For the seventh year in a row, a nationally respected annual report found that Massachusetts has the best public school system in the country.
Quality Counts, a report by Education Week, says Massachusetts has, again, the best public schools in the country because of its high test scores, its track record of helping students achieve academically, and the state’s financial commitment to education spending.
Of the three criteria on which the nation’s school systems were graded, Massachusetts was first in student success and academic achievement. Students in Massachusetts are in a class at the top all by themselves when it comes to national test scores at the fourth and eighth grade level. Massachusetts students also benefit from a K-12 public education system that is more likely to improve their long-term prospects than any other states.
However, the report found that while Massachusetts does well in preparing students for long-term success and academic achievement before college, it falls short in equitably funding education across the state. Massachusetts consistently has the best test scores in the country, but it also has the third largest achievement gap in the country between rich and poor districts.
There’s a huge disparity between the wealthy and poor school districts in Massachusetts, leading to a sizable achievement gap around the state. On certain tests, it’s a difference of 25 or 30 points. And the report found that the gap is increasing in some areas. According to Education Week, the disparity is reflected in the state’s per pupil spending numbers.
Average per pupil spending in the United States is $11,667, but in Massachusetts, that figure is roughly $15,000. But it’s distorted by a handful of districts on the high and low end of the spectrum. Six districts spend over $25,000 per student, but seven spend less than $11,000. Only eight states have a larger financial disparity between their richest and poorest school districts than Massachusetts.
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