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The 11 Worst Schools In Ohio Today

Mother and pupil and kids holding hands going to school in first class with schoolbag or satchel walking to school bus, Parent and son,sister preschool

The 11 Worst Schools In Ohio Today

Ohio is among the states in the U.S. that have impressive rankings for family life. Although it's home to some really old schools, the education sector still needs work as the region is home to a few of the worst schools in the country.

The latest US News and World Report rankings hail the state’s high quality of life. One of the greatest contributors to this is the quality of education. “The Mother of Presidents,” as the state is famously referred to, ranks 29 in the report's education category.

But as you’d expect, not all the schools here meet the quality standards most parents and job seekers look for. So despite most Ohio schools excelling, some rank among the worst. 

If this is the information you're looking for, then you're home. This review covers the worst K-12 facilities in Ohio based on their test scores on GreatSchools.org and graduation rates. You'll also have a glimpse of the higher learning institutions that record the lowest graduation rates.

Thomas Jefferson School

3145 W 46th St, Cleveland, OH 44102

Thomas Jefferson School opens our list as the worst elementary school in Ohio. The public education institution is in Cleveland's bustling urban setup and accommodates pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade students. The student population comprises 491 individuals, with 45% females and 55% males. Additionally, the school has a significant minority student representation, accounting for 88% of the enrollment.

Thomas Jefferson School rakes in the highest GreatSchools.org summary rating, at 3/10. This is way lower than most of its peers in the state. In addition, the school has a 1/10 rating for test scores. So if your child attends this school, they'll likely perform below expectations at their grade level.

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Taking a deeper look, less than a percentage of scholars in Thomas Jefferson Elementary passed English, compared to the state average of 59%. The same percentage also reflects in math and biology, where the state averages are 52% and 64%, respectively. In addition, less than 1% of students passed English language arts II, yet the state average was 61%.

According to the latest statewide examination results, Thomas Jefferson ranks 1228 in the state and 42 among its peers in the district.

Taft Elementary School

730 E Avondale Ave, Youngstown, OH 44502

Taft Elementary School is the second worst elementary school on our list. The publicly-funded educational institution is in Youngstown, Ohio. With a student population of 285, Taft Elementary School provides education from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. This populace is 44% girls and 56% boys. Additionally, the school demonstrates a notable minority student enrollment, accounting for 86% of the total student population.

Taft Elementary School boasts a 2/10 GreatSchools.org summary rating, and the review site rates the institution at 1/10 for test scores. This performance is way below expectations, as evident in how students fared in the core subjects.

At Taft Elementary School, only 5% of scholars passed English and science, yet the state's average pass rate for the two subjects is 62%. The percentage of students who passed math is 4% compared to the state's 58%.

Taft Elementary is also among the lowest performers in the latest statewide tests. The facility ranks 1468 for reading proficiency and 1492 for math proficiency.

Of course, the faculty and administrative team at Taft Elementary acknowledge the setbacks and already have a plan to counter the low performance. For one, the school now hires certified tutors, and all educators have the relevant national accreditations. In addition, 66.777% of educators here have served for over three years.

 Photo of a group of elementary school pupils with arms over each others shoulders walking from a busy day at school.
Taft Elementary School students are performing far below the state's average pass rate for core subjects such as math and English. This is one of the worst schools in Ohio today.


Bridge Gate Community School

4060 Sullivant Ave, Columbus, OH 43228

Bridge Gate Community School is the last entry in our elementary school category. This reputable charter school is in Columbus, Ohio, and is home to scholars from kindergarten to 12th grade. The student population is 213, comprising 57% females and 43% schoolboys. In addition, the facility boasts a significant representation of minority students, accounting for 93% of the overall enrollment.

Bridge Gate Community School is on par with its Taft Elementary counterpart on GreatSchools.org. The institution has a 2/10 summary rating, and the platform awards it a 1/10 in the test score category.

Students performed below expectations in the latest statewide examinations. For instance, only 10% passed English, compared to the 60% state average. Also, less than 1% passed math, science, and geometry, where each subject recorded a state average of 54%, 62%, and 41%. Those who passed English language arts formed 14%, yet Ohio's average pass rate is 61%.

Bridge Gate Elementary School definitely exhibits low performance, but the school has great news. For instance, the faculty provides a diverse learning environment and numerous avenues for student achievement. Instead of adopting a uniform approach, Bridge Gate's curriculum is customized to students with varying needs and learning preferences, ensuring an outstanding academic program.

East Academy

15720 Kipling Ave, Cleveland, OH 44110

East Academy opens our middle school section, a charter school serving the lively city setting of Cleveland, OH. The facility has 286 learners from kindergarten to 8th grade, and the number of boys and girls is on par. In addition, the school prides itself on its high minority student enrollment of 99%, one of the highest on our list.

