The Network for Public Education – “Valuing Public Education: A 50 State Report Card”
The Network for Public Education created this report card to inform the public about each state’s commitment to public education.
See what your state is doing to provide opportunity for its public school students. Click the criteria in the table below, to view state results for each. You can also click on any state to see all of its grades.
Introduction to the Report
By Diane Ravitch, Co-founder and President, Network for Public Education
The Network for Public Education believes that public education is a pillar of our democratic society. We believe that public schools can serve all students well, inspire their intrinsic motivation, and prepare them to make responsible choices for themselves and for our society. Public education creates citizens. Its doors are open to all, regardless of their race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or disability status. It teaches young people to live with others who may be different from themselves.
Educating all children is a civic responsibility, not a consumer good. Sustaining a public education system of high quality is a job for the entire community, whether or not they have children in public schools and even if they have no children. An investment in the community’s children is an investment in the future, a duty we all share.
Our report, Valuing Public Education: A 50 State Report Card, evaluates how well each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia support their public schools, based on objective and measurable factors aligned with our values. We promote specific policies that will help make our public schools vibrant and strong—a well-trained, professional teaching force, adequate and equitable funding wisely spent, and policies that give all students a better opportunity for success.
These measures are not always easy to quantify, but in the current environment, it is important to find a way to recognize those states that have invested in their public schools in positive ways.
And it is also important to identify states that have weakened public education—by seeking to privatize their schools or turn them into profit-making ventures, as well as states that have aggressively instituted a regime of high stakes testing that unfairly sorts, ranks and demoralizes students, educators and schools. Unlike other organizations such as The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, whose report cards rank states in relation to their willingness to privatize public education and weaken the status of the teaching profession, we take another path. We give low marks to states that devalue public education, attack teachers and place high stakes outcomes on standardized tests.
It is our hope as advocates for public education that this report will rally parents, educators, and other concerned citizens to strengthen their commitment to public schools. It is time to turn away from policies that are clearly harmful to children. Sustaining our system of free, equitable and democratically-controlled public schools that serve all children, we believe, is the civil rights issue of our time.