Beware Of Education Rankings

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

They’re usually only grading how much states and schools spend, not how much students learn. “As recently as 2011, Education Week placed Florida fifth in the nation,” Stan Leibowitz and Matthew L. Kelly write in Reason magazine. “Then the publication altered its methodology to put more weight on raw expenditures.”

“Despite high test scores, the state dropped to 29th place—not because teaching effectiveness fell, but because the state supposedly spent too little!”

Leibowitz and Kelly did their own study, focusing on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) scores. “When this more appropriate method is used, the results are vastly different from the dominant narrative” Leibowits and Kelly write. “Only two of the U.S. News top 10 states, Massachusetts and New Jersey, show up in our top 10 based on the quality of state education.”

“There are other major changes in the rankings as well, particularly in New England. Maine drops from sixth to 48th; Rhode Island from ninth to 39th; Vermont from fourth to 27th. Going in the other direction, Texas, Georgia, and Florida jump from 33rd, 35th, and 40th to fifth, seventh, and third, respectively. The Northern monopoly on top rankings disappears.”