Recently, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released their Report Card on American Education, and the statistics about the state of education in America is quite interesting.
The report card ranked Virginia #11, in terms of academic achievement, compared to neighboring states, which fared much lower in this department. Another interesting statistic from this study was the amount of money spent per student in Virginia. The national average is $9,389, and Virginia only spends $9,349 on each student with the average salary per teacher being $2,770 less than the national average of $46,593.
Aside from the expenditures, Virginia students also score higher on standardized testing compared to their peers in neighboring states in reading and mathematics. The quality of education being received in the public schools in Virginia is paramount to the success in these subject areas. The Standards of Learning preparations have definitely proven beneficial for the rising test scores.
However, this study does bring some areas where Virginia needs to improve. One would be focusing on increasing the high school graduation rates. Right now, our high school graduation rate is 74.2%, compared to the national average for 70%. Maryland has a rate of 74.8%. Additionally, we need to ensure school choice here in Virginia. Currently, Virginia does not have a school voucher program, which would allow parents to move their child from a failing school to a higher performing school.
Virginia should be proud of its overall score for public education. There is no doubt that improvements still need to be made, but the fact that we have a higher score than neighboring states, which spend more on their students says a lot about the high standards placed in teaching, etc.
**Cross Posted at Virginia News Platoon