The quality of public school systems varies widely from state to state and is often a question of funding. Public elementary and secondary education money usually flows from the federal, state and local governments.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, states contribute nearly as much as local governments, while the federal government supplies the smallest share. Some researchers have found that more resources – or taxes paid by residents – typically result in better school-system performance.
Unlike other research that focuses primarily on academic outcomes or school finance, WalletHub analyzed school districts by taking a more comprehensive approach that accounts for performance, funding, safety, class size and instructor credentials.
To determine the top-performing school systems in America across two key dimensions – quality and safety – WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 32 key metrics, graded each metric on a 100-point scale (with 100 being the highest quality of public K-12 education), determined each state and the district’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate the overall score, then rank-ordered the sample.
Wisconsin school districts placed ninth, with these weighted metric scores for quality and safety (1 = best, 25 = average): eighth in math test scores, 13th in reading test scores, 20th for pupil-teacher ratio, first for median SAT score, 25th for percentage of licensed/certified public K-12 teachers, seventh for dropout rate, 19th for percentage of threatened or injured high school students, and first for the existence of a digital learning plan.
The full report is available at wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-schools/5335.