NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Card on American Education

January 31, 2012

The American Legislative Exchange Council's 17th edition of the Report Card on American Education contains a comprehensive overview of educational achievement levels (performance and gains for low-income students) for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The Report Card details what education policies states currently have in place and provides a roadmap for legislators to follow to bring about educational excellence in their state, say Matthew Ladner, senior adviser of policy and research for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, and Dan Lips, a senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute.

Focusing on the reforms recently enacted in Indiana, and with a foreword by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, the Report Card examines the experiences other states can learn from the struggles and triumphs in Indiana.

Ladner and Lips analyze student scores, looking at both performance as well as how scores have improved over recent years.  Additionally, each state is graded based on its current education policies.

The top five states for performance were:

  • Massachusetts.
  • Vermont.
  • New Jersey.
  • Colorado.
  • Pennsylvania.

The bottom five states for performance were:

  • West Virginia.
  • South Carolina.
  • Louisiana.
  • Mississippi.
  • Missouri.

Despite ranking 47th in performance, Missouri was the only state to receive an A-grade (A-) when it comes to education policy.

Source: Matthew Ladner and Dan Lips, "Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress and Reform," American Legislative Exchange Council, January 2012.

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