10 Best & Worst States for Schools -- Is Yours on the List?

Suzee Skwiot | Jan 16, 2015 Parenting News
10 Best & Worst States for Schools -- Is Yours on the List?

kids going to schoolYou're starting your family and choosing a new place to live. What's there to consider? Besides home values, distance from work, and general budgets, it's time to consider one important factor: education. And now thanks to Education Week, the organization has made it easier to see how your state does education-wise.

Three major categories went into grading and ranking all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The chance for success categories factors how education influences a person's later career and life. The finance index examines the state's spending and equity. And the K-12 achievement analysis looks into academic performance in all districts throughout the state. Put them all together and you have a comprehensive look and grade for each state.

Take a look at the slideshow below, which ranks the best states (from best to worse) and worst states (from bad to worst), and see if your state makes the list.

Is this accurate for your state?


Image via luminaimages/shutterstock

  • 1. Best -- Massachusetts


    Image via werkunz/Flickr

    While no state in the country gets an A rank, Massachusetts gets top spot with a B score of 86.2. And the state's best characteristic is its chance for success for students, which is an all-state high of 91.9.

  • 2. Best -- New Jersey


    Image via jessica_digiacomo/Flickr


    In solid second place is another Northeastern state -- New Jersey. The Garden State's 85.5 ranking gives it a solid B grade, but its finances are in best shape. The state's spending category gets an A!

  • 3. Best -- Maryland


    Image via matthewhester/Flickr

    Maryland's overall score is 85.2, but the state gets an A- grade (its highest) for in the early foundations category, which focuses on early childhood education and skill building.

    More from The Stir: 9 Things Your Kid Really Learns in Kindergarten

  • 4. Best -- Vermont


    Image via mattsh/Flickr

    With an 83.0 score, the state ranks fourth overall, but it does boast one proud fact: it has the lowest student-to-teacher ratio in the country, with 9.2 students per instructor.

  • 5. Best -- New Hampshire


    Image via brentdanley/Flickr

    New Hampshire currently has more than 80 public schools and has an overall score of 82.4. It's best ranking, however, is in its early foundations category.

  • 6. Best -- Connecticut


    Image via geordieray/Flickr

    The state of Connecticut ranks as sixth in the overall list (it has a grade of 82.3). Not only is the state proud of its education ranking for the kids, but it's teachers are also at an advantage: they have the third-highest paid average salary in the country.

  • 7. Best -- Wyoming


    Image via effjohn/Flickr

    The first state in the top 10 that's not on the East Coast, Wyoming gets a score of 80.6, just making a B- grade.

  • 8. Best -- Pennsylvania


    Image via Erin/Flickr

    The state of Pennsylvania has a B- grade (80.1), but it's economic state fares much better. In total, its school finances stand best, at an 82.2.

  • 9. Best -- New York


    Image via dkshots/Flickr

    The Empire State is the last state to get a B grade, coming in at a perfect 80.0, and also has a great economic rank. In fact, the state has the highest average expenditure per student: $19,523.

    More from The Stir: 10 Best & Worst States for Raising Kids: Is Yours on the List?

  • 10. Best -- Minnesota


    Image via Keeva999/Flickr

    And the final top 10 state: Minnesota! As the only Midwestern state to make the list, Minnesota's students' chances for success are at a B+, but the schools' finances are a solid C: 75.7.

  • 10. Worst -- California


    Image via ncbob/Flickr

    Starting off the bottom 10 is the Sunshine State. California's overall grade is a 62.9, but the state's chances of success for its students are at a 72.8, which is the highest of all three of the state's categories.

  • 9. Worst -- South Carolina


    Image via ontheopenroad/Flickr

    South Carolina's ranking (overall score of 68.9) is mostly attributed to its K-12 achievement score, which is at a low D (62.6).

  • 8. Worst -- Louisiana


    Image via calsidyrose/Flickr

    The Bayou State's low ranking (it has a score of 68.5) is largely attributed to it's low K-12 achievement grade of D- (59.8).

  • 7. Worst -- Alabama


    Image via sunsurfr/Flickr

    Alabama's D+ score (67.7) puts it solidly on the bottom of the list, and as the 45th state.

  • 6. Worst -- Idaho


    Image via lorenkernz/Flickr

    Idaho's ranking (grade D and 67.7) is in large part due to its low financial grade. The state got an F in Finance, both for its equity and spending.

    More from The Stir: 10 Best & Worst States to Have a Baby: Is Yours on the List?

  • 5. Worst -- Arizona


    Image via aigle_dore/Flickr


    Arizona's D+ grade (a 67.6) is a combination of low rankings in all three categories, especially its finances. On top of that, the state also has the lowest expenditure per student in the country -- just $6,949 per pupil.

  • 4. Worst -- Oklahoma


    Image via auvet/Flickr

    Just like Alabama, Oklahoma gets a 67.6 rating, but its financial status is in even worse shape. Not only does the state only spend $7,912 per student, but it also has one of the lowest average teacher salaries in the country: $44,373.

  • 3. Worst -- New Mexico


    Image via Ron Cogswell/Flickr

    New Mexico's ranking of 65.5 is a solid average of all of its categories. chance of success, K-12 achievement, and school finance all got D grades.

  • 2. Worst -- Nevada


    Image via justininsd/Flickr

    At a score of 65.0, Nevada is the second to last worst state for education in the country. The Silver State D grade falls almost 10 points lower than the national average.

  • 1. Worst -- Mississippi


    Image via auvet/Flickr


    And the final state on the Education Week's list is Mississippi. It comes in at a score of 64.2 and ranks low in all categories. On top of that, it is also the state with the absolute average lowest teacher's salary in the country: $41,814.


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