The Florida school system have been in the news a lot lately. Even though much that is said is negative, it turns out, our schools actually grade fairly well.  When you look past the headlines and dig into the data, it seems things aren’t bad at all. In fact, this new report from Wallethub shows that Florida has the 9th best school system in America.

In order to determine the best school systems in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 32 key measures of quality and safety. The data set ranges from pupil-teacher ratio and dropout rate to median standardized-test scores. We’ll break down fully where the numbers come from in a bit, but here’s the snapshot.

Quality & Safety of Schools in Florida (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

  • 17th – Math Test Scores
  • 7th – Reading Test Scores
  • 9th – Dropout Rate
  • 8th – Bullying Incidence Rate
  • 15th – % of Threatened/Injured High School Students
  • 1st – Existence of Digital Learning Plan

All very respectable numbers. Also, as you plan for Back To School, keep in mind that this is the Tax Free Week for school supplies in Florida. Prices have gone up on everything, so save where you can.

Now, unlike other research that focuses primarily on academic outcomes or school finance, WalletHub’s analysis takes a more comprehensive approach. It accounts for performance, funding, safety, class size and instructor credentials. To determine the top-performing school systems in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 32 key metrics.

  • Main Findings

    Source: WalletHub
  • Public School Ranking by State

    Overall Rank  State Total Score  Quality  Safety 
    1 Massachusetts 73.02 1 1
    2 Connecticut 65.60 3 6
    3 New Jersey 65.40 2 19
    4 Wisconsin 61.55 4 17
    5 Virginia 60.28 7 5
    6 New Hampshire 60.13 5 15
    7 Nebraska 59.18 8 7
    8 Maryland 59.00 15 4
    9 Florida 57.48 10 10
    10 North Dakota 57.21 6 24

    Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that state, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category. To see all 51, see the full report here

  • Dropout Rate

    Lowest
    • 1. West Virginia
    • 2. Iowa
    • 3. Kentucky
    • 4. New Jersey
    • 5. Indiana
    Dropout Rate
    Highest
    • 47. Oklahoma
    • T-48. Alaska
    • T-48. Arizona
    • T-48. New Mexico
    • T-48. District of Columbia
  • Math Test Scores

    Highest
    • 1. Massachusetts
    • 2. Wyoming
    • 3. Utah
    • 4. Nebraska
    • 5. Wisconsin
    Math Test Scores
    Lowest
    • 47. Oklahoma
    • 48. Delaware
    • 49. West Virginia
    • 50. District of Columbia
    • 51. New Mexico
  • Reading Test Scores

    Highest
    • 1. Massachusetts
    • 2. New Jersey
    • 3. Utah
    • T-4. Colorado
    • T-4. New Hampshire
    Reading Test Scores
    Lowest
    • 47. Oklahoma
    • 48. Alaska
    • 49. District of Columbia
    • 50. West Virginia
    • 51. New Mexico
  • Median SAT Score

    Highest
    • 1. Wisconsin
    • T-2. Kansas
    • T-2. Utah
    • T-2. Wyoming
    • T-5. Minnesota
    • T-5. Nebraska
    Median SAT Score
    Lowest
    • T-46. Delaware
    • T-46. New Mexico
    • T-46. Rhode Island
    • 49. Oklahoma
    • T-50. District of Columbia
    • T-50. West Virginia
  • Median ACT Score

    Highest
    • 1. District of Columbia
    • T-2. California
    • T-2. Connecticut
    • T-2. Massachusetts
    • 5. New Hampshire
    Median ACT Score
    Lowest
    • T-44. Alabama
    • T-44. Arizona
    • T-44. Louisiana
    • T-44. Mississippi
    • T-44. North Carolina
    • T-44. Oklahoma
    • T-44. Tennessee
    • 51. Nevada
  • Pupil-Teacher Ratio

    Lowest
    • 1. Vermont
    • 2. Maine
    • 3. District of Columbia
    • 4. New Hampshire
    • 5. New Jersey
    Pupil-Teacher Ratio
    Highest
    • 47. Alabama
    • 48. Nevada
    • 49. California
    • 50. Arizona
    • 51. Utah
  • % of Threatened/Injured High School Students

    Lowest
    • 1. Delaware
    • 2. California
    • 3. North Carolina
    • 4. Maine
    • 5. Massachusetts
    % of Threatened/Injured High School Students
    Highest
    • T-40. Idaho
    • T-40. Texas
    • 42. Kansas
    • 43. Alabama
    • 44. Mississippi
    • 45. Louisiana
  • Bullying Incidence Rate

    Lowest
    • 1. District of Columbia
    • 2. Delaware
    • 3. Hawaii
    • 4. Rhode Island
    • 5. Virginia
    Bullying Incidence Rate
    Highest
    • 44. Iowa
    • 45. Wyoming
    • 46. New Hampshire
    • 47. West Virginia
    • 48. Alaska
  • Source: WalletHub
    Note: Spending Ranking refers to “Total Current Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Day Schools per Student” (Highest Amount = Rank 1)
  • Methodology

    In order to determine the best and worst states for public-school education, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, “Quality” and “Safety.”

