For starters, the recent Education Week Research Center’s Chance-for-Success Index reflects experiences–both in and out of school–that affect how well we do over the course of our lifetimes. It’s based on 13 specific education-related factors in a person’s life across three broad stages:
- Early foundations, as in family income, parents’ education levels and English-language fluency
- The school years as in preK-12 and beyond participation and performance
- Adult outcomes as in educational attainment, income, and steady employment
The organization graded all 50 states and D.C. on an A-F scale:
- Massachusetts received the only A;
- The most improved was D.C. with an 82.8, representing a 6.3% increase;
- Coming in with a B+: New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Minnesota;
- Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arizona each received a C;
- Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Nevada each earned a C-, just ahead of lowest scoring New Mexico’s D+.
So, what does all this mean? Here are a few takeaways:
- In the last ten years, the country’s score has only risen by 0.6 points, from a 78.4 in 2008 to a 79.0 in 2018.
- 29 states’ scores improved by less than one point.
- In 10 states, scores dropped by more than one point.
As Education Week journalists Sterling Lloyd and Alex Harwin put it: “Across the Nation, opportunities haven’t improved much over time.”
And that’s the bottom line.