List: States with the best and worst public school systems


School students in class working with tablets

(NewsNation Now) — Students are getting ready to head back into the classroom, some for the first time in nearly a year and half after the trials and tribulations of virtual learning.

After the frustrations of the past year, many parents are wondering how they can contribute to their child’s academic success. Wallethub took a look at 2021’s best and worst public school systems weighing everything from standardized test scores to dropout rates.

WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions and 32 key metrics. The two key dimensions were quality and safety. The metrics included: dropout rates, pupil-to-teacher ratio, bullying-incidence rate and testing scores in subjects like math and reading.

The states with the best public school systems:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Connecticut
  3. New Jersey
  4. Virginia
  5. New Hampshire

Massachusetts reported having the lowest share of high school students who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, 4.50%. That is 2.8 times lower than in Louisiana, the highest at 12.40%. Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire all tied for first in the highest median ACT score reported.

Source: WalletHub

The states with the worst public school systems (47 to 51):

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Louisiana
  • New Mexico

WalletHub also examined the amount each state spent on education. For the most part, states that spent less on education, ended up having lower rankings, however some states like Alaska spent high on education but had weak standings. Teresa Coffman, education professor at University of Mary Washington said equitable funding is the key

“Equitable funding across states improves school quality. Strategic funding targeted directly to student populations can oftentimes bring about the largest sustained community improvements as compared to funding directed towards other populations,” said Coffman. “Allocating funding to schools (per-pupil spending) improves not only school quality, but additionally the communities within which the schools operate.”

Source: WalletHub

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