California received a C grade and ranked 30th in the nation in an annual education survey released yesterday.
Published by the nonprofit group Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, the 15th annual Quality Counts report is based on surveys sent to the chief state school officers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The surveys, distributed electronically on June 30, 2010, included sections regarding transitions and alignment, school finance, and the impact of the economy on education.
Newly seated State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement that investments in California schools need to continue for the state to progress.
It is fitting that the latest edition of Quality Counts that studied the impact of the economy on education should coincide with the release of our governor's budget proposal that underscored California's extensive budget problems.
Our state's overall grade for six categories studied is a C – the same as the nation's. But average is not good enough for me, for our students, or for our teachers. You wouldn't want a 'C' mechanic working on your car, a 'C' attorney defending you in court, or a 'C' surgeon operating on you in a hospital – and we can't afford to be satisfied with a 'C' for California schools.
A close look at California's 2011 report card reveals a mixed bag, filled with areas of progress and areas of poor performance.
For example, California's educational system earned an A-minus for standards, assessments and accountability and a B-minus in the areas of transitions and alignment, meaning many state policies and programs help provide a smooth path through pre-school, college and beyond. In the areas where the state lacked policies – like linking college preparation to high school graduation requirements – most other states didn't have cogent policies either.
California students in the fourth and eighth grades have made important strides in improving reading and math, the study found. But overall, the state fared poorly in many K-12 achievement categories, barely passing with a D-minus grade. The state's graduation rate actual got worse between 2000 and 2007, dragging down the overall achievement score.
The state was on par with the rest of the nation, earning C grades in education finance. Rhode Island and Wyoming led in that category, according to the study, both receiving a grade of A-minus.
Overall, Maryland was ranked above all other states in educational quality followed by Massachusetts and New York.