Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform; 17th Edition
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Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform; 17th Edition

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The 17th edition of the Report Card on American Education contains a comprehensive overview of educational achievement levels (performance and gains for low-income students) for the 50 states and the ...

The 17th edition of the Report Card on American Education contains a comprehensive overview of educational achievement levels (performance and gains for low-income students) for the 50 states and the District of Columbia (see full report for complete methodology). The Report Card details what education policies states currently have in place and provides a roadmap for legislators to follow to bring about educational excellence in their state.



Focusing on the reforms recently enacted in Indiana, and with a foreword by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, this Report Card on American Education examines the experiences other states can learn from the struggles and triumphs in Indiana.



For more information, please visit www.alec.org.

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Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform; 17th Edition Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform; 17th Edition Document Transcript

  • Report Card onAmerican EducationRanking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and ReformDr. Matthew LadnerDan Lips
  • Report Card on American Education:Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform© 2012 American Legislative Exchange CouncilAll rights reserved. Except as permitted under the UnitedStates Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication maybe reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means,or stored in a database or retrieval system without the priorpermission of the publisher.Published byAmerican Legislative Exchange Council1101 Vermont Ave., NW, 11th FloorWashington, D.C. 20005Phone: (202) 466-3800Fax: (202) 466-3801www.alec.orgFor more information, contactthe ALEC Public Affairs office.Dr. Matthew Ladner and Dan LipsDavid J. Myslinski, Director, Education Task ForceISBN: 978-0-9822315-9-3Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform has been published by the AmericanLegislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as part of its mission to discuss, develop, and disseminate public policies that expandfree markets, promote economic growth, limit the size of government, and preserve individual liberty. ALEC is the nation’slargest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators, with 2,000 members across the nation. ALECis governed by a Board of Directors of state legislators, which is advised by a Private Enterprise Board representing majorcorporate and foundation sponsors.ALEC is classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, public policy organization. Individuals, philanthropicfoundations, corporations, companies, or associations are eligible to support ALEC’s work through tax-deductible gifts.
  • vvivii134699101213131417192021222427293032333435353638Table of ContentsAbout the Authors Acknowledgements Foreword: Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana Chapter 1 : The End of the Beginning in the Battle for K–12 ReformRace to the Top: A Sign of the TimesIndiana Seizes the Hammer, Enacts Comprehensive ReformThe Roaring Comeback of Parental ChoiceNew Approaches: Education Savings Accounts and District-Led VouchersSea Change in Teacher Tenure and Collective BargainingBlaine AmendmentsGrading School Performance A–FCharter School Movement Maintains MomentumThe Way of the Future: Digital LearningThe Next StepsChapter 2: A Thought Experiment on State Academic AchievementState Proficiency Achievement Based on IncomeStudents with DisabilitiesRanking States by the General-Education Low-Income StudentFrom Thought Experiment to State Policy“None of the Above” Is Not an OptionChapter 3: The Desperate Need for Academic Gains in AmericaAcademic Gains: National ResultsNAEP Inclusion Standards and Measuring State-Level Academic GainsState Rankings of Low-Income Student GainsBlack Student Academic GainsWhite Student Academic GainsHispanic Student Academic GainsDisabled Student Academic GainsMaximizing Comparability: Gains for General-Education Low-Income StudentsNot Because It is Easy, But Because It is Hard
  • Chapter 4: 2011 ALEC Report Card: Education Policy GradingPolicy CategoriesEducation Policy Grading Changes from Last YearIs the Investment in State Per-Student Public Education Spending Paying Off?Grading States on the Performance of General-Education Low-Income StudentsState SNAPSHOTSChapter 5: Raising Academic Quality for All Students byCustomizing Education with Digital LearningAmerican Education: Finally Going “Back to the Future”Schools of the Future: Changing Education for the Better TodayCommon Forms of Digital LearningDigital Learning: An Emerging Education Reform Success StoryDigital Learning and Narrowing Achievement GapsFAQ about Digital LearningDigital Learning and Eliminating Children’s Potential GapsHomework for Policymakers: Accelerating Digital Learning10 Elements of High-Quality Digital LearningExpanding Access to Digital Learning: Growing Supply, Creating DemandWhy Online Learning is a Political WinnerConclusion: Once More to the Breach, Dear FriendsAppendicesAppendix A: Methodology for Ranking the StatesAppendix B: Methodology for Grading the StatesAppendix C: Index of Figures and TablesAppendix D: Model Legislation for K–12 ReformAppendix E: Education Reform Organizations414243444549101102103104104106107108109109109111111114114118120121125
  • www.alec.org vDR. MATTHEW LADNERDr. Matthew Ladner is Senior Advisor for Policy and Research at the Foundation for Excellence in Educa-tion. Prior to this, Dr. Ladner was the Vice President of Research for the Goldwater Institute. He has alsoserved Director of State Projects at the Alliance for School Choice, where he provided support and re-sources for state-based school choice efforts. Dr. Ladner has written numerous studies on school choice,charter schools and special education reform. Dr. Ladner has provided testimony to Congress, a numberof state legislatures and the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Ladner is a graduate of the Uni-versity of Texas at Austin and received both a Masters and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Universi-ty of Houston. Ladner is a Senior Fellow with the Foundation for Educational Choice and the GoldwaterInstitute. Dr. Ladner lives in Phoenix with his wife Anne and three children Benjamin, Jacob, and Abigail.DAN LIPSDan Lips is a senior fellow with the Goldwater Institute. He was formerly a senior policy analyst at theHeritage Foundation specializing in education policy. His views and research have appeared in prominentmedia outlets including The Washington Post and National Review Online as well as in academic jour-nals like the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy and Education Next. Mr. Lips has testified be-fore Congress and state legislative committees and appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. He cur-rently serves as the Chairman of the D.C. Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.Mr. Lips earned his bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University and master’s degree innational security affairs from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.About the Authors
