why it matters

atlanta public school facts

Today, Black children make up the vast majority of students in Atlanta Public Schools. It wasn’t intended to be that way. 

The Atlanta City Council created APS in 1872, yet for close to 100 years children in Atlanta attended segregated schools. It wasn’t until 1961—seven years after the U.S. Supreme Court  declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional—that Black students first desegregated Atlanta’s all-white high schools. 

There hasn’t been much progress since then. Today, a child’s race is likely to indicate what part of Atlanta they will live in and whether they will live in poverty. White students predominantly attend schools in the north part of the district, and Black students mostly attend schools in the south. There are dramatic racial inequities in the city, and opportunity is limited. The percentage of Black children living in poverty is 12 times that of white children, and the percentage of Latinx children is 10 times that of white children.7

APS operates as one school district spread across nine Clusters, each with elementary and middle schools that feed into one high school. This idea of a unified school district conceals extraordinary inequities across the Clusters. 

For example:

  • the student mobility rate in the Douglass Cluster (35%) is 2.5x that in the Midtown Cluster (14%). 
  • median household income in the North Atlanta Cluster ($100,000) is nearly 5x that in the South Atlanta Cluster ($22,464). 
  • the graduation rate is 92% in the North Atlanta Cluster as compared to 74% in the Washington Cluster. 
    • there are even inequities within Clusters: the graduation rate is 92% at the Carver Early College as compared to 58% at Carver High School. 

10 facts about APS

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APS cluster facts

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Carver Douglass Jackson
Enrollment 3,715 4,911 4,693
Enrollment by race 97% Black
2% Hispanic
95% Black
4% Hispanic
73% Black
16% White
7% Hispanic
Enrollment by
Free and Reduced Lunch
78.5% 80% 68%
Graduation Rate 58% (Carver)
92% (Carver Early College)
76% 82%
Student
Mobility Rate
33% 35% 16%
Median
Household
Income
$22,464 $41,895 $52,171
Three-year
Average CCRPI
Score
58% 54% 64%
Mays Midtown* North Atlanta
Enrollment 3,943 7,667 5,237
Enrollment by race 92% Black
7% Hispanic
41% White
28% Black
23% Hispanic
53% White
28% Black
8% Hispanic
Enrollment by
Free and Reduced Lunch
79% 79% 79%
Graduation Rate 78% 91% 92%
Student
Mobility Rate
19% 14% 13%
Median
Household
Income
$29,156 $76,000 $100,000
Three-year
Average CCRPI
Score
64% 87% 82%
* Grady High School was renamed to Midtown High School in 2020 after Grady high school students petitioned to change the name due to Henry Grady’s white supremacist views.
South Atlanta Therrell Washington
Enrollment 3,393 3,943 3,018
Enrollment by race 92% Black
7% Hispanic
92% Black
7% Hispanic
96% Black
2% Hispanic
Enrollment by
Free and Reduced Lunch
82% 79% 79%
Graduation Rate 81% 80% 74%
Student
Mobility Rate
25% 21% 26%
Median
Household
Income
$22,464 $29,156 $24,792
Three-year
Average CCRPI
Score
62% 61% 60%
Sources:
  1. APS Insights. “Data Explorer.” APS Insights, https://apsinsights.org/data-explorer/, 2021.
  2. Atlanta City Council. “Council Members: At a Glance: Census.” Atlanta City Council, https://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/council-members, 2021.
  3. Atlanta Public Schools. “About Our Schools.” Atlanta Public Schools, https://www.atlantapublicschools.us/Page/37053, 2020-21.
  4. Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative. “Racial Wealth Gap.” Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative, https://www.atlantawealthbuilding.org/racial-wealth-gap, 2020.
  5. United States Census Bureau. “2010 Census.” U.S. Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/data/api.html, 2021.
  6. United States Census Bureau. “American Community Survey 2015-19.” U.S. Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/acs/www/data/data-tables-and-tools/data-profiles/, 2019.
  7. Schott Foundation. “Loving Cities Index: Atlanta, Ga.” Schott Foundation, https://lovingcities.schottfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/atlanta.pdf, 2020.
  8. Georgia Department of Education. “Data Reporting.” Georgia Department of Education, https://www.gadoe.org/Pages/Home.aspx, 2020.
  9. Neighborhood Nexus. “City of Atlanta.” Neighborhood Nexus, https://neighborhoodnexus.org/maps-and-data/profiles/atlanta-neighborhood-profiles/, 2021.