In July, WalletHub published its findings on the best and worst school systems in the US for 2019. For parents who are considering moving to a new state for better work opportunities, this information may help guide that decision.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s what the study uncovered.
To determine the best and worst schools in Washington DC and America’s 50 states, WalletHub considered 29 factors related to student safety and quality of education. With few exceptions, DC and the Southeastern states overwhelmingly occupied the locales ranking in the bottom tiers:
- Louisiana had the highest dropout rates, while Alabama had the second-lowest math scores.
- Mississippi and Louisiana held first and second place respectively for the lowest reading test scores.
- Florida had the lowest median SAT scores.
- Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina had some of the lowest median ACT scores.
- Students in D.C. and Southeastern states faced the highest risk of threats and injuries at school.
Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, provided some possible reasons to Parentology for the differences in the performance of Southern and Northern school systems. She identified safety reasons in the South as one of the main reasons for truancy and dropouts. Violence in schools is less prevalent in the North, making it relatively easier for Northern students to finish school and score better grades.
“Neighborhood safety is among the factors that correlate with the rate of school violence,” Gonzalez also added. “Others would include substance abuse, access to guns and the lack of laws and regulations regarding school discipline and safety.”
“Parental involvement along with teacher expertise go a long way,” Gonzalez says. “Parents can set up reading and math schedules for their children and review their progress, in order to help them improve their skills. In the classroom, teachers should be able to pinpoint students’ weaker areas and work with them to improve those skills.”
Gonzalez also believes that increasing the quality of teachers in a classroom would reduce dropout rates. More opportunities for professional development would assist with this. Lowering the ratio of students to teachers would also help instructors to provide more one-on-one attention for students who need it.
Finally, Gonzalez stands firm on her beliefs related to violence in school.
“There should be severe consequences for those who promote violence in schools,” she says. “At an individual and school level, parents and teachers should … educate children to steer away from violent behavior. Governments should adopt laws and regulations that contribute to schools’ safety and implement disciplinary measures for those who are violent.”
The Bottom Line
According to Pews Research Center, America lags behind other developing countries in math, sciences, and reading. In addition to this, bullying now affects up to 33% of US students. At the extreme end of violence, mass shootings have become such an epidemic on school campuses that Homeland Security has since become involved in crafting policies related to school safety.
Righting the wrongs present in America’s school systems will take time and community effort. Through collective commitment and effort, America’s education system can regain respectability on the world stage.
Best and Worst School Systems in the US — Sources
WalletHub: 2019’s States with the Best & Worst School Systems
Jill Gonzalez, Wallet Hub
Pews Research Center: U.S. students’ academic achievement still lags that of their peers in many other countries
US Homeland Security: School Safety and Security
StopBullying.gov: Facts About Bullying