  • vi Report Card on American EducationWe wish to thank the following for making this Report Card on American Education possible:First, we thank the Alleghany Foundation and the Gleason Family Foundation for their generoussupport for the creation and promotion of this book.The authors would like to specifically thank Education Task Force Director David Myslinski for his tire-less work and guidance directing this project.We also thank Amy Kjose, Caroline Forsythe, Chaz Cirame, Kaitlyn Buss, Michael Bowman, MonicaMastracco, Ron Scheberle, Stephanie Linn, Vicky Jennings, and the professional staff of ALEC for theirassistance in all aspects of this publication.Acknowledgements
  • www.alec.org viiUsually, contributing the foreword toALEC’s Report Card on American Educationprovides a welcome opportunity to remindreaders of our crucial responsibility to guaranteeAmerica’s youngest citizens access to a high qual-ity education of their choice.Instead, I am happy to report that this yearhere in Indiana, after years of only partial success,we are well on our way to fulfilling that promise.During the 2011 session, our legislature delivereda series of changes to K–12 education that we be-lieve will result in a profound difference in thelives of Hoosier children while greatly improvingthe prospects of our state.This breakthrough came in the form of fourpieces of landmark legislation emphasizing teach-er quality, administrative flexibility, school ac-countability, and parent and student choice.Prior to this session, 99 percent of Indiana’steachers were annually rated “Effective.” If thatrating were actually true, 99 percent—not justone-third—of our students would be passing na-tional tests. From this point on, because of thediligence and fortitude of our reform-minded leg-islators, teachers will be promoted and retainedbased on performance rather than seniority.Teacher evaluations, which will be locally for-mulated, will rely on student improvement. Suc-cessful educators will be rewarded, while thosewhose students lag behind will be asked to findwork elsewhere. Additionally, schools will nowbe graded on an A–F scale and they, too, will beheld accountable for student advancement; andthe state will not hesitate to intervene in thoseschools that fail repeatedly.While collective bargaining has its place,teacher contracts are too often filled with provi-sions that hinder learning. Some contracts, forexample, stipulate that instructors can spend onlya limited amount of hours with their students,while others mandate they can only be observedin the classroom with prior notice from princi-pals. Collective bargaining will now be limited towages and benefits and will no longer stand inthe way of effective school leadership or studentprogress.Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we willnow honor parents. We will trust them and re-spect them enough to decide when, where, andhow their children can receive the best education,and therefore the best chance in life. To accom-plish this, we are ending all restrictions on char-ter school creation, and increasing non-govern-mental school options through what is now thenation’s largest voucher program. Beginning thisyear, no Hoosier family will be denied the oppor-tunity to choose an appropriate school, includinghaving the ability to direct government dollars to-ward their school’s tuition.Taken together, these changes place Indianain the vanguard of education choice. But otherstates can and should follow suit. These are notpartisan reforms: Our ultimate goals are sharedby President Obama and find favor across a broadideological and political spectrum. This, howev-er, does not mean that they will be easy to accom-plish and implement. As always, advocates forchange in education should prepare to be misrep-resented, maligned, or worse. But Indiana’s his-toric breakthrough proves that change is with-in reach, if the debate is focused on the children.Each reform must be tested against the obvious—yet often overlooked—criteria of what is best forthe child and most likely to lead to his or herprogress, and ultimately, success.We all have a shared reverence for our teachersForewordby Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana
  • viii Report Card on American EducationFOREWORDand a commitment to improving our schools, bothpublic and private. In the interest of our childrenand their future, each and every one of our in-stitutions of learning should be great, providingall of our students the opportunity to succeed. Iam hopeful in the long-run, our accomplishmentsin Indiana will demonstrate these objectives canbe achieved, and in the near-term, they can pro-vide some measure of inspiration to reform-mind-ed legislators across the country.Best of Luck,Mitch Daniels
  • The End of the Beginningin the Battle for K–12 ReformCHAPTER1
  • 2 Report Card on American EducationIn World War II, Great Britain suffered a se-ries of crushing defeats. From the conquestof her continental allies and an ignomin-ious evacuation at Dunkirk to the loss of Singa-pore in the east, Great Britain was under attack.Germany stood as a colossus with its boot on thethroat of Europe. Under the assumption there wasno way to win, “realistic” members of the Brit-ish aristocracy advised reaching an accommoda-tion with Germany. Winston Churchill refused tosurrender while the Royal Air Force successfullyfought off the German Luftwaffe over the skies ofEngland, deterring a German invasion.Britain’s enemies overreached, invading theSoviet Union and attacking the American fleet atPearl Harbor. Finally, British forces defeated theGerman army in Egypt, securing their hold overthe strategically vital Suez Canal. Prime MinisterChurchill recognized the turning point:Now this is not the end. It is not even the be-ginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the endof the beginning. Henceforth Hitler’s Naziswill meet equally well armed and perhaps bet-ter armed troops. Hence forth they will haveto face in many theatres of war that superi-ority in the air