Press Release

State Education Ranking Shows Vermont #1, South Carolina Last

State Education Ranking Shows Vermont #1, South Carolina Last
ALEC publishes 16th Edition of its Report Card on American Education

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released today its Report Card on American Education: Ranking K-12 State Performance, Progress, and Reform, a comprehensive overview of education achievement levels within the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In its 16th edition, the Report Card ranks academic proficiency and education reform along rigorous standards, holding each state responsible for its transitions—whether positive or negative. It discusses what resources are being wasted, what students are being left behind, and what administrators, parents, and teachers can do make a difference in real education.

Authors Dr. Matthew Ladner, Andrew T. LeFevre, and Dan Lips rank states based on student performance and their corresponding improvements on the fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which are nationally administered exams, with Vermont coming in first and South Carolina last. The authors also graded each state (A to F) based on its 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. Florida is the clear leader, based on the reforms implemented over the past decade.

 Student Performance



 1. Vermont

 51. South Carolina

 2. Massachusetts

 50. West Virginia

 3. Florida

 49. Michigan

 4. New Hampshire

 48. New Mexico

 5. New York

 47. Louisiana

State Grades



  “B+” Florida

 “D” Nebraska

 “B” Colorado

 “D” North Dakota

 “B” Louisiana

“D” Rhode Island

“B” Minnesota

“D” Tennessee

“B” Missouri

“D” Vermont

 “B” New Mexico

“B” South Carolina

“Ensuring students receive a first-rate education isn’t a matter of more money; it’s a matter of policy.  Spending more money on a broken system does not guarantee higher student achievement,” said Colorado State Sen. Nancy Spence, who co-chairs ALEC’s Education Task Force. “When states are facing the largest budget deficits in recent memory, we need to focus on reforms that work.  We can no longer throw more money at a failing system and expect change.”

“The design of the Report Card isn’t merely to show which state has had the best performing students. We wanted to give legislators the tools they need to fix their state’s education system.” said Ladner, one of the book’s authors. “This report highlights the most promising and effective reforms that will give all students access to an outstanding education.”

The report provides extensive information on different reform initiatives. The report is available to download online here. An interactive map is also available for easy viewing.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators.