The US education report card looks bleak

Does the American education system continue to fail its students? The latest Education Week Quality Counts report confirms this notion with the nation collectively earning a C (74.3 percent) for its overall report card grade. Education Week Research Center Senior Research Associate Sterling Lloyd told VOXXI that this year’s report card focused on early childhood education. Metrics ranged from the chance for success index and K-12 achievement index to school finance. SEE ALSO: Why Obama’s free community college plan matters to Latinos “We examined how new academic demands and accountability pressures are altering the learning environment for young children and the educators serving them,” Lloyd said. “But as always, Quality Counts annual report card also evaluates the states’ performance across a range of critical indicators. We have set up traditional perennial categories that we grade on in addition to the special needs of early childhood education.” Education performance in the US at a glance The top five best performing states are: Massachusetts 86.2 percent New Jersey 85.5 percent Maryland 85.2 percent Vermont 83 percent New Hampshire 82.4 percent The top five worst performing states are: Mississippi 64.2 percent Nevada 65 percent New Mexico 65.5 percent Oklahoma 67.6 percent Arizona 67.6 percent The poverty correlation to poor academic performance Regarding the top five worst states, a pattern is instantly recognizable – all of those states are located in the southern portion of the country. “Historically we have seen that states in the South have struggled in terms of academic performance, especially in relation to other states that may be more affluent,” Lloyd said. “One factor is, poverty does correlate with achievement. If you look at the states in the South, historically they’ve had higher poverty rates and lower achievement. It’s not a new pattern. The grades reflect that.” Naturally, the other compelling aspect of the southern states failing students is tied to the large Latino population, which continues to experience an achievement gap. Considering this year’s Education Week Quality Counts report card focuses on early childhood education, Lloyd said the data is stark. “Roughly half of Asian, white and African-American children are enrolled in preschool compared with only four in 10 Hispanics and Native Americans,” Lloyd said. “It’s not something that’s entirely new. Now we have some new numbers to show empirically that it’s still an issue and remains a problem that policymakers will want to address.” SEE ALSO: SEE ALSO: Why Obama’s free community college plan matters to Latinos Lloyd said the concern regarding the takeaway from the Education Week Research Center’s latest Quality Counts report is the nation will be fixated on the overall state grades and not take a nuanced approach to the data. “It’s important to drill down into these indicators to look at the factors that contribute to the grades,” Lloyd said. “A goal of ours is for the work to be a resource for policymakers and legislators. We do find they pay attention to it. So we know they’re aware of the data and they can use it as a tool.”The post The US education report card looks bleak appeared first on Voxxi.

Despite the pressures of performance based accountability, the United States education report card gets a C grade. (Shutterstock)

Does the American education system continue to fail its students? The latest Education Week Quality Counts report confirms this notion with the nation collectively earning a C (74.3 percent) for its overall report card grade.

Education Week Research Center Senior Research Associate Sterling Lloyd told VOXXI that this year’s report card focused on early childhood education. Metrics ranged from the chance for success index and K-12 achievement index to school finance.

SEE ALSO: Why Obama’s free community college plan matters to Latinos

“We examined how new academic demands and accountability pressures are altering the learning environment for young children and the educators serving them,” Lloyd said. “But as always, Quality Counts annual report card also evaluates the states’ performance across a range of critical indicators. We have set up traditional perennial categories that we grade on in addition to the special needs of early childhood education.”

Education performance in the US at a glance

The top five best performing states are:

  • Massachusetts 86.2 percent
  • New Jersey 85.5 percent
  • Maryland 85.2 percent
  • Vermont 83 percent
  • New Hampshire 82.4 percent

The top five worst performing states are:

Mississippi 64.2 percent

Nevada 65 percent

New Mexico 65.5 percent

Oklahoma 67.6 percent

Arizona 67.6 percent

The poverty correlation to poor academic performance

Regarding the top five worst states, a pattern is instantly recognizable – all of those states are located in the southern portion of the country.

“Historically we have seen that states in the South have struggled in terms of academic performance, especially in relation to other states that may be more affluent,” Lloyd said. “One factor is, poverty does correlate with achievement. If you look at the states in the South, historically they’ve had higher poverty rates and lower achievement. It’s not a new pattern. The grades reflect that.”

Naturally, the other compelling aspect of the southern states failing students is tied to the large Latino population, which continues to experience an achievement gap. Considering this year’s Education Week Quality Counts report card focuses on early childhood education, Lloyd said the data is stark.

“Roughly half of Asian, white and African-American children are enrolled in preschool compared with only four in 10 Hispanics and Native Americans,” Lloyd said. “It’s not something that’s entirely new. Now we have some new numbers to show empirically that it’s still an issue and remains a problem that policymakers will want to address.”

SEE ALSO: SEE ALSO: Why Obama’s free community college plan matters to Latinos

Lloyd said the concern regarding the takeaway from the Education Week Research Center’s latest Quality Counts report is the nation will be fixated on the overall state grades and not take a nuanced approach to the data.

“It’s important to drill down into these indicators to look at the factors that contribute to the grades,” Lloyd said. “A goal of ours is for the work to be a resource for policymakers and legislators. We do find they pay attention to it. So we know they’re aware of the data and they can use it as a tool.”

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