Missouri ranks No. 27 on Cato Institute’s K-12 education analysis


Missouri was rated 27th best for the performance of its K-12 public education system in a study by the Cato Institute that challenges other influential rankings of student achievement.

Published in November, the Cato study contends other state rankings that have shaped public debates over education policy, including reports by U.S. News & World Report and Education Week, study factors that don’t have a direct bearing on student learning. These studies also lump diverse student populations together rather than comparing students in the same ethnic and socioeconomic groups who live in different states, the Cato study says.

The study authors say their rating provides a less biased evaluation of state public education systems than the more traditional rankings.

In terms of average aggregated scores based on academic tests administered by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), Missouri ranked No. 26. The state ranked No. 19 on the U.S. News analysis.

States in New England and the Midwest tended to have lower rankings than what the other studies concluded, the Cato analysis says, while Southern and Southwestern states had higher rankings than in the more traditional studies. Moreover, Southern and Southwestern states scored a further rise in their rankings when efficiency in education spending is taken into account, according to Cato.

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How Do States Measure Up on K-12 Student Learning?

Quality RankStateAggregated RankU.S. News Rank
1Virginia512
2Massachusetts11
3Florida1640
4New Jersey23
5District of Columbia51--
6Texas3533
7Maryland2413
8Georgia3235
9Wyoming634
10Indiana617
11North Dakota1728
12Montana2210
13North Carolina2623
14New Hampshire32
15Colorado1430
16Nebraska915
17Delaware3518
18Washington1026
19Ohio1436
20Connecticut115
21Arizona3848
22South Dakota1922
23Kentucky2924
24Illinois2814
25Kansas2227
26Pennsylvania1211
27Missouri2619
28Vermont84
29South Carolina4443
30Tennessee3729
31New York3031
32Iowa178
33Minnesota47
34Mississippi4647
35California4144
36Michigan3321
37Hawaii3932
38Idaho1925
39Utah1220
40Rhode Island309
41Oklahoma4042
42New Mexico5050
43Alaska4846
44Nevada4449
45Oregon3337
46Wisconsin1916
47Louisiana4945
48Arkansas4338
49Maine246
50West Virginia4241
51Alabama4739
Source: Cato Institute; National Center for Education Statistics; National Assessment of Education Progress

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