LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Fairness matters, especially in education. Lack of fairness, that is lack of equality, can turn in to less opportunities for those on the wrong side of the divide.

study released Aug. 23 by WalletHub ranked the most and least equitable Arkansas school districts.

To develop their rankings, researchers compared household incomes in each district to the state average, then compared how much districts spend per student to the state average. Comparing those figures determined the score.

The top five most equitable school districts in the study were the Hector, Ashdown, Lafayette County, Bearden, and Shirley school districts. The bottom five scores went to the Pulaski County Special, Pea Ridge, Bentonville, Valley View, and Amorel school districts.

The study cites how low equity students, measured as the amount of money spent per student, have less access to things that matter for robust education, such as technology.

Researchers went on to cite that split from economic factors was exacerbated to an even greater extent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which many students had to rely on devices and solid internet access for remote learning.

The equity gap can have long-term consequences, the study claims, noting that students with less early-learning opportunities are less likely to pursue higher learning, in turn leading to lower lifetime earnings. More education can reflect over $1,000 per week income gain, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Arkansas has 253 school districts and spends, on average, $10,319 per student. When compared in the study to other states and the District of Columbia, Arkansas ranked second overall in equability, coming in behind only Iowa.