Quality Counts 2018 , Education Week’s annual report card is out and grades are in for the states and the nation.
Before we briefly review the highlights, a little background. States are given scores in three areas: academic achievement, school finance and opportunity for success. Overall scores are a combination of scores in those three areas. State report cards are published to enhance transparency and with the intent of holding public officials accountable for the quality of public schools.
The nation’s overall score 74.5 is just slightly higher than last year (74.2). The score reflects a solid C grade, a place where the US has been stuck the last several years.
So how did North Carolina fare? The Tar Heel state posted a 70.6 score and an overall grade of C- and a ranking of 41st among the states and District of Columbia. This represents a slight improvement over last year’s overall score of 70.5 and a similar grade of C-, and a ranking of 40th among the states.
Among the three individual categories, North Carolina scores were also lagging. Chance for Success 77.6 (C+); School Finance 65.3 (D) and K-12 Achievement 69 (D+).
North Carolina’s overall score (70.6) was only better than one its neighbors, South Carolina (70.3). However, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee also posted overall grades of C-. Virginia, posted the highest overall grade (C+) of any neighboring state.
There will be endless chirping about what the data and trendlines mean. There isn’t time to go into all that here.
Still, anyone who takes the time to review the data for this year and previous years will quickly note there is no golden age of public education which many enjoy indirectly referencing. Second — and more importantly — despite nearly $10 billion in spending, there is no shortage of areas that need improvement.