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Annual Report Card Ranks Quality of States’ Education Systems, ESSA Readiness

Annual Report Card Ranks Quality of States’ Education Systems, ESSA Readiness

Called its “longest-running” annual report, Education Week has released the results of its 2017 edition of Quality Counts, a comprehensive look into the current state of education on a state-by-state basis.

In addition to ranking the quality of education in every state and on a national level, the report took a look at how ready states are for the impending implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

In order to conclusively provide states with a grade, Education Week’s research team analyzed states' educational systems on the "chance-for-success," a measure based on a total of 13 lifelong indicators; on the quality of its school finance system; and on overall K-12 achievement, a factor which is determined by 18 distinct achievement measures.

The nation overall received a "C" grade, almost exactly the same as the grade it received the year before. The usual suspects, as well, were featured in the report's top state performers. No state received an "A" grading; the top performers received no better grade than a "B."

Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maryland rounded out the top five.

The report determined the lowest five state performers, which each received a "D+" or "D" rating, to be Oklahoma, Idaho, New Mexico, Mississippi and Nevada.

According to Education Week, states that notably improved this year are Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

"Montana saw the biggest improvement between 2016 and 2017, with a gain of 1.3 points. New Hampshire and South Carolina also post increases of about one point. The uptick for New Hampshire places its overall score in the top five for the second time since Quality Counts’ revamped grading framework was introduced in 2015," Education Week said.

The report also analyzed how the new education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, is likely to be implemented under respective states given the findings of its quality report. Its conclusion? Things are up in the air.

"...as the new law passes its first birthday, it's an open question whether ESSA will be able to maintain ... balance once it hits state education agencies, district central offices, and classrooms in full force in the 2017-18 school year," Education Week says.

Not to mention, though the Obama administration has spent the past year carefully fleshing out the legislation’s regulations, the switch over to a new administration means these decisions aren’t set in stone.

"The incoming Trump administration will get to decide whether to delay, tweak, or toss those regulations," Education Week said.

To read the full report, see here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

1/5/2017

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