Quality Counts Introduces New State Report Card; U.S. Earns C, and Massachusetts Ranks First in Nation
Report Also Examines Early Learning, Releases Early Education Index
Grades and Highlights Reports Issued for All 50 States and D.C.
News Release from Education Week
WASHINGTON—Jan. 8, 2015—In a politically polarized environment that has increasingly extended into education policy, an area once largely free of partisan skirmishing, support for early-childhood education has become a rare point of consensus along the ideological and political spectrum. From President Barack Obama’s push for a $75 billion, 10-year federal preschool commitment to efforts by governors, mayors, and state legislatures for new and expanded programs, momentum continues to build. Yet, consensus around the importance of early education is just the starting point. Complications abound, and disagreements over funding strategies and policy approaches threaten to unravel tenuous alliances that have bridged the partisan divide.
The 2015 edition of Education Week’s Quality Counts report—Preparing to Launch: Early Childhood’s Academic Countdown—explores the complex landscape that defines early-childhood services and programs in this country. The report examines how new academic demands and accountability pressures are reshaping the learning environment for young children and the teachers and administrators serving them. Education Week journalists delve into the policy debates surrounding publicly funded programs, examine cutting-edge research on the early years, and highlight the academic and technological challenges that await the nation’s youngest learners.
To complement the report’s journalism, the Education Week Research Center also conducted an original analysis of participation in early-education programs, poverty-based gaps in enrollment, and trends over time. The center’s Early Education Index grades the states based on federal data across eight critical indicators. The nation as a whole earns a D-plus on the index, while half the states earn grades in the C-minus to C-plus range. The District of Columbia ranks first in the nation with a B-plus.
“No state really aces the exam on early-childhood education,” said Christopher B. Swanson, Vice President of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit organization that publishes Education Week. “In fact, we find very inconsistent performance across early-childhood indicators, with the majority of states ranking in the top 10 for some areas but in the bottom 10 for others. This speaks to the complexity of early education’s patchwork of laws, institutions, and programs spanning the public and private sectors.”
PDF: Hawaii Report Card
ONLINE EXCLUSIVES AVAILABLE AT EDWEEK.ORG
- The full Quality Counts 2015 report and interactive state report cards: www.edweek.org/go/qc15 .
- State Highlights Reports for the 50 states and the District of Columbia featuring detailed, state specific data, our comprehensive “State of the States” grades for educational performance, and the special Early Education Index: www.edweek.org/go/qc15shr.
- Interactive map and report card for delving into Quality Counts’ signature grading rubric: www.edweek.org/go/qc15.