The 5 Worst High Schools In Houston

With over 200 public high schools in the Houston area, quality can vary greatly across different schools and districts. If you’re looking for the high schools with the worst academic performance and school environment in Houston, this comprehensive guide names names.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The 5 worst high schools in Houston are Kashmere High School, Wheatley High School, Worthing High School, Austin High School, and Madison High School.

Background on Houston’s School System

Houston, Texas is home to a large and diverse public school system, which includes a significant number of high schools. Understanding the background of this system is crucial in order to evaluate the performance of individual schools and identify areas of improvement.

Number of public high schools

Houston boasts a considerable number of public high schools, offering a range of educational opportunities to its students. There are currently 51 high schools in the Houston Independent School District alone.

This abundance of schools reflects the city’s commitment to providing ample options for its students and their families.


Houston’s school system is characterized by its rich diversity. The student population represents various ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This diversity contributes to a vibrant learning environment, providing students with the opportunity to interact with peers from different walks of life and gain a broader perspective on the world.

It is important to note that while diversity is a strength of Houston’s school system, it also presents unique challenges. Schools must ensure that all students, regardless of their background, have equal access to quality education and support services.

Academic performance metrics

When evaluating the performance of high schools in Houston, academic metrics play a crucial role. These metrics provide insights into the effectiveness of the educational programs and the overall academic achievement of the students.

The Texas Education Agency regularly releases data on various academic performance indicators, such as graduation rates, standardized test scores, and college readiness. These metrics allow parents, educators, and policymakers to assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual schools and identify areas where improvement is needed.

By analyzing these metrics, stakeholders can work together to implement targeted interventions and support systems to improve the overall academic performance of Houston’s high schools.

Factors Making a ‘Worst’ High School

Poor academic performance

Poor academic performance is one of the key factors that contribute to a high school being labeled as one of the worst in Houston. This can be measured by factors such as low test scores, high dropout rates, and a lack of college readiness.

Students may struggle to meet academic standards, leading to a negative learning environment and limited opportunities for success.


Underfunding is another significant factor that can contribute to a high school being classified as one of the worst. Insufficient financial resources can result in a lack of necessary educational materials, outdated technology, and limited extracurricular activities.

These limitations can hinder students’ ability to thrive academically and limit their exposure to a well-rounded education.

Safety and discipline issues

Safety and discipline issues can greatly impact the reputation of a high school. Incidents such as violence, bullying, drug abuse, and a lack of effective disciplinary measures can create an unsafe and disruptive learning environment.

This not only affects students’ well-being but also their ability to focus on their studies and succeed academically.

High dropout rates

High dropout rates are a clear indication of a struggling high school. When students feel disengaged or unsupported, they may be more likely to drop out before completing their education. This not only limits their future prospects but also reflects poorly on the school’s ability to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for its students.

Poor college acceptance

A high school’s ability to prepare its students for higher education is an important factor in determining its quality. If a significant number of students from a particular high school struggle to gain acceptance into colleges and universities, it can be seen as a red flag.

Colleges may view the school’s curriculum, academic rigor, and support systems as inadequate, leading to poor college acceptance rates.

It is important to note that these factors are not definitive determinants of a high school’s quality, as each school’s circumstances are unique. However, they do provide insight into some of the common challenges faced by schools that are considered among the worst in Houston.

By addressing these issues and implementing effective solutions, schools can work towards improvement and provide better educational opportunities for their students.

The 5 Worst High Schools in Houston

Kashmere High School

Kashmere High School is unfortunately one of the worst high schools in Houston. Located in a low-income neighborhood, it faces numerous challenges in providing quality education to its students. The school has struggled with low graduation rates and poor academic performance in recent years.

Despite efforts to improve, Kashmere High School continues to fall behind other schools in the area.

Wheatley High School

Wheatley High School is another high school in Houston that has been identified as one of the worst. With a high percentage of students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, the school faces significant obstacles in providing a quality education.

The school has struggled with low test scores and a lack of resources, making it difficult for students to succeed academically.

Worthing High School

Worthing High School is known for its high dropout rates and low academic performance. Located in a neighborhood with high poverty rates, the school faces challenges in providing a supportive environment for its students.

Limited resources and a lack of access to quality educational programs have contributed to its low ranking among Houston’s high schools.

Austin High School

Austin High School has also been identified as one of the worst high schools in Houston. With a high percentage of students from low-income families, the school struggles to provide the necessary resources to support student success.

This has resulted in low graduation rates and a lack of academic achievement among its students.

Madison High School

Madison High School is among the worst high schools in Houston due to its low graduation rates and poor academic performance. The school faces challenges in providing a supportive learning environment for its students, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Despite efforts to improve, Madison High School continues to struggle in comparison to other high schools in the area.

Why These Schools Struggle

Low Test Scores

One of the main reasons why these schools struggle is due to their consistently low test scores. These schools often have a high percentage of students who are not meeting grade-level standards in subjects such as math and reading.

This could be indicative of a lack of effective teaching methods, inadequate resources, or a combination of both. Low test scores can have a significant impact on a student’s future success, making it crucial to address this issue.

High Dropout Rates

Another factor that contributes to the struggles of these schools is their high dropout rates. Many students in these schools face various challenges, such as poverty, lack of parental support, or a negative school environment, which can lead to disengagement and ultimately dropping out.

The dropout rate in these schools is significantly higher compared to other schools in the area. This alarming statistic highlights the need for intervention and support to keep students on track towards graduation.

Gang Violence

Gang violence is another issue that these schools often grapple with. Some students may be exposed to gang activities within their neighborhoods, which can spill over into the school environment. This not only poses a safety risk for students and staff but also creates a disruptive and hostile learning environment.

It is essential for schools, law enforcement agencies, and community organizations to work together to address this issue and provide a safe and secure learning environment for all students.


Underfunding is a significant challenge faced by many struggling schools. These schools often lack the necessary financial resources to provide quality education, including hiring qualified teachers, offering extracurricular activities, and providing up-to-date educational materials.

According to a report by The Education Trust, schools in low-income areas tend to receive fewer funds per student compared to schools in more affluent areas. This lack of funding exacerbates the existing challenges and makes it difficult for these schools to improve their overall performance.

Low College Acceptance

Lastly, these struggling schools often struggle with low college acceptance rates. Many students from these schools may not have access to the necessary resources and guidance to navigate the college application process successfully.

Additionally, the academic challenges and limited opportunities within these schools may hinder students from developing the necessary skills and qualifications desired by colleges and universities. It is crucial for these schools to focus on providing college readiness programs, counseling services, and partnerships with higher education institutions to improve college acceptance rates among their students.


In conclusion, while Houston has some standout high schools, it is also home to some underperforming and unsafe campuses. Kashmere, Wheatley, Worthing, Austin and Madison High Schools currently face major struggles with poor academics, lack of resources, high dropout rates and violent incidents.

Improving these schools will require increased funding, better teachers, and programs aimed at supporting students and keeping them engaged. With the right interventions, even the worst high schools in Houston could provide students with a quality education.

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