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Education in the US: WalletHub's best, worst school system rankings and more (21 items)

By Deseret News

Aug. 8, 2014

Personal finance website WalletHub recently released a list ranking school systems in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. — here's a look at the 10 best and 10 worst state school systems from those rankings, along with other educational data for each state.

The data included on this list comes from a variety of sources including the Centers for Disease Control, the National Education Association, census.gov, the U.S. Department of Education and more. Follow the links to delve deeper into various types of school data for each state.

The list begins with the 10th worst school system and counts down to WalletHub's No. 1 worst school system. From there, the list includes information on where Utah falls out of the 50 states, and then counts forward from the 10th best school system to WalletHub's very best school system in the nation.

1 of 21. No. 10 worst school system: South Carolina

State: South Carolina
Overall rank: No. 10 worst school system

South Carolina is No. 37 in having the least safest schools, according to WalletHub.

WalletHub's ranking comes from an examination of 12 key metrics: The presence of public schools in the top 700 Best US Schools, remote learning opportunities from online public schools, dropout rates, the percentage of children who repeat one or more grades, bookworms, pupil-to-teacher ratios, math and reading test scores, reports of threats or injuries on school property, the rate of bullying incidents, the percentage of people older than 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher, and the state's Champlain University High School Financial Literacy Grade.

Here's a look at other South Carolina education data:

Public school enrollment, fall 2011: 721,398

Students enrolled per teacher in public K-12 schools, 2011: 15.2

Total instructional staff in public K-12 schools, 2011-2012: 55,660

Public school spending per pupil, fiscal year 2012: $9,147

Average salaries of public school teachers, 2011-2012: $47,428

Public high school dropout rate, 2011-2012: 2.5

State's presence in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings: 44 schools out of 214

Electronically bullied: 13.8

Bullied on school property: 20.2

Student financial literacy grade: B

High school graduate or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 84 percent

Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 24.6 percent

>> Mallory Sherlock, 9, passes out orange slices to her classmates in Heather Gresham fourth-grade at Pelion Elementary Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, in Pelion, S.C.

2 of 21. No. 9 worst school system: Arizona

State: Arizona
Overall rank: No. 9 worst school system

In WalletHub's rankings, Arizona holds the No. 49 spot in the pupil-to-teacher ratio and the No. 38 spot in having the least safest schools.

WalletHub's ranking comes from an examination of 12 key metrics: The presence of public schools in the top 700 Best US Schools, remote learning opportunities from online public schools, dropout rates, the percentage of children who repeat one or more grades, bookworms, pupil-to-teacher ratios, math and reading test scores, reports of threats or injuries on school property, the rate of bullying incidents, the percentage of people older than 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher, and the state's Champlain University High School Financial Literacy Grade.

Here's a look at other Arizona education data:

Public school enrollment, fall 2011: 1,072,826

Students enrolled per teacher in public K-12 schools, 2011: 18

Total instructional staff in public K-12 schools, 2011-2012: 65,014

Public school spending per pupil, fiscal year 2012: $7,559

Average salaries of public school teachers, 2011-2012: $48,691

Public high school dropout rate, 2011-2012: 5.9

State's presence in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings: 112 schools out of 433

Electronically bullied: Data not available

Bullied on school property: Data not available

Student financial literacy grade: B

High school graduate or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 85.4 percent

Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 26.6 percent

>> Students at EAGLE College Prep Elementary School leave their hand imprints in freshly poured cement as the school puts the finishing touches on a brand new school building Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010, in Phoenix.

3 of 21. No. 8 worst school system: Arkansas

State: Arkansas
Overall rank: No. 8 worst school system

Arkansas ties with Florida in the No. 47 spot for having the highest percentage of children who repeat grades, according to WalletHub.

WalletHub's ranking comes from an examination of 12 key metrics: The presence of public schools in the top 700 Best US Schools, remote learning opportunities from online public schools, dropout rates, the percentage of children who repeat one or more grades, bookworms, pupil-to-teacher ratios, math and reading test scores, reports of threats or injuries on school property, the rate of bullying incidents, the percentage of people older than 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher, and the state's Champlain University High School Financial Literacy Grade.

