The Albany Business Review released its Schools Report for 2019 this week and the overall rankings of Capital Region school districts probably came as a shock to no one.
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Low-needs districts top the list and high-needs districts are clumped closer to the bottom.
Of the seven low-needs districts in the Capital Region, Guilderland finished last, in the eighth spot overall. The only district able to break the low-needs block from finishing first through seventh was Shenendehowa Central School District.
The only high-needs district to crack the top 50 was Hadley-Luzerne which finished in the forty-eighth spot.
The review bases it's overall rankings on a combination of graduation rates and test scores, and measures need based on each district's ability to meet the needs of its students with local resources.
The rankings don't put any sort of value judgment on which district is the best which makes the distinction between rich and poor districts even starker.
This correlation is well-documented and serves as a reminder of the plethora of effects structural poverty can have on academic performance, health and behavior.
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Students in low-income households often have other issues that prevent them from focusing totally on school and this is reflected again in this year's rankings.
None of this is to say that teachers and administrators in poor districts don't do great work or their efforts go to waste, but it does show that many of the issues in our education system are more likely symptoms of a larger problem rather than the fault of individuals.
Until we address the larger problem of poverty, I don't expect to see these rankings shift much in the future.
Samuel Northrop is the education reporter for The Post-Star. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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