The school has the highest GreatSchools.org summary rating in our middle school section, boasting a 3/10. However, there's nothing impressive in the school's test score performance, as the facility managed a 1/10. About 19% of students passed English, a whopping 40 percent lower than the state average. In addition, just 12% passed math, and 3% passed science, compared to Ohio's 52% and 62% pass rates in the respective subjects.

While East Academy is among the lowest-ranked facilities in the state, the school also has some promising aspects. For instance, the facility has a student-teacher ratio that stands at 8, which aligns with the ratio observed throughout the district. In addition, all 37 full-time tutors in the school are certified professionals, guaranteeing a high standard of education. Finally, about 64% of the teachers possess three or more years of teaching experience.

Photo of elementary school pupils posing differently.
East Academy's test score performance is dismal, with only 19% of students passing English and 12% passing math, compared to Ohio's state averages of 52% and 62%.

©2xSamara.com/Shutterstock.com – Original / License

Patrick Henry School

11901 Durant Ave, Cleveland, OH 44108

Patrick Henry School ranks as the second-worst middle school on our list. The public school is in the large city setting of Cleveland and serves a student population of 307. Interestingly, the populace comprises an equal gender composition of 50% females alongside 50% boys. In addition, the school has a minority student enrollment of 99%.

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Patrick Henry School is a public educational institution in the bustling city of Cleveland, OH. The school has 307 students, with equal numbers of both genders. The school takes pride in its high minority student enrollment, with 99% of the student population representing diverse backgrounds.

Like East Academy, Patrick Henry School has a 3/10 GreatSchools.org summary rating, and the school attained a 1/10 test score rating. Cumulatively, about 9% of scholars passed English, while 1% and 4% passed math and science. These scores are far below average, considering the state averages for the three subjects are 59%, 52%, and 62%. The only impressive performance is in the student progress category, where the facility rakes in an average score of 5/10.

Willson School

1122 Ansel Rd, Cleveland, OH 44108

Willson School, the last middle school on our list, isn't far off from its peers regarding performance. This institution is in Cleveland and serves 341 scholars from different corners of the bustling city. The institution caters to students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, and the populace is slightly majority female, comprising 51% girls and 49% boys. Moreover, the institution boasts one of the highest minority student enrollments, with 93% coming from minority setups.

Like its two counterparts, Willson School has a 3/10 summary rating, and GreatSchools.org awards the facility 1/10 in test scores. Students in this facility performed very lower than most of their statewide peers in the core subjects. For instance, 19% passed English, 8% excelled in math, and 13% passed the science proficiency level.

Regardless, the school ranks highest in student progress, with a 6/10 rating. This means that if your child is in this school, they'll make average progress as they advance to their next level of study. It also means that while the learners begin at a lower point than their statewide peers, they keep up.

The latest US News rankings place the Wilson School in positions 1569 and 1542 in reading and math proficiencies.

Young middle school pupil smiling at the camera.
The minority student enrollment at Willson School makes up 93% of the population and students performed far below their state peers in core subjects like English, math, and science.


Randall Park High School

4836 Northfield Rd, North Randall, Ohio

Randall Park High School is the first entry in our college-prep section. This unique high school serves apprentices between 15-21 years who've missed the unique education programs for their needs in traditional schools. The school serves about 83 scholars, and all of them come from minority communities. Considering students' learning hurdles, the school is among the lowest performers in Ohio.  

On GreatSchools.org, Willson School has a summary rating of 2/10. The facility also has a student progress rating of 3/10, suggesting that learners aren't making as much academic progress as their peers in the district and state.

In terms of college readiness, the review site awarded Willson School a rating of 1/10, which falls significantly below the state average in vital indicators of college and career readiness. For instance, the school's four-year high school graduation is 25%, significantly lower than the 87%state average.

Additionally, the SAT participation rate is mentioned to be 8%, while the school's SAT college readiness rate is less than 1%. These numbers mean that a negligible proportion of students achieve the SAT necessary scores to be considered college-ready.

Hardin Community School

400 Decatur St, Kenton, Ohio 43326

Kenton's Hardin Community School is our second-worst high school. The school is among the least ethnically diverse communities, with an 8.1% minority enrollment. In addition, the population of male scholars is way above that of their female counterparts, at 73% and 27%, respectively.

On GreatSchools.org, Willson School boasts a 1/10 summary rating and attains a 1/10 for test scores. The school also has a 1/10 college readiness rating, which would discourage most parents.

