States with the highest support for public schools: No. 1 may surprise you

Five states got an “A” for strong support of public schools and students while 13 earned a B, nine received a C, seven were given a D and 17 failed.

Amid today’s political turbulence, support for public schools means more than just funding. A new ranking of the most supportive states also gives lower marks where vouchers are flourishing and instruction has been restricted, among other factors.

The nonprofit Network for Public Schools rated states on:

  • Privatization laws: Do limits on charter and voucher programs protect taxpayers and students from discrimination and fraud?
  • Homeschooling laws: Does the state ensure that instruction is provided safely and responsibly?
  • Financial support for public schools: Are public schools funding sufficiently and equitably?
  • Freedom to teach and learn: Does state law prevent students from receiving instruction free of political intrusion?

“Freedom to teach and learn … rewards states that reject book bans, and the use of unqualified teachers, intolerance of LGBTQ students, corporal punishment, and other factors that impinge on teachers’ and students’ rights,” writes the report’s author, Carol Burris.

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Five states were given an “A” for strong support of public schools and students while 13 earned a B, nine got a C, seven received a D and 17 failed. Politics played a major role in the grading. In all but two of the states that received an F, for example, Republicans control the trifecta of the state house, senate and governorship.

Political parties are less impactful in the “A” states: two have a Democratic trifecta and two a Republican trifecta, while one (Vermont) has a divided government, the report notes.

Support for public schools: Where your state stands

Here is where each state ranks, along with its grade and overall score:

  1. North Dakota: A (98)
  2. Connecticut: A (93)
  3. Vermont: A (90.5)
  4. Illinois: A  (89)
  5. Nebraska: A (87)
  6. New York: B (85)
  7. Kentucky: B (84)
  8. Massachusetts: B (84)
  9. New Jersey: B (84)
  10. Alaska: B (83)
  11. Kansas: B (82.5)
  12. Wyoming: B (82)
  13. New Mexico: B (82)
  14. Oregon: B (81)
  15. Washington: B (81)
  16. Rhode Island: B (80.5)
  17. South Dakota: B (79.5)
  18. Delaware: B (78)
  19. Pennsylvania: C (76)
  20. Maryland: C (76)
  21. Maine: C (71.5)
  22. Minnesota: C (71)
  23. Hawaii: C (71)
  24. Virginia: C (70)
  25. California: C (70)
  26. Colorado: C (70)
  27. Michigan: C (70)
  28. District of Columbia: D (66.5)
  29. Montana: D (65)
  30. Idaho: D (62)
  31. Iowa: D (62)
  32. Wisconsin: D (60.5)
  33. West Virginia: D (58.5)
  34. Texas: D (58)
  35. Mississippi: F (54.5)
  36. New Hampshire: F (53.5)
  37. Indiana: F (52)
  38. Tennessee: F (50.5)
  39. South Carolina: F (50.5)
  40. Missouri: F (50.5)
  41. Alabama: F (50.5)
  42. Ohio: F (50)
  43. Georgia: F (49)
  44. Louisiana: F (46)
  45. Nevada: F (45.5)
  46. Oklahoma: F (39.5)
  47. Arkansas: F (37.5)
  48. North Carolina: F (32)
  49. Utah: F (29.5)
  50. Arizona: F (22.5)
  51. Florida: F (19)
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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