The 10 Best States for Public Education in the Nation

The 10 Best States for Public Education in the Nation August 16, 2018


A few days ago we released the five worst states in the nation for public education. Today we share the ten best states for public education. After I posted the article on the worst states, the communications director of WalletHub contacted me to thank me for using them as a source. To continue to help parents learn more, they provided me with detailed metrics of the ten states with the best public education in the nation. Wallethub reviewed parameters in the following areas to rank the states:

I will use the following metrics to outline the results

  1. High school drop out rate
  2. Number of Blue Ribbon School per capita
  3. Number of Schools in Top 700 Best Schools in the Nation
  4. Math test scores
  5. Reading test scores
  6. Median SAT score
  7. Median ACT score
  8. Pupil-Teacher Ratio
  9. Percent of students that are threatened or injured at school
  10. Percent of students that don’t attend school due to safety concerns
  11. Percent of students with access to illegal drugs
  12. Percent of students participating in violence
  13. Percent of students that are armed with firearms
  14. Number of School Shootings
  15. Bullying Incident reports

The top 10 States for Public Education in Nation are:

10. Colorado

Colorado is best known for the majestic Rocky Mountains. Families flock to the slopes of the mountains to ski and snowboard each year. Colorado is also where the first mass school shooting took place in 1998. Due to the aftermath of the Columbine School shooting, Colorado has implemented numerous laws to increase safety for all students.

Colorado ranks 7 in the country for having the most schools in the Top 700 Best Schools. Math scores for Colorado pupils rank number 10 in the nation. SAT scores for students rank 12 for Colorado.

Safety is where Colorado schools excel. Colorado has adopted the most laws to increase safety for public school children in the nation. Children are not missing school for safety-related reasons. Bullying incidents are lower than most states. Children in public schools have lower exposure to illegal drugs in the school.

9. Wisconsin

Wisconsin is best known for the Green Bay Packers and the Cheesehead fans that call Wisconsin home. The state is rich in farmland. Cheese curds are a delicacy that any tourist to Wisconsin must try. Wisconsin folks also love their beer and are home to Miller and Coors Beers.

Wisconsin kids are no slouches in kicking butt academically. The drop out rate ranks 9th lowest in the nation at 11.8%. Reading test scores are 10th highest in the country. The Median SAT score of 613.33 is the highest in the country. Wisconsin schools rank 14 for children not missing school for safety concerns. Finally, Wisconsin ranks 12th lowest for student exposure to illegal drugs.

8. Maryland

Maryland is the sailing capital of the world. Additionally, Maryland produces the most blue and soft crabs in the country. Visitors flock to their beaches every year to swim and sail. Maryland also has incredible public schools.

35.56% of Maryland schools appear in the Top 700 Best Schools list which ranks them number 3 in the country. The Median ACT score by Maryland High Schoolers ranks 5th in the nation. They rank 9 for the number of Blue Ribbon schools.

Maryland’s academics rank higher than their overall safety ranks. They are 12th in the nation for students not attending for safety concerns. Additionally, they are 9th lowest for Bully incidence reports. Dragging them down is their rank of 42 in armed students. They have the most armed students of any of the states in the top 10.

7. Minnesota

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. The world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior, is in Minnesota. The State’s largest Mall, Mall of America, calls Minnesota home. Additionally, Minnesota is known to be the most progressive state in the Upper Midwest.

School testing and SAT scores catapult Minnesota into the top 10. Minnesota ranks 2nd in the nation for math scores, and reading scores are 13th highest in the country. The median SAT score of 610 ranks 4th in the nation. Unfortunately, there are no safety ratings that were available for the bulk of the safety issues. Minnesota has only had two school shootings which rank them 17th in the nation. High test scores in Math, Reading, and the SAT drive them to the 7th overall position in the country.

6. Virginia

Virginia is best known as the birthplace of our nation. America’s first President George Washington called Virginia home. Fallen soldiers and veterans can be laid to rest in Arlington Military Cemetary. Virginia is also home to the tobacco industry. Tobacco is the number one cash crop in Virginia.

Students in Virginia are also incredible test takers. Virginia ranks 4th in Math and 7th in Reading test scores. High School students in Virginia have the 5th highest median ACT score. Additionally, the state ranks 13th in the number of schools that appear in the Top 700 Best Schools.

