The Senior Urban Education Research Fellowship Series
By: Martha Abele Mac Iver & Matthew Messel
Large urban public school districts play a significant role in the American education system. The largest 67 urban school systems in the country—comprising less than one half of one percent of the nearly seventeen thousand school districts that exist across the United States— educate about 14 percent of the nation’s K-12 public school students, including over 20 percent of the nation’s economically disadvantaged students, 28 percent of its African American students, about a quarter of its Hispanic students, and a quarter of its English Language Learners. Clearly, any attempt to improve achievement and to reduce racial and economic achievement gaps across the United States must involve these school districts as a major focus of action.