taxes and the like for many years. They have worked with school systems across the state helping them get an honest look at how well they are doing in comparison to similar systems in Alabama.
One of their recent efforts is a system-by-system look at performance on the ACT and ACT Aspire tests that were given for the first time in 2014. You can find this report here and take a look at any system in Alabama.
Everyone in education knows that poverty level and school performance go hand-in-hand. The higher poverty is, the lower scores are. The PARCA report confirms this once again. If you just look at the rate of free-reduced lunches per system, there is hardly any need to look at test scores.
Unfortunately, too many of our Montgomery policymakers have not made this connection and seem convinced that every child in a public school in this state comes from a house with a white picket fence and Ozzie and Harriett living next door. Nothing could be farther from reality.