We can thank this state for many things: The Red Sox. John F. Kennedy. And one hell of a strong city. And as it turns out, the Bay State is also the best place in America for an education.
Massachusetts, home to some of the nation’s top universities, is wicked smaht. The Washington Post recently published a column about the state’s superior education system, citing results from Education Week‘s annual Quality Counts report card.
For the seventh time running, the small New England state has topped the country’s scorecard and is the only state to score an A- on a child’s so-called “chance for success,” that weighs all the factors that would help a young person thrive academically. Meanwhile, the country as a whole scored a measly C+.
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The study found that more than 60 percent of children in Massachusetts have at least one parent with a post-secondary degree, 14 points higher than the national average. There are also many more children enrolled in preschool — 59.4 percent, compared to 47.7 percent nationally. Additionally, a higher percentage of Massachusetts middle schoolers are proficient at standardized testing (47.5 percent on reading and 54.6 percent on math) compared the national average (34.0 percent and 34.4 percent, respectively).
And while we often lament how our country’s youth lag behind the rest of the developed world in reading and math, Slate reports that Massachusetts students actually rank fifth in the world in reading — ahead of pupils in Singapore and Japan. In math, Massachusetts is ninth, leading both Japan and Germany.
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So why is Massachusetts so academically advanced? As the Post puts it simply, “a bipartisan commitment to education reform.”
To any politician reading this, results happen when people work together. The state has consistently shown heavy support for education system over the years, especially with its Education Reform Act of 1993 that put a lot of public dollars towards its schools (especially ones that are low-income), and demanded high standards from its educators.
And even though our country is currently deeply divided between conservative and liberal values, since the passage of the act, “Massachusetts Republicans and Democrats alike continued investing heavily in education,” the Post says.
Granted, Massachusetts didn’t score perfectly across the entire educational spectrum; like many other states it needs to close its achievement gap for minority and low-income students. Still, it looks like the whole country might want to look northeast to learn a thing or two.
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