Best States for Pre-K – 12, Iowa No. 8

The following article was initially posted on on Aug. 2, 2018 via U.S. News.

Best States for Pre-K – 12

Half the weighting in evaluating education goes to pre-K through 12th grade. Overall, the generation progressing through school now is the most educated ever. In the 2016 Census, the source of this data, almost 90 percent of Americans had earned a high school diploma or GED. Wide differences exist in the education levels in the states, however. Rates of less than a ninth-grade education range from 11 percent in California to 3 percent in Utah. Iowa leads the nation in the percentage of students graduating from high school, slightly more than 90 percent, which is one of the key metrics involved in the Best States education ranking. The early start that children gain from pre-K education also is a factor. With nearly a quarter of children enrolled in preschool nationally, the Best States ranking shows New Jersey with the greatest, at almost one-third.

Pre-K – 12 Rank State College Readiness High School Graduation Rate NAEP Math Scores NAEP Reading Scores Pre-K Quality Preschool Enrollment
#1  Massachusetts 2 13 1 2 24 4
#2  New Hampshire 3 7 2 1 - 17
#3  New Jersey 6 2 4 5 14 2
#4  Vermont 7 11 5 3 30 1
#5  Connecticut 1 14 20 4 36 3
#6  Maine 17 12 18 14 6 7
#7  Minnesota 27 32 3 6 6 9
#8  Iowa 33 1 14 16 29 8
#9  Rhode Island 12 29 29 29 1 6
#10  Montana 24 19 9 7 - 32

High School Graduation Rate

In order to have a full picture of any state’s success in graduating students from public high school, a longitudinal look at a graduating class, starting with students who enter the ninth grade and counting how many graduate from the 12th grade, is necessary. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s report for the 2014-2015 school year, Iowa – the No. 1 ranked state overall – led the nation in high school graduation, with 90.8 percent of the state’s high-schoolers obtaining diplomas. New Jersey ranked second, with 89.7 percent graduating. Alabama ranked third, with 89.3 percent. In general, students in the Far West, Southeast and Rocky Mountains had the lowest rates while students in New England and the Plains had the highest rates.

To view the entire list and judging factors, visit U.S. News.