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Top 10 Worst Cities for Education 2014
Check out our picks for the Top 10 Worst Cities for Education—or, perhaps better, the Top 10 Cities with Room to Improve in Education. Our criteria included test scores, parent/community reviews and the percentages of residents with less than a high school diploma (or equivalency) from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and GreatSchools.org.
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10. St. Louis, Mo.
We start our Worst Cities for Education list in St. Louis, home of the Gateway Arch. Among cities on the list, this one got the highest rating, 4 out 10, for its public school test scores from GreatSchools.org. That's really a middling score rather than a bad one. However, 10.7 percent of the city's population has less than a high school diploma, according to data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. St. Louis has 274 elementary, 228 middle and 103 high schools; 168 of the schools are private.
Syracuse may have dubbed itself "The Emerald City," but things aren't turning up green for this community in GreatSchools.org's color-coded ratings. Syracuse gets 3 out of 10 for public school test scores, which places its city average beside the next five cities on our list, as seen on GreatSchools.org. It's home to 50 elementary, 38 middle and 14 high schools, 23 of which are private.
Cleveland is home to one of USA Today's Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods of 2014, so don't be surprised if the city starts building momentum toward getting off this list. Until it does, though, it's parked here with a public school test score rating of 3 out of 10 on GreatSchools.org. There are 159 elementary, 143 middle and 52 high schools, 40 of which are private.
Despite recently being named the Best City for Young Professionals by Forbes and an Up-and-Coming Downtown by Fortune, Des Moines still lands our list. Right next door, West Des Moines sits at No. 3 on our Best Cities for Education, but schools aren't doing as well in the state capital. It gets 2 out of 10 for public school test scores on GreatSchools.org, tying it for the lowest rating among schools on our list. There are 60 elementary, 37 middle and 16 high schools, 19 of which are private.
While Massachusetts' capital and largest city, Boston, tops our Best Cities for Families list, the largest city in the state's western end, Springfield, didn't fare so well. The city's public school test scores give it a rating of just 2 out of 10 on GreatSchools.org, which ties it for the lowest rating among places on our list. It's home to 51 elementary, 29 middle and 14 high schools; 18 of those schools are private.