Maryland ranks first in the nation, Education Week says
By: Anna Brune
For the past three years Maryland has sat atop the education pyramid. And it has no intention of giving up its spot.
In its 2011 Quality Counts report Education Week ranked each state based on their Chance for Success, K-12 Achievement, School Finance and Transitions and Alignment. Maryland took the gold home again, topping the list for the the third year in a row with a B-plus average. Maryland’s dynamic school system has earned the state countless national academic awards and a “Race to the Top” grant. New York and Massachusetts trailed close behind with Bs, and Virginia and Florida rounded out the top 5 with B-minuses.
But right next door, Washington D.C. ranked second lowest with a D-plus, beating the lowest state, Nebraska, by 0.5 percent. A majority of the states scored a C-minus to a C-plus, making the overall nation’s average a C, the same score as last year.
The four categories the ranking is based on grade each state on specific achievements.
The first category, Chance for Success, is based on the connection between a person’s education and its beneficial outcomes based on three main life stages: early childhood, participation and performance in formal education, and education achievements and worker results as an adult.
The next category, K-12 Achievement, is based on three main performance-based groups: the current state performance, the state’s improvement over time, and equity as measured by poverty-based achievement gaps.
The third category, School Finance, is based on two main components: the spending patterns of the schools and how the state distributes school resources.
The final category, Transitions and Alignment, is based on the state’s effort to harmonize K-12 schooling with the rest of the educational system by focusing on three stages: early-childhood, college preparedness, and connections to the working world.
Overall, the four categories work together to capture significant characteristics of the full education system’s environment, the schools performances and use of school funding.
To read the full Education Week story and download the 2011 Quality Counts report click here.
Anna Brune is a senior at Montgomery Blair High School.