As the personal finance website WalletHub pointed out, securing a child’s academic success begins with choosing the right schools. But how can parents decide where to enroll their kids?
In other words, where are the nation’s top performing school systems?
To help parents answer that question, WalletHub conducted a survey of the school systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, using 32 key metrics, and then ranked them in order from best to worst. Those metrics were then divided across two dimensions: quality and safety.
Based on those rankings, WalletHub determined Virginia has the nation’s fourth-best school system.
Among the metrics used in the “quality” division were the high school graduation rate among low-income students, the projected high school graduation rate increase between 2020-21 and 2021-32; the system’s dropout rate, its math test scores (measuring the scores earned by fourth- and eighth-graders), the system’s math test scores (again using the scores earned by fourth- and eighth-graders), the share of the 2020 high school class scoring a 3 or higher on advanced placement exams, the median SAT score, the median ACT score, the pupil-teacher ratio, and the share of licensed/certified public K-12 teachers.
Among the metrics used in the “safety” division were the share of threatened/injured high school students (determined by the share of public school students in grades 9-12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property), the share of high school students not attending school because of safety concerns, the share of children whose parents agree their children go to safe schools, the share of high school students with access to illegal drugs, the share of high school students participating in violence (based on students reports of involvement in a physical fight at least once during the previous 12 months on school property), the share of armed high school students, the number of school shootings from 2000 through June 2021, the presence of adopted and enacted laws regarding mandatory school resource officers, the bullying incidence rate, the disciplinary incidence rate, the youth incarceration rate, the requirement for a school safety plan, the requirement for a school safety audit, and the safety grade of the roads around the school.
The three school systems that were ranked higher than Virginia’s in the survey were 1. Massachusetts, 2. Connecticut, and 3. New Jersey.
The five lowest-ranking school systems in the nation (47-51) were 47. Alabama 48. Alaska 49. Arizona 50. Louisiana 51. New Mexico.