which they have so often usedwithout mercy against others, of which theyboasted all round the world, and which theyintended to use as an instrument for convinc-ing all other peoples that all resistance to themwas hopeless.We mean to hold our own.1In 2011, America’s struggle for education re-form may have also reached a turning point—anend of the beginning.Terry Moe and John Chubb evocatively de-scribed the history of American education re-form since the publication of the “A Nation atRisk” report as a game of “whack a mole.” Moe andChubb’s analogy has been quite apt: The teachers’unions rank among the nation’s most powerfulspecial interest groups, if they do not in fact rep-resent the most powerful special interest group.The budgets of the two large teacher unionsrange into the hundreds of millions of millionsof dollars. The unions spend vast amounts onpolitics, both directly and indirectly. Organizedin every state legislative district in the country,they put both paid and volunteer “boots on theground” during election season. The unions hirelegions of lobbyists around the nation, enlist ac-ademics to defend their positions, and have veryclear goals.For decades, it has not proven overly difficultfor the education unions to defeat those with differ-ent policy preferences. Education reformers comefrom a variety of groups with varying interestsand differing theories of how to improve schools.Coalitions of such groups have been sporadicand have always been completely financially out-gunned by the unions, even under the best of cir-cumstances. The teacher unions’ hammer wielderhasn’t whacked every mole every time, but they didwhack most of the moles most of the time.2In 2011, however, for the first time, the unionssuffered major policy defeats in a large number ofstates across a wide array of policy issues.The previous edition of the Report Card onAmerican Education carefully ranked states’ aca-demic performance on the National Assessmentof Educational Progress (NAEP) by comparing theacademic proficiency and gains for low-incomestudents in the general education program. InThe End of the Beginningin the Battle for K–12 Reform
  • www.alec.org 3The End of the Beginning in the Battle for K–12 Reformthat edition, we concluded Florida’s comprehen-sive approach to education reform over the pastdecade had achieved the elusive goal long soughtby reforms: results at scale. This large Southernstate with a majority-minority student popula-tion spends below the national average per stu-dent while leading the nation in academic gains.We concluded Florida’s then-Governor JebBush had pulled the hammer away from the teach-ers unions by enacting a suite of reforms whichthe unions aggressively opposed, and which end-ed their dominance over K–12 education policy.At the time of this writing, the smoke is onlystarting to clear from the legislative sessions of2011, but his much is clear: Reformers scoredunprecedented victories in the area of tenure re-form, merit pay, public school transparency, char-ter schools, and school vouchers.In 2011, at least one state in our estimationmay have exceeded the Florida legislative sessionof 1999 in terms of scope, and many others madevery bold reforms as well. Indiana, like Florida,wrested the hammer from the hands of the guard-ians of the K–12 status-quo. Reform leaders inseveral other states seem poised to pull the ham-mer away as well.In the following pages, we detail the remark-able progress of education reformers through anexamination of a few legislative sessions in detail,and then by policy area across the nation. Remem-ber, however, that the unprecedented victories of2010–2011 represent “the end of the beginning.”Far more remains to be done than has been done.As we discuss in Chapter 2, the nation con-tinues to do a terrible job in educating disadvan-taged students to grade-level proficiency. In fact,as you will see, many advantaged students failto achieve above proficiency, as well. In Chap-ter 3, we review the NAEP—the Nation’s ReportCard—for all 50 states and the District of Colum-bia to document academic gains or losses by juris-diction. The bad news: Most states have achievedonly miniscule academic progress in recent years.Chapter 4 presents a state-by-state report card,and the book concludes in Chapter 5 with a dis-cussion on the vast potential of online and blend-ed learning models to update our still largely 19thCentury factory model of schooling.In a record number of states around the na-tion, K–12 reform bills became laws. Reformsadvanced both in red and blue states and some-times on a bipartisan basis. In many states, thedebate has shifted from whether education re-form was necessary to deciding just how far andhow fast reforms should proceed. While somestates engaged in reform at a breakneck pace, oth-er states shocked education observers by enactingreforms at all.Many battles and setbacks lie ahead. The op-ponents of reform have lost their supposed mor-al high ground and aura of invincibility, but noneof their raw political power, which remains enor-mous. Nevertheless, we believe future chroniclesof K–12 reform will identify 2011 as a turningpoint: the period when the reform-minded Da-vids began to defeat the status-quo Goliaths.Race to the Top: A Sign of the TimesWe could write at some length on whether theObama administration’s signature education ini-tiative, the “Race to the Top” grant competition forstates, represented good or bad policy. Some ques-tioned the scoring of state grant applications (nocontinental state west of the Mississippi receiveda grant, for instance). The scoring mechanism re-warding states additional points for heavy levelsof “buy in” from teachers’ unions received a greatdeal of scorn, as well. Many criticized the fact thatthe federal government leveraged the competitionto get states to agree to adopt the “Common Core”academic standards. Others noted that the ad-ministration passed a one hundred billion dollareducation bailout in the 2009 stimulus package,only four billion dollars of which went to promotereal reform.3The rest of the money bought noth-ing in the way of reform, and in fact likely pro-longed some states’ resistance to needed changes.We leave all of that to others, and we sympa-thize with most of it. But all of this misses whatwe regard as the truly historic character of theRace to the Top competition: the Obama admin-istration’s embrace of charter schools and teach-er evaluations, including the use of student test-score gains, marked a sweeping, symbolic victoryfor reforms across the country. Specifically, Raceto the Top created an incentive for states to elim-inate caps on the number of charter schools; tobuild data systems that measure student growth;and to develop strategies to recruit, develop, re-ward, and retain effective teachers and principals.
