Education Week and StudentsFirst have each released report cards on public education in each of the states in America. One might be tempted to believe the two would have something in common; however, that is not the case.
Education Week’s 17th edition of the Quality Counts report cited the overall educational quality in America’s public schools as hardly passing and scored them as a C+. That ranking is a slight improvement over last year’s score of C.
The report also ranks states individually: for the fifth year in a row, Maryland bested all other states, with a score of B+. Massachusetts, New York and Virginia followed closely behind, each receiving a B. Completing the top 10 were Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, West Virginia and Kentucky. South Dakota received a D+ and came in last.
The report card used takes into account almost every possible metric imaginable in American education, from school finance to environment to grades to equity. School finance, such as school spending and distribution of resources, is another key component of the report card.
Michelle Rhee’s group, StudentsFirst, released quite different results. That match-up measured states according to whether they aligned with Rhee’s preferred education policies, such as private school vouchers for some students, charter schools, and a policy known as a “parent trigger,” which lets parents take over failing schools.
Louisiana ranked first on Rhee’s report card with a grade of B-. Maryland was given a score of D- while Massachusetts received a D yet came in 14th. Florida joined Louisiana as the only two states to score above C+.
Overall, Rhee gave almost 90% of the states with a grade lower than a C and 11 states failed. California, long considered a pacesetter in public education, ranked 41st in the nation.
No matter which report one chooses in an effort to determine how well a state is doing in the provision of public education, one thing is certain – there is much room for improvement.