Here's a look at other Arkansas education data:

Public school enrollment, fall 2011: 468,190

Students enrolled per teacher in public K-12 schools, 2011: 15.1

Total instructional staff in public K-12 schools, 2011-2012: 35,727

Public school spending per pupil, fiscal year 2012: $9,411

Average salaries of public school teachers, 2011-2012: $46,314

Public high school dropout rate, 2011-2012: 3.2

State's presence in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings: 74 schools out of 274

Electronically bullied: 17.6

Bullied on school property: 25

Student financial literacy grade: F

High school graduate or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 83.3 percent

Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 19.8 percent

>> English as a Second Language teacher Rebecca Booth, right, writes on the board as Hispanic students, from left, Alicia Muneton, Roxana Mata, Juana Salazar, Juana Jimenez, and Cristian Anaya look on during a class at the English Academy in Rogers, Ark., Friday, March 11, 2005

4 of 21. No. 7 worst school system: West Virginia

State: West Virginia
Overall rank: No. 7 worst school system

WalletHub's ranking comes from an examination of 12 key metrics: The presence of public schools in the top 700 Best US Schools, remote learning opportunities from online public schools, dropout rates, the percentage of children who repeat one or more grades, bookworms, pupil-to-teacher ratios, math and reading test scores, reports of threats or injuries on school property, the rate of bullying incidents, the percentage of people older than 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher, and the state's Champlain University High School Financial Literacy Grade.

Here's a look at other West Virginia education data:

Public school enrollment, fall 2011: 282,091

Students enrolled per teacher in public K-12 schools, 2011: 14.2

Total instructional staff in public K-12 schools, 2011-2012: 22,694

Public school spending per pupil, fiscal year 2012: $11,445

Average salaries of public school teachers, 2011-2012: $45,320

Public high school dropout rate, 2011-2012: 2.7

State's presence in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings: 29 schools out of 115

Electronically bullied: 17.2

Bullied on school property: 22.1

Student financial literacy grade: B

High school graduate or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 83.4 percent

Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 17.9 percent

>> This Sept. 16, 2009 photo shows Elizabeth Zacks practicing printing her name in the six to nine year old's classroom at the Mountaineer Montessori School in Charleston, W.Va.

5 of 21. No. 6 worst school system: New Mexico

State: New Mexico
Overall rank: No. 6 worst school system

According to WalletHub, New Mexico is in a three-way tie for the No. 43 spot in the highest dropout rate, is No. 47 in math test scores, and ranks as No. 50 in reading test scores. However, the school is No. 2 in having the lowest rate of bullying incidents.

WalletHub's ranking comes from an examination of 12 key metrics: The presence of public schools in the top 700 Best US Schools, remote learning opportunities from online public schools, dropout rates, the percentage of children who repeat one or more grades, bookworms, pupil-to-teacher ratios, math and reading test scores, reports of threats or injuries on school property, the rate of bullying incidents, the percentage of people older than 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher, and the state's Champlain University High School Financial Literacy Grade.

Here's a look at other New Mexico education data:

Public school enrollment, fall 2011: 333,643

Students enrolled per teacher in public K-12 schools, 2011: 15.6

Total instructional staff in public K-12 schools, 2011-2012: 23,832

Public school spending per pupil, fiscal year 2012: $8,899

Average salaries of public school teachers, 2011-2012: $45,622

Public high school dropout rate, 2011-2012: 6.4

State's presence in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings: 44 schools out of 162

Electronically bullied: 13.1

Bullied on school property: 18.2

Student financial literacy grade: C

High school graduate or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 83.4 percent

Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ (2008-2012): 25.6 percent

>> U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, center, answers students' questions during a tour of Emerson Elementary in Albuquerque, N.M., on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013.
1. Orem Parent
Orem, UT,
Aug. 8, 2014

Yeah it would be incredible to see what Utah could do with even average educational funding. Sadly we will probably never find out. A big thank you to all of the teachers in Utah that make our extremely underfunded system still work somehow.

2. Kings Court
Alpine, UT,
Aug. 8, 2014

Good job, teachers. My message to the legislature is to step it up. Our teachers do an amazing job despite having such a lousy group of anti-education politicians who serve on their own super-school board, running the school system for all of Utah.

3. worf
Mcallen, TX,
Aug. 8, 2014

Lack of money, is not the problem with education.

If money was the solution, we would have the best educated people in the world.

Fix the mismanagement, and priorities. It's just that simple.

4. HIGHLANDER56
EAGLE MOUNTAIN, UT,
Aug. 8, 2014

The public school system is a financial loss leader that is guided by self-serving left wing radicals in the NEA and many of the States shown to have the poorest schools. There is also some very sad racial and cultural mores that encourage and glorify ignorance and entitlement in many of the States mentioned. It's not going to change until we eliminate the public school system as it's now structured, starting with the NEA, the Federal Government and teachers unions which are nothing more than legal thugs, and return to basics, like, well jeez, American History.

5. cowshed
Provo, Utah,
Aug. 8, 2014

Sorry, Deseret News, but you promised a list and this is not a list. With a list, I could have seen Utah's standing in about 3 seconds as well as how it compared with all the other 50 states. Instead you force your readers to wade through a slide show. Please give the the list and then provide the slide show for any who really want (and have time) to wade through all of the gory details.