  • 4 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER ONEIn essence, the most liberal administrationsince Woodrow Wilson explicitly endorsed great-er parental choice in education and merit pay forteachers and principals. The Obama administra-tion’s endorsement of charter schools and meritpay provided political and intellectual protectionfor reformers of both parties for years to come.Some of the reforms that followed came asa direct result of states seeking Race to the Topfunding. The competition served as a clear sig-nal of the emerging reform consensus, revealingthe extent of intellectual isolation of the guard-ians of the status quo. Race to the Top provedto be a driver of the teacher-tenure reforms inmany states.Indiana Seizes the Hammer,Enacts Comprehensive ReformWith speculation concerning a possible run forthe presidency swirling, Indiana Gov. Mitch Dan-iels gave a speech at the American Enterprise In-stitute on May 4, 2011. Daniels, having just com-pleted a hard-fought legislative session in Indiana,went to Washington to discuss something dearerto him than personal ambition; a few weeks later,Gov. Daniels announced that he would not seekthe presidency. However, on that day at AEI, withthe eyes of the political world focused on him,Gov. Daniels chose as his topic education reformin general, and the truly historic changes in Indi-ana K–12 policy in particular.In many states, the dam holding back funda-mental changes to education policy sprung leaksin 2011, as we will discuss below. Indiana’s dambroke in a flood of reform. Gov. Daniels, IndianaSuperintendent of Public Instruction Tony Ben-nett, and a group of reform minded Indiana legis-lators had been active in the years prior to 2011.Together, they passed legislation to radically im-prove school transparency by grading schools Athrough F based upon student test scores andgains. Indiana had also taken action to requirestudents to earn their advancement by demon-strating basic literacy skills. Daniels, Bennett, andthe state legislators took the first steps towards in-creasing parental choice with the creation of thestate’s first private-school tax credit.All of this served as a prelude to the 2011session.Gov. Daniels detailed the reforms to the Amer-ican Enterprise Institute audience, describinghow Indiana lawmakers limited collective bar-gaining to wages and benefits. Indiana law endedthe illogical practice of LIFO (Last In, First Out)in layoffs, mandating a determination of merit—based in part on student test-score gains—rath-er than simply seniority be used as the basis formaking layoffs. Indiana’s reformers establishedan early graduation scholarship program, allow-ing students who have sufficient credits to gradu-ate early and to carry over a portion of their K–12funding to help pay higher education expenses.Indiana law now allows the Indiana Depart-ment of Education to consider hiring private com-panies for schools with a five-year or longer re-cord of academic failure. Indiana legislators vastlyimproved the state’s charter-school law to in-clude private nonprofit universities as authorizersand created a “parent trigger” for parents to con-vert poorly performing district schools into char-ter schools. In addition, Indiana will soon havea commission to hold charter-school authorizersaccountable. Lawmakers also created a process bywhich charter schools can purchase unused dis-trict school buildings for $1. Given that the tax-payers paid for these buildings, a process to re-turn them into public use is appropriate.Indiana’s reformers, recognizing digital learn-ing as a key element for the future of education(see Chapter 5), eliminated the cap on the numberof students who can attend virtual schools andincreased funding for virtual education. Indianalawmakers created a $1,000 tax deduction for pri-vate-school expenses, and expanded the schol-arship tax-credit program that provides scholar-ships to low-income students.Indiana’s reformers also created the nation’smost expansive school-voucher program. Knownas the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program, thisprogram will allow public school students whosefamily income falls at or below 150 percent ofthe level making a student eligible for a free orreduced-price lunch eligible to receive a vouch-er worth up to $4,500. The Indiana Choice Schol-arship Program includes a first year cap of 7,500students and a second year cap of 15,000 stu-dents, but starting in the third year of the pro-gram, there will be no limit to total student
  • www.alec.org 5The End of the Beginning in the Battle for K–12 Reformparticipation starting—meaning that Indiana’svoucher program will be the largest in the nation.Indiana’s school districts will also feel thepressure of competition much more quicklythan before. Previous statute had compensateddistricts with declining enrollments by funding“ghost students” for up to three years after theyhad transferred out of that district. Going for-ward, the state will fund schools based upon thecurrent student count.Additional reforms are causing districts tochange the way they do business as well. Onesuch example is the state accountability testingprocess. Previously, testing took place in the fall,but as Gov. Daniels noted, testing children in thefall—after the summer break and before theircurrent teacher has had a chance to make an im-pact—seemed quite baffling. That is, of course,unless the objective was to avoid ever reward-ing teachers or holding them accountable for stu-dent learning or the lack thereof—in which caseit makes perfect sense. Thanks to state legisla-tors, Indiana students will now take their state ac-countability exams in the spring instead.From a political stand-point, one of Indian’smost interesting education reforms was to moveschool district elections to the fall. Gov. Danielsexplained they took this action to increase voterturnout. In Indiana, spring elections are typical-ly primaries, making voter turnout low and allowschool-board elections to be easily dominated byspecial-interest groups. Voter turnout is typicallybetter in the fall for general elections.4In his speech at AEI, Gov. Daniels divided In-diana’s reforms into three silos: teacher quality,administrative freedom, and parental choice. Ad-dressing any one of those silos would have con-stituted radical reform, but the Indiana lawmak-ers addressed all three simultaneously in 2011.Gov. Daniels also noted the great importance ofproviding Indiana schools the flexibility to com-pete by eliminating collective bargaining outsideof wage and benefits:I’ve got several pages of examples of things—real world provisions—that are in Indianacontracts. They range from things as triv-ial as: what the humidity in the school shallbe or what color the teachers’ lounge shall bepainted—I am not making this up—to moretroublesome things like the principal can onlyhold staff meetings once a month or can onlyhold them on Mondays, to still more trouble-some things like no teacher will be required tospend more than X hours with students, on toperhaps the most, I think, concerning of all tothe bottom of this slide: In many of our schools,no teacher can be observed in the classroomby the principal without a pre-conference andtwo days’, three days’, five days’ notice. That’sall over.5Indiana’s reformers modernized the teach-ing profession, fixed the testing system, expand-ed parental choice greatly, attempted to increasedemocratic participation, embraced technolo-gy-based learning, and provided school districtswith the flexibility to compete through collec-tive-bargaining