Safety is also a top performer for the state. Children in Virginia have the 4th lowest exposure to illegal drugs at school in the nation. Additionally, Virginia ranks 4th lowest for bully incidence reports.

5. Vermont

Vermont is famous for maple syrup. The densely packed forests harvest the tasty sap that becomes a breakfast treat. Forests also provide a beautiful autumn show of changing colors. In the winter, tourists hit the slopes and stay at beautiful ski resorts. Vermont also has some fantastic schools.

Quality academics are apparent by the test scores and number of schools that show up in the top 700 best schools. Vermont ranks 9th in best schools, 5th in Median ACT score, 11th in lowest Drop-out rate, 5th highest in reading, and they are number one with the lowest teacher to pupil ratio.

Safety of student also beats the mark in Vermont. Vermont is 1st in threatened and injured High school students, 3rd in students not missing school due to safety reasons, and 3rd lowest in their children’s exposure to illegal drugs.

4. New Hampshire

Vermont’s neighbor to the east is famous for many of the same things. Trees densely populate the land. New Hampshire is famous for maple syrup and autumn splendor. Over 1300 lakes cover the terrain. Perhaps the most famous resident of New Hampshire was poet Robert Frost.

Education is a top priority for this tiny state. New Hampshire boasts some of the best ranks in academics. They are 6th in Blue Ribbon schools, 6th in math, 3rd in reading, 3rd in median ACT score, 9th lowest in high school dropouts, and 7th lowest in the pupil to teacher ratio.

When it comes to safety, New Hampshire is no slouch. They are 6th when it comes to children not attending classes because they have safety concerns. Additionally, New Hampshire kids are 5th lowest in the nation in their exposure to illegal drugs at school.

3. Connecticut

Connecticut is most famous for their Ivy League Powerhouse Yale University. Additionally, the state offers 250 miles of shoreline for residents and tourists to enjoy. Author Mark Twain made his home in Connecticut making him one of their most famous residents.

Connecticut is hosts the most schools ranked on the top 700 best schools list. Their great schools give them a significant edge over the rest. They are 4th in reading, 5th in the pupil to teacher ratio, and 1st in median ACT score.

When it comes to safety, they boast the lowest youth incarceration rate in the country.

2. New Jersey

New Jersey is famous for their shoreline that hosts over 50 resorts for tourists and residents to enjoy in the summer. Ivy League College Princeton calls New Jersey home. Famous former residents include Albert Einstein, Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, and Former President Richard Nixon. Rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen bring their flavor of rock music to the masses

When it comes to academics, New Jersey is near the top in several levels. New Jersey has the 4th most schools on the Top 700 list, 2nd lowest drop out rate, 3rd highest math scores, 2nd highest reading scores, 5th highest Median ACT scores, and 4th lowest pupil to teacher ratio.

New Jersey is tied for first with a few states in having no school shootings. They also rank 2nd in having the fewest armed students. Finally, New Jersey ranks 11th in both students reports of threats or injury and safety concerns that prevent students from attending school.

1. Massachusetts

Massachusetts is famous for their beautiful Cape Cod. Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard are tourist hotspots. Boston clam chowder is a staple that can be found widely across the state. Harvard University calls Massachusetts home. The very first Thanksgiving was celebrated by Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621.

Massachusetts excels in academics. Tied with Connecticut, they host the most public schools on the Top 700 Best Schools List. When it comes to tests, Massachusetts is 1st in math and reading. Massachusetts leads the country in Median ACT scores.

Safety is another area where Massachusetts excels in education. They are 1st in threatened or injured student reports, 1st in students not attending due to safety concerns, 5th lowest in students participating in violence. 5th lowest in Bullying incident reports, and 3rd lowest in armed students. Massachusetts has never had a school shooting.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jim Jones

    > Massachusetts has never had a school shooting.

    I wonder what factors affect this?

  • I don’t know.

  • Fortunate to have moved from TN to #2 NJ. My older kid starts at Vanderbilt University next week!

  • Awesome. When I was working on this piece, I was massively impressed with New Jersey. With Real Housewives of new jersey and jersey shore being all over the tabloids – I knew nothing about the state. Overall the quality of the education they provide is pretty amazing.

  • It is very good depending on your district. For example, my daughter took 4 years of non honors Spanish and tested into high level reading and writing Spanish for college – that is, reading novels and writing papers on them like literature class.