Detroit Schools Spend More, Educate Less Than Other U.S. Urban Districts

Eighth-highest spending delivers nation’s worst reading scores for low-income children

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren recently released a report identifying priorities for public schools in the city that it says are “within reach.” One section discusses the low reading levels of Detroit third-graders and includes the chart below.



ForTheRecord says: The Detroit Public Schools Community District spends more per student than all but eight of the nation’s 100 largest school districts, or $14,259. Even with all that money, the district still generated the nation’s worst reading scores among low-income students. The Miami-Dade district spends $8,725 per student (some $5,500 less than Detroit), and children from low-income households there had the best literacy rates among large cities.


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As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

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