How North Carolina ranks in public education

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Latest rankings from Education Week Research Center show North Carolina ranks 40th in the country when it comes to public education.

Results were shared in the Quality Counts 2018 report. The center has been conducting this research for more than 20 years.

This time states were judged on chance for a student's success, school finance, and K12 achievement.

Researchers say there is a reason these rankings matter.

"It's a vital tool in building better schools for kids," Education Week Research Center Assistant Director Sterling Lloyd said. "It can help parents to see how North Carolina compares to its neighbors and to other states throughout the country."

Lloyd says there was a bright spot for North Carolina.

The state did get a C+ for people's chance for success. It appears when it comes to pre-kindergarten enrollment and adults with post-secondary degrees, North Carolina is making a difference. Lloyd believes North Carolina should capitalize on that.

It is a different story when you talk about how much the state spends on each student and K12 test scores.  When it comes to school finance, North Carolina got a D.

"Only about 3 percent of the North Carolina students are in districts spending at or above the national average, so that is a concern that policy makers and parents may look to address,"  Lloyd said.

Lloyd says not having enough money to educate students could be a problem.

"It suggests that adequate resources may not be available. There's not a precise link between school funding and student achievement but certainly if there's not enough funding to go around makes things tough for teachers and students."

When it comes to academic achievement the state gets a D+.

"North Carolina results are about the same as last year," Lloyd said. "It really hasn't changed a whole lot."

The numbers used in the report are the latest numbers provided by the federal government. They are from the years 2015-2016.  Many hope with some changes the state has done concerning education will reflect the next time the rankings are released.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson weighs in on this latest report.  He says there are many teachers who are getting the job done, but says he will continue to push for urgency. He also says he will keep the report in perspective.

"I'll always put much more stock in my conversations with educators, parents and students than some national magazine's idea of quality," State Superintendent Mark Johnson said. "That being said, I have never shied away from pointing out stubborn concerns caused by the status quo while we work to implement innovations that will transform incremental progress into real success for all educators and students."

The state has been declining when it comes to education.

About seven years ago North Carolina ranked 19th. Last year the state ranked 39th.  Education Week says a reason for that is standards were changed.

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