reform. Indiana reformers re-moved counterproductive quirks, such as fund-ing “ghost students” and testing students in thefall. In the previous legislative session, Indi-ana lawmakers embraced transparency by grad-ing schools A through F and took action to cur-tail social promotion—the process of advancingkids to higher grades based solely on age. Mostencouraging of all, Gov. Daniels described eachof these reforms potentially contributing to thesuccess of the other reforms in a symphonicfashion, saying, “So this package of four bills, webelieve, we see as a mutually reinforcing whole.If one or more had failed we’d have obviouslybeen happy about the ones that made it, but wethink it was extremely important that each ele-ment of this pass.”6As an example of this mutual reinforcement,Gov. Daniels noted that the collective-bargain-ing reform legislation protects the teacher-quali-ty provisions from attacks through a district con-tract. The collective-bargaining reform also freespublic school administrators and staff to better re-spond to competition likely to emerge as a resultof expanded charter options and school vouchers.Gov. Daniels’ description of the reforms as“mutually reinforcing” reveals a deep understand-ing of the reform process. If robust, transparencycombined with parental choice can create a sys-tem of accountability whereby parents can votewith their feet. Fuzzy labels describing schoolperformance leave parents without a sense of
  • 6 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER ONEscale, but everyone instantly understands A, B, C,D, and F grades.Schools described as “meets expectations” or“performing” can and will more accurately be de-scribed as “D” and “F” schools under the school-grading system pioneered in Florida and adoptedin Indiana. The system carefully balances overallachievement with student-learning gains, makingit entirely possible to move up grades. The sys-tem weights the learning gains of the bottom-per-forming students from the previous year especial-ly heavily.Now add to this transparency Indiana’s robustparental choice policies: charter schools, schoolvouchers, and tuition tax credits. With A–F schoolgrading, the state will be providing truth in ad-vertising to parents. Simultaneously, the state willbe expanding school options. These policies willexpand slowly but steadily. The voucher program,for instance, contains a statewide cap of 7,500 stu-dents in the first year, 15,000 in the second year,and then will be driven only by parental demand.Indiana’s liberalized charter school laws willnot lead to a new school popping up on everycorner overnight, either. It takes time for quali-ty charter-school teams to organize, find facilityspace, and comply with state oversight require-ments. These things take time, but every schooldistrict administrator in Indiana knows that theyare on the way. The unmistakable message re-sounds: Shape up as quickly as possible; competi-tion is on the way.Gov. Daniels took pains to note that underthe private-choice plans, the school districts stillget the first shot at students. Only students trans-ferring from an Indiana public school can applyfor a school voucher. Unlike some of the claimsof reform opponents, the clear aim of the Indi-ana strategy is to improve the performance of allschools, not to destroy them.In essence, the state has made it much moredifficult to “warehouse” children in Indiana. Cru-cially, legislators have enlisted the aid of parentsin creating a bottom-up system of accountability(to parents) to reinforce the top-down system ofaccountability (of school officials to state officials).Indiana’s academic achievement, as measureby the NAEP, has flat-lined for almost two de-cades, but Indiana reformers have yelled “Clear!”and administered shock treatment to the patient.Of course, passing laws is only the beginning—myriad difficult battles lie ahead of implement-ing these new laws. Indiana reformers must antic-ipate both active and passive resistance.Despite the inevitability of rear-guard resis-tance and difficulties, we predict the academ-ic achievement of Indiana’s students will steadilyimprove, with traditionally disadvantaged stu-dents realizing the largest gains.The strategy is going to take time, but we be-lieve it is going to work. ALEC recently adopteda model omnibus bill based upon the Indiana re-forms in 2011. Reformers should study that mod-el bill carefully.The Roaring Comeback of Parental ChoiceWriting in the April 2008 edition of WashingtonMonthly, Greg Anrig, vice president of the liberalCentury Foundation, proclaimed the death of theschool-choice movement. Anrig strung togetherthe teachers’ unions’ reading of the research lit-erature on parental choice with quotes from frus-trated choice supporters and sunshine patriots todeclare school vouchers to be “an idea whose timehas gone.” Amidst his clever but overreaching at-tempt to nail shut the school-choice coffin, Anrigdid throw voucher supporters this compliment:The conservative infatuation with vouch-ers did contribute to one genuine accomplish-ment. The past thirty years have been a periodof enormous innovation in American educa-tion. In addition to charter schools, all kinds ofstrategies have taken root: public school choice,new approaches to standards and accountabil-ity, magnet schools, and open enrollment plansthat allow low-income city kids to attend sub-urban public schools and participate in vari-ous curriculum-based experiments. To the ex-tent that the threat of vouchers represented a“nuclear option” that educators would do any-thing to avoid, the voucher movement helpedto prompt broader but less drastic reforms thatoffer parents and students greater educationalchoices.7This paragraph shows one of the few parts ofthe article Anrig got right, as events mere weeks
  • www.alec.org 7The End of the Beginning in the Battle for K–12 Reformafter the publication would begin to prove. Short-ly after the publication of Anrig’s article, the Flor-ida legislature passed a far-reaching expansion ofthe Step Up for Students tax credit with large bi-partisan support, Georgia lawmakers created anew scholarship tax credit, and Louisiana law-makers created a new voucher program.In 2009 and 2010, new parental-choice pro-grams for special-needs children passed in Okla-homa and Louisiana. Further tax-credit expan-sions passed with bipartisan support in Florida,Iowa, and Pennsylvania.And then came 2011.Not only did Indiana enact what will likelybecome the largest private choice program, butmany other states also advanced parental choice.Parental-choice advocates achieved enormousvictories during the 2011 legislative season. Wecan write with complete confidence that 2011stands as the most successful year in the histo-ry of the parental choice movement, and whatev-er year would rank second ranks a distant second.In 2009, school-choice opponents in Congressseized the opportunity afforded to them by thehuge Democratic majority to eliminate the D.C.Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP).Rather than an outright repeal, Congressionaland administration opponents settled upon astrategy whereby they would continue the pro-gram, but only for currently participating stu-dents. This quieted the complaints of parentshad the program been completely killed outright,while accomplishing their goal of eliminating theprogram. Opponents took this action despite anU.S. Department of Education evaluation of theprogram that showed significant academic bene-fits to program participants.Dr. Patrick Wolf, the principal investigatorwho helped conduct the rigorous studies, testifiedto the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Secu-rity and Governmental Operations, which has ju-risdiction over the DCOSP.In my opinion, by demonstrating statisticallysignificant experimental impacts on boostinghigh school graduation rates and generatingFIGURE 1 | STATES EXPANDING OR CREATING NEW PRIVATE CHOICE PROGRAMS, 2011(BLUE = NEW STATES WITH PRIVATE CHOICE PROGRAMS)WAORCAIDNVAZUTWYCOWIMOARGAKSOKMNINOHPASCFLAKMT NDSDNENMTX LAIAILMINYKYTNMS ALVANCMEHIWVVTNHMARICTNJDEMDDC
