Special Report

This State Has America's Best Schools

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As the U.S. president and Congress debate how much money will be spent on social services, education is a huge part of the debate. Will student loans be forgiven? When can schools safely reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic continues? The administration has proposed several hundred billion dollars to improve education results from kindergarten to community college to four-year institutions of higher education.

Ranking K-12 schools and colleges has become an industry unto itself. US News has made a major business from ranking colleges and universities. It has been joined by other evaluations from Niche, Forbes and the Princeton Review. Ratings of high schools also have emerged as a business. US News is a major force in these evaluations, along with TheBestSchools.org.

Scholarship portal Scholaroo has just released a study titled “2022 Student Success Rankings: States with Best & Worst School Systems.” The research has a complex methodology, which determines the strength of states based on a 100-point scale. The primary categories are “Student Success,” “Student Safety” and “School Quality.” Together, these categories are based on 42 metrics.

Student Success constitutes 50 of the 100-point rating. It included high school graduation and dropout rates, SAT scores, reading and math scores, and measures of how many students stay in school through high school graduation.

Student Quality makes up 30 of the 100 points. This includes measures of spending per pupil, pupil/teacher ratio, school ranking from independent researchers and the education level and salaries of teachers.

Student Safety includes measures of “bullying rates” and presence of illegal drugs, as well as data on robbery, the presence of weapons, rаpe, and other physical attacks.

The state with the best schools is Massachusetts, which has a score of 86.12. The primary reason is its number one ranking for the Student Success category. New Jersey and Connecticut follow, at 85.51 at 81.44, respectively. No other state has a score above 80.

At the low end of the list is Arizona at 51.56. It has unusually low scores across all three of the metrics.

Click here to see the states with America’s best schools

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50. Arizona
> Overall score: 51.56
> State ranking for Student Success: #46
> State ranking for School Quality: #50
> State ranking for Student Safety: #45

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49. Louisiana
> Overall score: 51.95
> State ranking for Student Success: #49
> State ranking for School Quality: #49
> State ranking for Student Safety: #38

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48. Alaska
> Overall score: 53.98
> State ranking for Student Success: #48
> State ranking for School Quality: #39
> State ranking for Student Safety: #36

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47. New Mexico
> Overall score: 54.30
> State ranking for Student Success: #50
> State ranking for School Quality: #24
> State ranking for Student Safety: #35

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46. Nevada
> Overall score: 56.73
> State ranking for Student Success: #47
> State ranking for School Quality: #42
> State ranking for Student Safety: #21

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45. Oklahoma
> Overall score: 56.92
> State ranking for Student Success: #45
> State ranking for School Quality: #46
> State ranking for Student Safety: #15

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44. California
> Overall score: 58.55
> State ranking for Student Success: #20
> State ranking for School Quality: #37
> State ranking for Student Safety: #50

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43. Alabama
> Overall score: 59.25
> State ranking for Student Success: #40
> State ranking for School Quality: #44
> State ranking for Student Safety: #29

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42. West Virginia
> Overall score: 59.38
> State ranking for Student Success: #44
> State ranking for School Quality: #27
> State ranking for Student Safety: #25

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41. Mississippi
> Overall score: 59.61
> State ranking for Student Success: #43
> State ranking for School Quality: #43
> State ranking for Student Safety: #17

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40. South Carolina
> Overall score: 60.48
> State ranking for Student Success: #42
> State ranking for School Quality: #17
> State ranking for Student Safety: #44

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39. Idaho
> Overall score: 60.71
> State ranking for Student Success: #38
> State ranking for School Quality: #47
> State ranking for Student Safety: #10

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38. Montana
> Overall score: 61.21
> State ranking for Student Success: #29
> State ranking for School Quality: #41
> State ranking for Student Safety: #48

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37. Hawaii
> Overall score: 61.78
> State ranking for Student Success: #36
> State ranking for School Quality: #30
> State ranking for Student Safety: #41

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36. Michigan
> Overall score: 61.94
> State ranking for Student Success: #32
> State ranking for School Quality: #25
> State ranking for Student Safety: #49

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35. North Carolina
> Overall score: 62.14
> State ranking for Student Success: #31
> State ranking for School Quality: #40
> State ranking for Student Safety: #42

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34. Oregon
> Overall score: 62.68
> State ranking for Student Success: #39
> State ranking for School Quality: #29
> State ranking for Student Safety: #23

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33. Georgia
> Overall score: 63.27
> State ranking for Student Success: #41
> State ranking for School Quality: #15
> State ranking for Student Safety: #26

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32. Arkansas
> Overall score: 64.17
> State ranking for Student Success: #35
> State ranking for School Quality: #28
> State ranking for Student Safety: #24

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31. Tennessee
> Overall score: 64.39
> State ranking for Student Success: #33
> State ranking for School Quality: #35
> State ranking for Student Safety: #28

