Seven years after it’s first “Leaders and Laggards” report, which found significant problems in state-run education, the U.S.  Chamber of Commerce Foundation has released an updated version of the study.

The new report used 11 indicators to measure statewide K-12 educational effectiveness including overall academic achievement; achievement by low-income and minority students; parental options; data quality; and financial responsibility and return on investment.

Overall, the outlook was optimistic. According to the report’s major findings, every state improved on performance from the last report. However, results varied widely. The Chamber says across the board gains must be greater for all students to achieve success.

In terms of progress made, Maryland, Tennessee and Rhode Island made the biggest advancements while Texas, Michigan and South Carolina progressed the least.

Some of the top overall performers included Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Minnesota and New Jersey, which all received ‘A’ rankings for academic achievement. D.C., Mississippi and Louisiana rank at the bottom.

For a complete breakdown of how all the states ranked, view the chart below.

State Grades:

State Academic Achievement Academic Achievement Low-Income/Minority Return on Investment Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness
Alabama F F F F F
Alaska D C F D+ F
Arizona D D B C D
Arkansas D C D D+ C
California F F B C+ B
Colorado A B A B B
Connecticut A F C C- A
Delaware C B D B- F
District of Columbia F F F C+ F
Florida C A B C C
Georgia D C D F D
Hawaii D A A C D
Idaho C C A D D
Illinois C D D D B
Indiana B B B C- C
Iowa B D C D+ B
Kansas B B B D B
Kentucky C C C C C
Louisiana F F F D+ F
Maine B B B B- A
Maryland A A C C- A
Massachusetts A A A A A
Michigan D F F D- D
Minnesota A B A B A
Mississippi F F F C F
Missouri D C C A C
Montana B A B C C
Nebraska C D D C B
Nevada F F C C+ F
New Hampshire A A A B B
New Jersey A A C B- A
New Mexico F D F B F
New York C C F B B
North Carolina C B A C- C
North Dakota B A D C A
Ohio B B D C- C
Oklahoma F F C C- D
Oregon D D B C- F
Pennsylvania A C D C B
Rhode Island C D D C+ D
South Carolina F D D D+ F
South Dakota C D A C- B
Tennessee D D C A C
Texas D B B D- C
Utah C C A C- C
Vermont A N/A C B- A
Virginia B B B D A
Washington A A A B D
West Virginia F C F B+ D
Wisconsin B F C C- A
Wyoming B A F C- D
State 21st Century Teacher Force Parental Options Data Quality Technology International Competitiveness Fiscal Responsibility
Alabama C- F F F F B
Alaska D D B D D D
Arizona C- A C C D B
Arkansas B- D A D D C
California D+ B N/A F D D
Colorado C+ A B C- A D
Connecticut B- D B F A D
Delaware C+ A A F C A
District of Columbia D+ A A N/A F N/A
Florida B+ A A A- C D
Georgia B- B B B D A
Hawaii D+ B B D F D
Idaho D+ C B D+ C B
Illinois C+ C C F C F
Indiana B- A A B- C D
Iowa D D C D- B A
Kansas D F B C- B F
Kentucky C F A D- D F
Louisiana B A B B- F C
Maine C- B A D+ B A
Maryland D+ F A C- A F
Massachusetts B- B B F A D
Michigan B- B A C D D
Minnesota C- A B B+ A C
Mississippi C C B F F C
Missouri C- C B D+ D B
Montana F F C F B F
Nebraska D- F D F C B
Nevada C- C C B F B
New Hampshire D D B D- A C
New Jersey B- D B D- A F
New Mexico D+ C B C- F D
New York B- A B D- B A
North Carolina C C A C- C A
North Dakota D F B F B F
Ohio B- A A D B F
Oklahoma B- D D C F B
Oregon D C A D+ C C
Pennsylvania C- B D F A F
Rhode Island B C A C- D C
South Carolina C- B D B- D C
South Dakota D- F D C- B A
Tennessee B D A F F A
Texas C- C A B- C C
Utah C B B A- C B
Vermont D- F D F A A
Virginia C+ D A B A F
Washington C- B B B- B B
West Virginia C- F B B- F C
Wisconsin D+ C A F B A
Wyoming D D C C- C B

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's "Leaders and Laggards" report

Looking forward, the foundation says one of the greatest threats to the quality of education is unfunded pension plans. In states like Connecticut, Kentucky and Illinois, less than half the funds needed to make pensions solvent have been contributed, and as a result education funding has faltered. However, Wisconsin, North Carolina and South Dakota have kept funding at the necessary levels and are able to maintain public education spending.

For more information, visit the Leaders & Laggards interactive site.

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