  • 8 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER ONEa wealth of evidence suggesting that studentsalso benefited in reading achievement, the DCOSP has accomplished what few educationalinterventions can claim: It markedly improvedimportant education outcomes for low-incomeinner-city students.8Newspapers including the Washington Post, theChicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal de-nounced the attempt to deprive low-income Dis-trict children the opportunity to attend a schoolof their choosing. In 2011, due to the leadershipof Speaker of the House John Boehner and the aidof several Democratic Senators, Congress and theAdministration reauthorized and expanded theD.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.9The Midwest led the way on parental choicein 2011, with major legislative victories in Indi-ana, Ohio, and Wisconsin and smaller victoriesin Iowa and Pennsylvania. Ohio lawmakers cre-ated a fourth school voucher program—this onefor children with special needs—to accompanythree pre-existing programs for children in Cleve-land, children in low ranking public schools state-wide, and children with autism.10Ohio lawmakersnamed the new special-needs program for formerstate Representative (and ALEC member) Jon Pe-terson, creating the Jon Peterson Special NeedsScholarship Program for children with an Individ-ualized Education Program (IEP). In addition tocreating this new program, Ohio lawmakers qua-drupled the number of Educational Choice Schol-arships available to children in poorly performingpublic schools. Ohio lawmakers also made sub-stantial improvements to the Cleveland Scholar-ship and Tutoring Program by increasing the max-imum voucher amount and including high schoolstudents in the program for the first time.Not to be outdone, Wisconsin lawmakers alsomade substantial changes to the Milwaukee Pa-rental Choice Program (MPCP) and created a newparental choice program for students in Racine,Wisconsin.11Improvements to the MPCP include:• Expansion of student eligibility by fam-ily income. Previously, only children fromfamilies qualifying for the federal free andreduced-price lunch program could partic-ipate in the MPCP. Now, children from allfamilies earning up to 300 percent of thefederal poverty guidelines, or $67,000 for afamily of four, will qualify to receive a pri-vate-school voucher.• Elimination of Participation Cap. Previouslaw included a hard limit capping the num-ber of MPCP vouchers to 22,500. The 2011expansion eliminates the cap entirely.• Creation of once in, always in. Previous-ly, a student who received a voucher couldlose eligibility for the program because hisor her parents happened to increase their in-come in a given year. Students whose par-ents received a raise or whose single parentsmarried could find themselves ineligible tocontinue in the program. The new law pro-vides participating children with continuingeligibility.• Increased private-school options. Previ-ously, children receiving a voucher could at-tend private schools only in the city of Mil-waukee. Now, they will be able to attendany participating private school in the state,making a number of suburban Milwaukeeprivate schools eligible to participate in theprogram.Wisconsin also created a choice program forstudents in the Racine Unified School District.This program will operate in a fashion similarto the MPCP after a cap on participation expiresafter the first two years. Iowa and Pennsylvaniaboth had incremental increases in their tax-cred-it programs.12Several other states also made improvementsto preexisting programs. Florida lawmakers ex-panded eligibility for the McKay Scholarship pro-grams to make more children with disabilitieseligible to participate in the program.13Utah leg-islators appropriated more money in order to low-er the waiting list for the Carson Smith programfor children with disabilities.14Oklahoma legisla-tors transferred the administration of their spe-cial-needs scholarship to the state after a smallnumber of school districts unlawfully refused toadminister the program.15
  • www.alec.org 9The End of the Beginning in the Battle for K–12 ReformOklahoma lawmakers also created a newchoice program—the Education Scholarship Ed-ucation Act—causing the state to join the grow-ing number of states with scholarship tax-creditprograms.16Also in 2011, North Carolina, with aRepublican majority legislature and a Democrat-ic governor, created a new special needs program.North Carolina’s Tax Credits for Children withDisabilities program blazed a new trail in creatinga personal use tax credit for special needs familiesto defray private school costs.New Approaches: Education Savings Accountsand District-Led VouchersTwo Western states—Arizona and Colorado—also broke new ground in the battle for parentalchoice. Years ago, the Colorado Supreme Courtstruck down a voucher program based upon aprovision in the Colorado Constitution calling forthe local control of schools.17In 2011, the Doug-las County school board enacted a new voucherprogram on their own motion.18Under the pro-gram, students will be eligible to receive a vouch-er worth up to $4,575. The district will keepabout 25 percent of state aid to pay for the ad-ministration of the program and to cover fixedcosts. By expanding parental options while keep-ing money for students they no longer need to ed-ucate, Douglas County may prove to have enact-ed a financial and academic win-win for studentsand the district.Arizona lawmakers also rose to the challengeof a state Supreme Court setback when SenatorRick Murphy and Representative Debbie Leskosponsored a new type of parental choice programto enactment: public contributions to EducationSavings Accounts (ESAs).19Shortly after the en-actment of this program, ALEC adopted mod-el legislation on this new type of parental choiceprogram. ALEC’s Education Savings Account Act al-lows a portion of state funds to be deposited intoan ESA if a student withdraws from his or her as-signed school.In 2006, Arizona’s then-Governor Janet Na-politano became the first Democratic governor tosign a new private choice program into existence.A coalition of groups opposed to private schoolchoice, however, filed suit against the program.The Arizona Supreme Court ultimately ruled thata Blaine Amendment in the Arizona Constitutionprecluded the operation of a school voucher pro-gram (see text box). The ESA approach aims to al-low parents to customize the education of theirchildren, embracing customization over standard-ization while overcoming Blaine Amendments.State-funded ESA contributions represent asubstantial improvement over school vouchers asa parental choice mechanism. Rather than simplychoosing among schools, parents should be freeto choose from a growing array of education ser-vices from a variety of providers. Today, studentscan take classes online, seek private tutoring, orenroll in community colleges or universities forcoursework.Accounts for education and health care serveas important precedents upon which to build.Lawmakers must ensure