NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

States Rated On Education Funding

January 17, 1997

A new study by Education Week evaluating the states on educational quality gives no state consistently high marks. The states are graded using 75 specific measurements -- ranging from class size to teacher qualifications to total funds allocated for each student.

The states earned mostly "Cs" in the four categories that most affect student achievement: rigorous academic standards, a commitment to high-quality teaching, a school culture that supports learning and adequate and equitable funding.

  • States ranking at the top were West Virginia, Kentucky, Vermont, Georgia, Indiana and Maine.
  • States ranked near the bottom were Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Idaho and Nebraska.
  • In the category Standards and Assessments -- involving the quality of core curriculum and student assessments -- 22 states were given "As" and 13 got "Bs."
  • Iowa and Wyoming were given "Fs" for not developing statewide standards.

The high scores for standards and assessments was the one piece of encouraging news from the survey. Educators increasingly agree that without high standards and intelligent assessments of student performance, it is extremely difficult to improve schools.

Overall, however, Ronald Wolk, editor of the report, said some states "barely get passable grades, and no state can boast of a school system adequate to its needs."

Source: Peter Applebombe, "States Get Report Cards on Education," New York Times, January 17, 1997.


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