Education Week, an independent news and data organization that collects, analyzes and reports information on the nation’s education has completed its annual “chance-for-success index” of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Out of the entire nation, Ohio ranks 24th at preparing its students for success. It was awarded a grade of a B-, slightly above the average state ranking of a C+. This is the first time in the last decade that the state has finished in the upper half of the country’s rankings.
The country, overall, earned a C+ grade with Massachusetts ranking first at an A-. The lowest performing state was New Mexico with a D+. The grades are calculated by collecting an analyzing 13 categories:
Family Income, Parent Education, Parental Employment, Linguistic Integration, Preschool Enrollment, Kindergarten Enrollment, 4th Grade Reading, 8th Grade Mathematics, High School Graduation, Young-Adult Education, Adult Educational Attainment, Annual Income, and Steady Employment.
These metrics are grouped into three categories; Early Foundations, School, and Adult Outcomes. For Early Foundations and School, Ohio ranks well in comparison to other states. The only category in which the Buckeye State appears to be behind the country is Adult Outcomes; where it earns a C to the nation’s C+. Despite this and other areas of lag, Ohio continues to improve overall which may strengthen the case for school choice.
Over the past several years, Ohio has gradually adopted a more robust school voucher program as well as more charter schools. While many critics claim these programs are siphoning off federal resources from schools and feeding them to private institutions, the continuing, gradual, increase in Ohio’s rankings mean, at a minimum, the programs don’t appear to be harming education in Ohio.
Last year after a number of Ohio public schools received failing grades from the state, the school voucher program is set to increase by 600 percent, while the charter school system will more than double. Should the state’s performance continue its upward climb in the rankings, Ohio could serve as a model for how to effectively implement school choice programs.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].