Press Release

National Education Report Card Ranks Massachusetts First, West Virginia Last


Kaitlyn Buss
American Legislative Exchange Council

National Education Report Card Ranks Massachusetts First, West Virginia Last
American Legislative Exchange Council Releases 17th Report Card on American Education 

Washington, DC- January 24, 2012­- Today, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released its 17th Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform. The comprehensive report grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to data from national test scores, state education policy, charter school regulation, and other benchmarks of quality. Additionally, the report discusses what resources are being wasted, what students are being left behind, and what administrators, parents, and teachers can do to make a difference in education. This year, Massachusetts beat out all other states while West Virginia placed last.

Authors Dr. Matthew Ladner and Dan Lips rank states based on two factors. The first is student performance and their progress on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exams.

Student Performance (NAEP Scores)

Top Five

1. Massachusetts
2. Vermont
3. New Jersey
4. Colorado
5. Pennsylvania

Bottom Five

47. Missouri
48. Mississippi
49. Louisiana
50. South Carolina
51. West Virginia

The second metric ranks states from A to F based on education reform policies including academic standards, school choice programs, charter schools, online learning, and that state’s ability to hire good teachers and fire bad ones. In this category, Missouri is the clear leader.

Education Reform Policy Grades

Highest Scoring Reform States 

“A-“ Missouri
“B” Colorado
“B” Indiana
“B” Ohio
“B” District of Columbia
“B” Georgia
“B” California
“B” New Mexico
“B” Arizona
“B” Utah
“B” Oklahoma

Lowest Scoring Reform States
“D+” Alabama
“D+” Nebraska
“D+” North Dakota
“D+” Vermont
“D+” West Virginia

“ALEC’s Report Card on American Education is one of the premier publications on state education policy,” said ALEC National Chairman Dave Frizzell (R-IN). “Everyone interested in improving K-12 education in America should study this resource carefully. I’m proud to report Indiana made significant strides this past year, but, like every other state, we have far to go to become competitive globally. Looking at the innovative solutions the Report Card has detailed, we aim to make education in America the envy of the world.”

ALEC’s report card uses empirical data to establish the case for more school choice, empowering parents to have a greater impact on their children’s education, and holding teachers accountable. To view the Report Card on American Education and a full list of ALEC’s reports, visit or

Members of the media interested in covering the Report Card on American Education should contact Kaitlyn Buss at


 ALEC is a non-profit, nonpartisan association of over 2,000 state legislators that works to promote principles of free markets, limited government and federalism throughout the states.