strong systems of statefinancial oversight are in place and provide forthe auditing of accounts. Near bankrupt statescan save money by fashioning contractual agree-ments with parents to provide greater flexibilityin return for smaller overall per-student subsidies.With control over funding, parents could pur-chase full enrollment at public or private schools.Alternatively, parents might choose to have theirchildren attend classes at a variety of providers:public, private, and virtual. Allowing parents tosave funds for future college and university ex-penses provides a powerful incentive to consid-er cost-effectiveness from all types of providers,whether public or private.Opponents of parental choice will likely chal-lenge both of these programs in court. Neverthe-less, they have innovatively addressed long-stand-ing problems and represent new weapons in thebattle for parental options. ALEC adopted a mod-el ESA proposal in 2011; reformers should studythe proposal carefully.Sea Change in Teacher Tenure andCollective BargainingThe Denver-based nonprofit, nonpartisan Edu-cation Commission of the States has been close-ly tracking tenure and collective bargaining leg-islation.21Jennifer Dounay Zinth, a senior policyanalyst at the organization, told Education Weekthe 2011 legislative session changes amounted toa “sea change,” saying, “It’s hard to get your armsaround—not just the number of bills being en-acted but the breadth and depth of changes being
  • 10 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER ONEmade.”22While so-called red states are in the lead,even deep blue states like Illinois have imple-mented teacher reform policies.Randi Weingarten, president of the AmericanFederation of Teachers, seems to have noticed, asthe New York Times reported in July that:Ms. Weingarten, who has long opposed thecuts—both budgetary and rhetorical—madeto teachers, told her audience that the cur-rent debate on education “has been hijackedby a group of self-styled reformers” from “onhigh” who want to blame educators’ benefitsand job security for states’ notorious budgetproblems.23Every person reading this book had a teacherwho did a fantastic job in sparking their interestin learning and made a difference in their life. Youcan picture that teacher in your head now. Everyperson reading this book has almost certainlyencountered teachers who fell far below this stan-dard. Now think of this person as well.As a nation, we have embraced a system forteachers of recognition and reward that treatsthese two drastically different types of educatorsexactly the same, regardless of their effectiveness.In 2011, many state lawmakers began the processof moving away from lockstep salary schedules,and toward treating teachers as professionals—for example, by requiring teachers earn tenurerather than giving it to everyone automatically.Ms. Weingarten may be comfortable withtreating teachers as interchangeable widgets, butin so doing, she finds herself increasingly isolated.Colorado lawmakers used the 2010 session topass far-reaching teacher-effectiveness legislationon a bipartisan basis. Democrat Mike Johnston,a former teacher and first-year state senator, suc-cessfully guided the legislation through the pro-cess. Colorado Senate Bill 191 provides for annualteacher evaluations, with at least 50 percent basedBlaine AmendmentsBlaine Amendments such as Arizona’s have an ugly history rooted in bigotry. The United States began asan experiment in freedom, but has at times struggled with intolerance. America’s culture wars surroundingthe assimilation of Catholic immigrants represented just such a struggle in the 19th and early 20th century.In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan successfully abolished private schools in Oregon. The KKK, you see, wantedto standardize Oregon Catholics into “real Americans.” If that thought frightens you, and it should, read on.The ESA approach aims to allow parents to customize the education of their children, embracing custom-ization over standardization.The KKK aimed to standardize Oregon Catholics through a public-school curriculum they approved and bybanning private school attendance entirely. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down this measure in 1925, con-firming a right for parents to choose private schools. By that time, however, these misguided Blaine Amend-ments had already been incorporated in a number of state constitutions, thereby banning aid to privateschools.In addition to the ugly religious discriminatory intent of the attempt to effectively ban private schools, thiseffort reflected a broader problem: It demonstrated a belief in “one true way” to educate children. Unfortu-nately, the KKK is not the only organization that has sought to control schools for its own purposes.Milton Friedman proposed a solution to these problems in the 1950s: separating the school finance fromthe operation of schools. This would allow parents far greater freedom to choose the sort of education theywant, and reflects a liberal “to each his own” system.Over the years, advocates of greater parental choice have carried Friedman’s concept forward in the form ofschool vouchers and tuition tax credits. Vouchers are state-funded coupons parents can redeem at publicor private schools. Tax credits provide indirect aid for parents bearing the expense of a private education inaddition to paying public school taxes. The first modern voucher program began in Milwaukee in 1990, andtoday, at least 26 voucher and tax-credit programs exist.20
  • www.alec.org 11The End of the Beginning in the Battle for K–12 Reformon student learning gains.24The bill conditionstenure on effectiveness and allows for the dis-missal of ineffective teachers. SB 191 is particular-ly strong on issues related to teacher placements,excessing teachers, and workforce reductions. Itprohibits districts from assigning a teacher to anew position without the consent of the principaland two teachers in the receiving school.The law requires districts to make workforcereductions based on effectiveness, rather than se-niority. While most similar state laws apply onlyto district-wide layoffs or workforce reductions,SB 191 applies this standard at the building lev-el, where most workforce reductions take place.Excessed teachers will no longer have the right to“bump” newer teachers at other schools. Instead,they are required to secure positions through mu-tual consent hiring as described above. Finally,SB 191 creates a process by which districts can re-move from the payroll excessed teachers who failto obtain new positions.25Florida legislators also led a charge on tenure re-form. In 2010, they passed Senate Bill 6, a far-reach-ing measure to reform tenure and to institute a sys-tem of merit pay. However, Florida’s then-GovernorCharlie Crist, who had publicly endorsed the mea-sure several times, consequently vetoed the mea-sure before leaving the Republican Party to pur-sue an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010.Florida lawmakers reworked the measure, but thechanges made proved nothing less than profound.The 2011 measure ties teachers’ pay raises to studentperformance and eliminates tenure protection fornew teachers. The law also empowers Florida dis-tricts to create higher salaries for teachers who relin-quish traditional tenure for a merit pay system. Thelaw also weakens the role of seniority in determin-ing layoffs, increasing the role student performanceplays in such decisions.26The rancor in Florida, however, pales in com-parison to Wisconsin’s bitter battle to curtail