With schools ready to open soon, the personal finance website WalletHub released its annual report on the states with the best and worst school systems on Monday.
Not surprisingly, Missouri didn’t place in the top 10 best or worst categories but came out near the middle — albeit below average — as it often does in these types of rankings.
Missouri was ranked 35th in the WalletHub study. Being in the bottom half of all states in the nation in terms of school systems is nothing to brag about.
Considering Missouri ranks 33rd in K-12 school spending and 32nd in funding, according to an educationdata.org report, also released this week, the WalletHub ranking was predictable.
The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. WalletHub found the quality of public school systems varies widely from state to state and is often a question of funding.
From both a quantitative and qualitative lens, more money leads to greater opportunities and greater achievement, according to experts like Christopher Meidl, associate professor at Duquesne University.
WalletHub pointed out public elementary and secondary education money usually flows from three sources: 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.
The WalletHub study included 32 key measures of quality and safety to determine the best school systems in the country. The data set ranges from pupil-teacher ratio and dropout rate to median standardized scores.
Ranked No. 1 was the state of Massachusetts, followed by Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, New Hampshire, Maryland, Delaware, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Vermont.
The lowest score went to New Mexico. Others in the 10 worst were Louisiana, Arizona, Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, Mississippi, West Virginia, South Carolina and Oregon.
WalletHub’s analysis was comprehensive, focusing mainly on academic outcomes and school finance. It also took into account funding, safety, class size and teacher credentials.
Of note is that Massachusetts was ranked No. 1 in “quality” and “safety,” the only state to earn such high marks in those categories.