These states have the best public school systems

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  • The Garden State was followed by New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut, respectively.

  • Arizona ranked worst overall based on a combined score of student success, student safety and school quality.

  • Findings were based on 43 different metrics.

New Jersey topped the list of states with the best public school system, according to a new report from Scholaroo.

Findings revealed the Garden State offers the safest environment for its students and has the lowest dropout rate compared with all other states. It also has the fourth highest spend per student.

Researchers based the ranking on 43 different indicators pertaining to student success, safety and school quality. These included high school graduation rate, AP exam scores and pupil/teacher ratio.


New Jersey was followed by New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts, respectively. Last year’s top state, New York, ranked sixth in the latest report.

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In addition, some states that cracked the top 10 last year, like Washington, Wyoming and Rhode Island, were knocked out of those spots, researchers found.

Following New York, Maine, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia rounded out the top 10 spots on this year’s list.

The highest graduation rates in the country were recorded in Montana, while the lowest was seen in California.

However, California topped the list of states with the highest math scores.

When it comes to student success, Massachusetts ranked first, with New Jersey coming in fourth. However, New Jersey ranked first for student safety and fifth for school quality.

Arizona’s public school systems ranked worst overall, while New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Nevada all ranked in the bottom five. In last year’s report, New Mexico ranked 17th overall, but a decrease in annual per-pupil spending on public elementary-secondary system funding bumped it to the bottom of the list, researchers found.

Arizona also had the third highest number of students per teacher and the third lowest spending per pupil.

Additional factors assessed included healthy eating curriculum, average teachers’ salary, bullying and sexual assault rates and expulsion rates.

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