Why Pinellas County is the worst place in Florida to be black and go to public school
By NATHANIEL LASH
Times Staff Writer
Aug. 12, 2015
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1 Eighty-four percent of black elementary school students in Pinellas are failing state exams.
2 Almost every other county does better.
3 Only seven of Florida’s 67 counties do worse. All are poor, rural places.
4 Pinellas has four times as many students as all of them combined.
6 Pinellas was much better off in 2007. These lines show how integrated south county elementary schools used to be.
7 Then the School Board abandoned integration.
8 The schools in south Pinellas started changing.
9 Five schools changed the most.
10 They became a little more segregated.
11 And a little more segregated.
12 Until they became extreme outliers.
14 Today, Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose are the most segregated schools in Pinellas.
15 As the schools became more separate, they became less equal. Their test scores got steadily worse.
16 Today they score worse than any school in the county.
17 They score worse than almost any school in the state.
18 Ten Florida elementary schools have similar failure rates.
19 Take away privately run charter schools, and there are eight.
20 Take away schools for children with disabilities or behavior problems, and there are six.
21 Take away a nontraditional early learning center, and look what's left.
21 The five elementary schools in Pinellas County's black neighborhoods.
22 Melrose is the worst-performing school in Florida. In 2014, 160 children there took state exams.
23 154 failed reading or math.
A Tampa Bay Times investigation
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SOURCE: Times analysis of data from the Florida Department of Education and Pinellas County School District. Data is not available for student subgroups where fewer than 10 students took standardized tests. Pinellas school maps based on 2014 attendance boundaries.
Additional design by Martin Frobisher and Alexis N. Sanchez. Words by Michael LaForgia.