MEMPHIS

Citywide Education Progress Report

Key Takeaways: Student and School Outcomes

The performance of lowincome students in Memphis has been improving at a rapid rate, and student subgroups are also proportionately enrolled in high school advanced coursework. However, graduation rates have not been improving relative to the state.

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Is the education system continuously improving?

► In 2014-15, the city’s graduation rate was behind the state’s.

Data: The percent of first-time 9th grade students graduating in four years, citywide and statewide.
EDFacts Initiative, U.S. Department of Education, Assessment and Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates Data, 2010-11 to 2014-15.


Do students have access to a high-quality education?

► The Education Equality Index (EEI) identifies how students from low-income families are performing in cities and schools across the country. See this interactive tool to explore individual school performance.

Data: The Education Equality Index (EEI) was supplied by Education Cities and GreatSchools. See their site for more detail.
Sources: Tennessee State Board of Education, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.


► Performance among the city’s low-income students has improved 14% over time. Despite these gains, these students are still performing somewhat worse in math and reading than low-income students nationally. 

Data: The Education Equality Index (EEI) was supplied by Education Cities and GreatSchools. See their site for more detail.
Sources: Tennessee State Board of Education, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.


► In 2013-14, all student sub-groups in the city were enrolled in advanced math coursework at similar rates as the high school population.

Data: Enrollment of students in math courses above Algebra II. Rates calculated by dividing the number of students enrolled in advanced math by the number of students in the school. Sub-group rates determined at the school level.
Source: U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2013-2014.


Data & Scoring

Where did we get this data?

► Publicly available state and federal data, making our results comparable and reproducible.

► The most up-to-date data available for all 18 cities at the time of our data collection. See Methodology & Resources for more information.

What makes the data citywide?

► We include all charter and district schools within the municipal boundary of a city.

► In Houston, Indianapolis, Memphis, New Orleans, and San Antonio we use school data from multiple districts within the municipal boundary.

Background

About Memphis

The education landscape in Memphis radically changed in 2010. The state’s Race To The Top award created the Achievement School District (ASD), a new state-run takeover district that chartered the lowest 5% of schools in the state, many of which were in Memphis. The next year, the urban Memphis City Schools merged with the suburban Shelby County Schools (SCS) for financial reasons. Several regions de-merged from SCS in 2014. What exists now are two competing and at times cooperating systems—Shelby County Schools and the Achievement School District.

School Choice in the City

Shelby County Schools has three types of schools students can opt into regardless of where they live: iZone schools, which are open enrollment,  Optional schools, which have specialized admission criteria, and charter schools. Other SCS and all ASD schools are zoned as neighborhood schools, but open to families on a space-available basis.

Governance Model

The Shelby County School District School Board and the Achievement School District superintendent oversee their respective district schools. SCS is the main authorizer of non-ASD charter schools.

2015 District and Charter Student Body

Enrollment: 105,254 students
Race and ethnicity: 81% black, 11% Hispanic, 5% white, 3% other
Low-income: 85% free and reduced-price lunch

2017 School Composition 

Source: Enrollment data from Education Equality Index, 2014-15.
School data from researcher analysis of public records, 2016-17.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email crpe@uw.edu.