Hardin School's four-year high school graduation rate is 80%, slightly lower than the Ohio state’s average of 87%. In addition, the school's SAT participation rate is way lower, registering less than 1%. On the other hand, the ACT participation rate stands at 79%.

To address this performance deficit, Hardin School offers accredited academic and life skills courses that align with Ohio Standards and online courses covering a wide range of content and flexible implementation options. Each course caters to students at different levels, whether at grade level, falling behind, or advanced. The school aims to provide support tailored to each student's unique situation, with a team of professionals assisting them. 

 A student giving a presentation in front of class.
Hardin Community School in Kenton, Ohio, has the second-worst high school rating in the state, with an 8.1% minority enrollment and a four-year high school graduation rate of 80%.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Focus Learning Academy of Southeastern Columbus 

4480 Refugee Rd, Columbus, Ohio 43232

Focus Learning Academy is our last item in the high school category. The institution is home to 122 scholars between grades 9-12 and boasts an 80% minority student population. In addition, female students are 58%, while males are 42%. 

Focus Learning Academy scores a rating of 1/10 on GreatSchools.org. Comparing pass rates in specific subjects, the results are notably low. For instance, only 3% of students passed Algebra I, while the state average is 49%. Also, less than 1% passed geometry, yet the state average was 41%. From these numbers, it's clear that your child will likely perform way lower than their peers.

Focus Learning Academy of Southeastern Columbus ranks 13,383 nationally and 524 among its peers in Ohio. The facility also ranks 80 in the Columbus metro area and 1,103 in the charter high school category.  

Wilberforce University

1055 N Bickett Rd, Wilberforce, OH 45384, USA

Wilberforce University is our first entry in the higher learning institutions section. The school boasts of being the oldest historically black, private university run by African Americans. 

The school first opened in 1856, a tumultuous period in American history characterized by the enslavement of people of African descent. Thus, the education of African Americans in this era was not only socially forbidden but also illegal.

As expected, the school's initial years were characterized by numerous hurdles. In addition, the prevailing social and cultural beliefs of the era did not recognize the potential or worthiness of African Americans to receive an education. Fortunately, the facility went against these oppressive circumstances and grew to join the country's most reputable higher learning facilities. To date, this establishment stands as a testament to the transformative power that can emerge when people challenge prevailing social and cultural constructs.

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Wilberforce University has a four-year graduation rate of 7%, indicating that a small percentage of students complete their degree within the typical four-year timeframe. The 6-year graduation rate is 29%, suggesting that a greater number of students complete their degrees within six years. The retention rate stands at 35%, indicating the percentage of students who continue their studies at the university from one year to the next.

The latest US News rankings place Wilberforce University in position 58 among Regional Colleges in the Midwest. In the Historically Black Colleges and Universities category, the facility ranks between 59th. Finally, the institution ranks 58th among the top social mobility Performers. 

In the News

Having been around for quite a few years, Wilberforce University has made some headlines. Let's take a look at a few of the most recent newsworthy articles this school has been in:

University students actively listening to a fascinating lecture.
Wilberforce University is one of the worst schools in Ohio today, with a four-year graduation rate of 7%, a 6-year graduation rate of 29%, and a retention rate standing at 35%.

©Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock.com

Central State University

1400 Brush Row Rd, Wilberforce, OH 45384,

Central State University concludes our review of the worst schools in Ohio. The institution's rich history is rooted in overcoming challenges and providing higher education opportunities for African Americans. The college opened over 135 years ago, making it the oldest private Historically Black College or University (HBCU).

The school was the idea of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the founders named the school after William Wilberforce. Central State continues its esteemed legacy, equipping young individuals with the skills to lead and uplift society. However, it isn't among the best options for high graduation rates.

College Factual, a reputable review site, rates the school's four-year graduation rate at 10%, while the six-year graduation rate is 24%.

In addition, US News and World Report ranks the school at 58 among the regional colleges in the Midwest, 40th among the historically black colleges and universities, and 19th among the top public schools. The institution also ranks 205 in the best undergraduate engineering programs category and 16th among top performers for social mobility.

In the News

Although Central State University made the list of one of the worst schools in Ohio, it still made some headlines. Here are a few articles that recently featured this university.

How To Improve The Worst Schools In Ohio

You now have an idea of the lowest-performing institutions in “The Home Of Presidents.” But this is just the first step in solving the bigger problem. After identifying the region's weakest schools, stakeholders can implement practical strategies to turn the situation around.

One of the first moves for administrative assistants is to prioritize board-certified tutors with years of experience. Fortunately, most schools on our list have already taken this step. Next, schools should increase the available resources to facilitate learning inside and outside the classroom.

Finally, schools must provide career development opportunities. This way, tutors can advance their knowledge and increase the value of their education.

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