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Ensuring a child’s academic success begins with choosing the right schools. But how do parents decide where to register their children? As children develop and learn at different levels, the ideal answer to this question varies based on each student’s needs. These needs have become more specialized over the past year and a half as families struggle with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting loss of learning.
Depending on how schools are dealing with the coronavirus, some parents may decide to transfer their children to different schools in the future. Unfortunately, most parents cannot afford to place their children in exclusive, private, or preparatory schools that give their students more individual attention. For most families in the United States, public education is the only option. But the quality of public school systems varies greatly from state to state and is often a question of funding. Public primary and secondary education funds typically flow from three sources: the federal government, state governments, and local governments. According to the US Department of Education, states contribute roughly as much as local governments, while the federal government provides the smaller share. Some researchers have found that more resources – or taxes paid by residents – usually lead to better performance of the school system.
State Public School Ratings
Unlike other research that focuses primarily on a school’s academic or financial outcomes, none of the review takes a more comprehensive approach. It takes into account performance, funding, safety, class size, and teacher credentials. To determine the best performing school systems in America, 50 states and the District of Columbia were divided into 32 primary measures.
See, Compare Oregon School Ratings: Unlike State, Oregonlive Team Makes It Easy
Note: With the exception of “Total Score”, all columns in the table above describe the relative ranking for that state, with rating 1 representing the best conditions for that scale category.
Note: Expenditure rank refers to “total current expenditure on public primary and secondary schools per student” (highest amount = rank 1)
Providing quality education to students is very important for the future of the country. This responsibility rests with parents, teachers and leaders. To expand the discussion, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:
Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Early Level Education (Pre-K to Fourth Grade), Department of Guidance and Leadership in Education, College of Education – Duquesne University
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So. – Professor of Leadership Studies, Department of Leadership Studies and Adult Education, College of Education – North Carolina A&T State University
To determine the best and worst states for public school education, the 50 states and the District of Columbia were divided into two main dimensions, “quality” and “safety.”
We analyzed these dimensions using 32 related scales, listed below along with their corresponding weights. Each scale is rated on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest quality general education from kindergarten through secondary education.
Finally, we determined each state and the region-weighted average across all scales to calculate the overall score and used the resulting results to rank the sample.
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Sources: The data used to make this ranking was collected from the United States. Bureau of the Census, US Department of Education, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Center for Education Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Interstate Western Commission on Higher Education, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, State Education Commission, we. News & World Report, College Board, Ballotpedia, ACT, Association of State Education Technology Administrators, Zendrive Civil Rights Data Collection.
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The stated mission of GreatSchools is to help all parents, especially those on low incomes, make smarter decisions about where to send their children to school.
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But GreatSchools’ ratings effectively penalize schools that serve the majority of low-income students and those that serve the majority of black and Latino students, generally giving them significantly lower ratings than schools that serve more affluent white and Asian students, according to one review.
However, according to GreatSchools’ own data, many schools that serve low-income, black, and Hispanic populations do a good job of helping students learn math and English. But these schools still face the long-term prospect of getting an above-average rating in GreatSchools – likely because their students arrive first.
The result is a widespread, privately-run school rating system that pushes people toward whiter, richer schools. A recent preliminary study found that while the site released an earlier version of its ratings, areas with highly-rated schools saw increases in home prices and increases in white, Asian, and more educated families. The study found that after three years, real estate values in those areas had increased by nearly $7,000, making it difficult for low-income families to purchase in those areas.
As parents decide where to live, “these signs really come to the top of the list for nearly every parent I’ve talked to,” says Sharik Hasan, the Duke University researcher who authored the GreatSchools study. “They want to be in a school district with schools that are rated 9 or 10.”
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GreatSchools changed its rankings in 2017. Analysis shows demographic correlation has decreased somewhat as a result of the change – but still significantly.
GreatSchools rejects the idea that its ratings contribute to racial segregation. “On the contrary, we believe information leads to justice. Parents, especially low-income parents, deserve to know the state of their schools,” said company CEO John Dean. “There are real gaming issues here, but allowing parents, to act on their children’s behalf, is not the problem.”
Here’s the contrast between GreatSchools’ ratings: They are available to everyone, which means they can help low-income families choose a school or pressure officials to make improvements. But they can also help wealthy families stabilize access to areas other families can’t afford, while reinforcing stereotypes that schools in some neighborhoods are consistently low quality.
“I think GreatSchools have a great responsibility to think carefully about how or not their platform is used in relation to segregation patterns,” said Frances Berman, a professor at Stanford University who has studied the relationship between school choice and housing. “The idea that a high-quality school is necessarily a white, rich school is a problematic situation.”
Greatschools Wanted To Disrupt Online School Ratings. But Did It Make Neighborhood Segregation Worse?
When Bill Jackson started GreatSchools in 1996 as a Silicon Valley business association project, he personally visited schools in the Bay Area and spoke with school administrators about how their schools operate.
“We wanted to build a public appetite for a view of school quality based on the school’s own perception of what is important,” Jackson told Education Week in 1999, a year after the organization had become an independent nonprofit.
As GreatSchools expanded, first across California and then across the country, this approach proved unsustainable. Fortunately, the organization has gained a new source of information: test scores for nearly every public school in the country, thanks to new requirements in the federal education law. “The passage of the No Child Left Behind Act is so much windy in GreatSchools sail,” Jackson, who served as CEO until 2016, said today.
At the same time, charter schools and other school selection policies are gaining momentum. More choice means information about school quality is the most important – and it has raised concerns that this information may be accessible to well-connected parents.
How Greatschools — America’s Unofficial School Ratings — Make Good Schools Look Bad
By democratizing that information, which would otherwise remain in huge spreadsheets on government websites, “GreatSchools had intentions to provide some fairness,” said Janelle Scott, a professor of education at the University of California, Berkeley.
GreatSchools has also partnered with real estate websites, starting with Zillow in 2012, to include their ratings, because schools are often crucial to home buying decisions. GreatSchools, a nonprofit, gets licensing fees from those partnerships, which are worth less than 20% of their revenue, according to
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