    We evaluated those dimensions using 32 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest quality of public K–12 education.

    Finally, we determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

  • Quality – Total Points: 80

    • Presence of Public Schools in “Top 700 Best U.S. Schools”: Full Weight (~3.64 Points)
      Note: This metric measures the number of public schools in U.S. News & World Report’s “Top 700 Best U.S. Schools” ranking adjusted by the number of public schools for each state in the U.S. News & World Report sample.
    • Blue Ribbon Schools per Capita: Full Weight (~3.64 Points)
      Note: The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
    • High School Graduation Rate Among Low-Income Students: Full Weight (~3.64 Points)
    • Projected High School Graduation Rate Increase Between 2022-2023 and 2033-2034 School Years: Full Weight (~3.64 Points)
    • Dropout Rate: Double Weight (~7.27 Points)
    • Math Test Scores: Double Weight (~7.27 Points)
      Note: This metric measures the scores earned by fourth and eighth graders.
    • Reading Test Scores: Double Weight (~7.27 Points)
      Note: This metric measures the scores earned by fourth and eighth graders.
    • Share of 2022 High School Class Scoring “3” or Higher on Advanced Placement Exams: Double Weight (~7.27 Points)
    • Median SAT Score: Double Weight (~7.27 Points)
    • Median ACT Score: Double Weight (~7.27 Points)
    • Share of High School Graduates Who Completed ACT and/or SAT: Double Weight (~7.27 Points)
      Note: For this metric, the percentage sum may be larger than 100 percent, considering some students completed both standardized tests. However, no data specifying the number of students who did so are available.
    • Division of SAT Results by Percentile: Full Weight (~3.64 Points)
    • Division of ACT Results by Percentile: Full Weight (~3.64 Points)
    • Pupil-Teacher Ratio: Full Weight (~3.64 Points)
    • Share of Licensed/Certified Public K–12 Teachers: Full Weight (~3.64 Points)

    Safety – Total Points: 20

    • Existence of Digital Learning Plan: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: This binary metric measures whether a state has guidelines in place for comprehensive strategies for schools deploying technology, trainings for teachers, and instructional resources for building remote lesson plans.
    • State Statute on Out of School Access to Instructional Materials: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: This binary metric measures whether a state is ensuring digital content and instructional materials are available outside of the classroom.
    • State Guidance on Accessible Technologies: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: This binary metric measures whether a state has accessibility assurance to acceptable technologies for providing instructional content.
    • Share of Threatened/Injured High School Students: Double Weight (~2.22 Points)
      Note: This metric measures the share of public school students in grades 9 to 12 who reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.
    • Share of High School Students Not Attending School Due to Safety Concerns: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: This metric measures the share of public school students in grades 9 to 12 who reported not attending school because they felt unsafe at or on their way to or from school.
    • Share of Children Whose Parents Agree Their Children Go to Safe Schools: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: Share of children aged 6-17 whose parents definitely agree that their children are safe at school.
    • Share of High School Students with Access to Illegal Drugs: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: This metric measures the share of public school students in grades 9 to 12 who reported that illegal drugs were made available to them on school property.
    • Share of High School Students Participating in Violence: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: This metric measures the share of public school students in grades 9 to 12 who reported involvement in a physical fight at least once during the previous 12 months on school property.
    • Share of Armed High School Students: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: This metric measures the share of public school students in grades 9 to 12 who reported carrying a weapon on school property.
    • Number of School Shootings (2000-present (June, 2022)): Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
    • Presence of Adopted and Enacted Laws Regulating Mandatory School Resource Officers: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
    • Bullying Incidence Rate: Double Weight (~2.22 Points)
    • Disciplinary Incidence Rate: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: Rate measured per 100,000 students.
    • Youth Incarceration Rate: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: Rate measured per 100,000 population aged 20 and younger.
    • School Safety Plan Requirement: Full Weight (~1.11 Points)
      Note: This binary metric measures whether a state requires or not a school safety plan.
    • School Safety Audit Requirement: Half Weight (~0.56 Points)
      Note: This binary metric measures whether a state requires or not a school safety audit.
    • Safety Grade of Roads Around School: Half Weight (~0.56 Points)
      Note: School safety scores and rankings are based on unsafe driving events detected by the Zendrive platform within school areas.

    Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Education, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Center for Education Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Education Commission of the States, U.S. News & World Report, College Board, Ballotpedia, ACT, State Educational Technology Directors Association, Civil Rights Data Collection and Zendrive.

Sign me up for the ESPN Southwest Florida email newsletter!

You love listening to ESPN Southwest Florida, now make sure you’re getting all the extra perks. Sign up today to be an ESPN Southwest Florida Insider!

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.