N.H. education policies earn a C grade

A national education policy and research group has given New Hampshire a grade of C for its educational performance and supporting measures. In its “2011 Quality Counts” report, Editorial Projects in Education, based in Bethesda, Md., rated Granite State at 76.3 percent – 28th place in the country — for its overall educational achievements and policies. All 50 states and Washington, D.C., were graded on such measures as early childhood education availability, assessments, local economy, state spending on education and teachers’ accountability for quality education. New Hampshire scored well when it came to “chance for success” measures, such as the number of children living above the poverty line, the percent of 4th-graders in public schools who score well in reading assessments, and the percent of adults who have earned a postsecondary degree, earning an overall A- in the category. The Granite State also earned an A when it came to economy and workforce issues, including state-defined expectations for what high school students need to know to be prepared for the workplace and the availability of alternate education pathways such as tech schools. The state earned a C or lower in most of the other measures. The researchers assigned New Hampshire an F in what it called “college readiness” policies, which included measures on requiring “all students to take courses designed for students bound for four-year colleges or universities in order to receive a standard high school diploma” and “aligning high school assessments” with the academic expectations of colleges, among others. New Hampshire also received a failing grade for incentives and allocations for teachers, which included such measures as median public school teacher salaries expressed as a percentage of annual salaries in comparable occupations, pension portability and having pay rates based on performance. The nation as a whole earned a C grade, with Maryland ranking the highest in the country, with 87.6 percent, or B+. Close behind were New York (84.7 percent, B) and Massachusetts (82.6 percent, B). Regionally, Vermont ranked 12th in the nation with a 79.7 percent, or B-, followed by Connecticut, which earned 78.3 percent, or C+, and Maine, at 76.6 percent, or C+. Rhode Island had New England’s lowest score at 75.7 percent, or C. Nebraska had the nation’s poorest score, earning 68.6 percent, or a D+. Results of the “2011 Quality Counts” can be found in the latest issue of Editorial Projects in Education’s Education Week journal or online at edweek.org. – CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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