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30. Florida
> Overall score: 64.58
> State ranking for Student Success: #30
> State ranking for School Quality: #38
> State ranking for Student Safety: #18

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29. South Dakota
> Overall score: 64.88
> State ranking for Student Success: #17
> State ranking for School Quality: #45
> State ranking for Student Safety: #32

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28. Indiana
> Overall score: 64.89
> State ranking for Student Success: #25
> State ranking for School Quality: #36
> State ranking for Student Safety: #46

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27. North Dakota
> Overall score: 65.65
> State ranking for Student Success: #24
> State ranking for School Quality: #34
> State ranking for Student Safety: #33

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26. Texas
> Overall score: 65.82
> State ranking for Student Success: #37
> State ranking for School Quality: #22
> State ranking for Student Safety: #5

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25. Utah
> Overall score: 66.09
> State ranking for Student Success: #11
> State ranking for School Quality: #48
> State ranking for Student Safety: #9

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24. Wyoming
> Overall score: 66.16
> State ranking for Student Success: #21
> State ranking for School Quality: #26
> State ranking for Student Safety: #39

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23. Washington
> Overall score: 67.54
> State ranking for Student Success: #28
> State ranking for School Quality: #14
> State ranking for Student Safety: #14

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22. Colorado
> Overall score: 68.01
> State ranking for Student Success: #19
> State ranking for School Quality: #33
> State ranking for Student Safety: #6

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21. Ohio
> Overall score: 68.02
> State ranking for Student Success: #34
> State ranking for School Quality: #13
> State ranking for Student Safety: #4

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20. Kansas
> Overall score: 68.15
> State ranking for Student Success: #16
> State ranking for School Quality: #31
> State ranking for Student Safety: #12

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19. Kentucky
> Overall score: 68.34
> State ranking for Student Success: #22
> State ranking for School Quality: #23
> State ranking for Student Safety: #22

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18. Missouri
> Overall score: 68.65
> State ranking for Student Success: #27
> State ranking for School Quality: #18
> State ranking for Student Safety: #3

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17. Illinois
> Overall score: 70.03
> State ranking for Student Success: #15
> State ranking for School Quality: #11
> State ranking for Student Safety: #47

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16. Maine
> Overall score: 70.45
> State ranking for Student Success: #12
> State ranking for School Quality: #21
> State ranking for Student Safety: #7

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15. Iowa
> Overall score: 70.81
> State ranking for Student Success: #7
> State ranking for School Quality: #32
> State ranking for Student Safety: #27

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14. Nebraska
> Overall score: 71.93
> State ranking for Student Success: #9
> State ranking for School Quality: #19
> State ranking for Student Safety: #11

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13. Wisconsin
> Overall score: 71.94
> State ranking for Student Success: #6
> State ranking for School Quality: #20
> State ranking for Student Safety: #31

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12. Rhode Island
> Overall score: 72.16
> State ranking for Student Success: #23
> State ranking for School Quality: #5
> State ranking for Student Safety: #30

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11. Pennsylvania
> Overall score: 72.24
> State ranking for Student Success: #18
> State ranking for School Quality: #10
> State ranking for Student Safety: #34

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10. Minnesota
> Overall score: 72.61
> State ranking for Student Success: #4
> State ranking for School Quality: #16
> State ranking for Student Safety: #43

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9. Delaware
> Overall score: 74.07
> State ranking for Student Success: #26
> State ranking for School Quality: #6
> State ranking for Student Safety: #1

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8. Maryland
> Overall score: 74.33
> State ranking for Student Success: #14
> State ranking for School Quality: #9
> State ranking for Student Safety: #16

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7. Vermont
> Overall score: 74.82
> State ranking for Student Success: #10
> State ranking for School Quality: #8
> State ranking for Student Safety: #20

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6. New Hampshire
> Overall score: 74.91
> State ranking for Student Success: #8
> State ranking for School Quality: #7
> State ranking for Student Safety: #37

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5. Virginia
> Overall score: 75.59
> State ranking for Student Success: #5
> State ranking for School Quality: #12
> State ranking for Student Safety: #40

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4. New York
> Overall score: 77.38
> State ranking for Student Success: #13
> State ranking for School Quality: #1
> State ranking for Student Safety: #19

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3. Connecticut
> Overall score: 81.44
> State ranking for Student Success: #3
> State ranking for School Quality: #4
> State ranking for Student Safety: #13

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2. New Jersey
> Overall score: 85.51
> State ranking for Student Success: #2
> State ranking for School Quality: #2
> State ranking for Student Safety: #2

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1. Massachusetts
> Overall score: 86.12
> State ranking for Student Success: #1
> State ranking for School Quality: #3
> State ranking for Student Safety: #8

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