col-lective bargaining. The Wisconsin war over col-lective bargaining included Democratic legislatorsfleeing the state to break quorum, massive pro-tests at the state capitol, a contentious election forthe state Supreme Court, efforts to recall a slate ofRepublican and Democratic legislators, and, as ofwriting, an effort to recall Gov. Walker.In the end, Gov. Scott Walker’s curtailment ofcollective bargaining passed and the WisconsinSupreme Court upheld it. Although the measureaddressed a number of areas, including increasedpension contributions for public employees andother measures, limiting the scope of collectivebargaining stood at the core of the dispute.To explain to Americans the significance ofthe protests in Madison, the Washington Exam-iner provided a concrete example from the smallHartland-Lakeside district, about 30 miles out-side Milwaukee. Previously, the district’s collec-tive-bargaining agreement required the districtto purchase health insurance from a corporationcreated by the Wisconsin Education Association.Hartland-Lakeside Superintendent Glenn Schil-ling told the Examiner the new law enabled thedistrict to put the insurance contract out to bid:“It’s going to save us about $690,000 in 2011–2012,” says Schilling. Insurance costs that hadbeen about $2.5 million a year will now bearound $1.8 million. What union leaders saidwould be a catastrophe will in fact be a boon toteachers and students.27Creative savings like what was realized inHartland-Lakeside best reveals the benefits to re-form: Teachers and students both win.While the battle over collective bargainingreforms involved bitter partisanship in Wiscon-sin, Democrats in neighboring Illinois played akey role in reforming teachers’ working condi-tions in their state. Gov. Pat Quinn (D), signedSenate Bill 7 to make tenure contingent on stu-dent achievement and to make it harder for teach-ers to strike.28Chicago’s Public Schools, under thecontrol of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, gained the abil-ity to lengthen the city’s school day, which waspreviously prohibited by collective-bargainingagreements. The landmark bill makes it easier forschool administrators to dismiss teachers deemedineffective based on student achievement. The de-cision is now based more on student performancethan mere length of service.Illinois wasn’t the only deep blue Midwest-ern state to implement serious teacher qualityreforms. On July 19, 2011 Michigan Gov. RickSnyder signed a number of bills that also made far-reaching reforms to teacher tenure.29The Michi-gan reforms increased the default tenure qualifi-cation from four years to five years. Teachers who
  • 12 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER ONEearn the rating of “highly effective” for three yearsin a row can now earn tenure early.Under the Michigan law, teachers must con-tinue to earn their tenured status; they must earnat least the rating of “effective” in order to keepit. The law also requires school districts to no-tify parents in writing if their child is taught bya teacher rated “ineffective.” The legislation re-moves layoffs and employee discipline from col-lective-bargaining agreements.Lawmakers in other states, including Indianaand Tennessee, enacted significant teacher quali-ty legislation in 2011 as well.Grading School Performance A–FFlorida pioneered the grading of school perfor-mance with A, B, C, D, and F labels in 1999. Care-fully balancing overall student proficiency withstudent learning gains, the A–F grading systemsubstantially improves public school transparen-cy while affording even the most miserably per-forming schools the opportunity to earn bettergrades by heavily weighting gains.Lawmakers around the country have takennotice of Florida’s substantial gains in academicachievement, and a growing number of states haveadopted the Florida system, as Figure 2 shows.The use of letter grades helps spur school im-provement for two broad reasons. First, manystates use fuzzy labels to describe school academ-ic performance. For instance, before Arizona law-makers adopted the A–F methodology, schools re-ceived labels like “Performing,” “Performing Plus,”and “Excelling” to describe academic achievementin schools. The National Assessment of Education-al Progress (NAEP) finds that 44 percent of Arizo-na 4th graders score “Below Basic” in reading, butfar fewer than 10 percent of schools get a ratingworse than “Performing,” which is the second-low-est label. Schools in Phoenix would proudly dis-play a banner announcing that they are a “Perform-ing” school when many schools with that ratingwould likely earn the far more accurate descrip-tion of “D” or “F” under the letter grading system.The second important aspect of the A–F sys-tem is that people instantly understand its scale.WAORCAIDNVAZUTWYCOWIMOARGAKSOKMNINOHPASCFLAKMT NDSDNENMTX LAIAILMINYKYTNMS ALVANCMEHIWVVTNHMARICTNJDEMDDCFIGURE 2 | STATES USING A–F LABELS TO GRADE SCHOOL PERFORMANCE, AUGUST 2011
  • www.alec.org 13The End of the Beginning in the Battle for K–12 ReformIn Arizona, conversations over school qualitywould frequently generate questions about wheth-er it was better to be labeled “Performing Plus”or “Exceling.” Similarly, the Florida Departmentof Education graded schools 1–5 before adoptingletter grades, but confusion reigned over whichscore—a 1 or a 5—represented the highest rank.The ALEC Education Task Force adopted theomnibus A-Plus Literacy Act in 2010, which wasbased on the reforms in Florida. The act includesmodel language for grading schools A–F.Charter School Movement Maintains MomentumIn fall 2010, more than 5,400 charter schoolsaround the nation educated over 1.7 million chil-dren; 465 of these were new schools.30In 2011,a number of states, including Maine, whose law-makers passed charter legislation for the first time,passed important pieces of charter legislation.Florida lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1546,which created new charter-school authorizers andcreated a process for state recognition of high-per-forming charter schools and charter-school sys-tems.31Under the new law, universities will beable to create and operate their own K–12 char-ter schools, and charter schools that meet high ac-ademic and financial requirements can increaseenrollment, serve more grades, and qualify forextended contracting periods. Moreover, char-ter-management networks with sound financialpractices and high-performing schools are now em-powered to expand by opening new schools, un-less their district can prove they should be denied.Not to be outdone, Indiana’s reform-mindedlegislature created a new state commission to au-thorize charter schools and allowed private uni-versities to serve as authorizers as well. As men-tioned earlier, Indiana’s lawmakers now allowcharter schools to buy unused school buildingsfor $1. Finally, Indiana lawmakers created a “par-ent trigger” mechanism whereby parents couldconvert a district school into a charter school. In2010, ALEC adopted the Parent Trigger Act, whichallows a school to be converted after a majority ofparents sign a petition.Lawmakers lifted statewide caps on charterschools in several states, including Tennessee, NorthCarolina, and Oregon. However, simply lifting acap on the authorization of new charter schoolscan prove to be a hollow victory if a single centralchokepoint for authorization remains. Instead, law-makers should be sure to both lift caps and to pro-vide multiple authorizers. While significant legisla-tion passed in a number of states, the most recentranking of state charter-school laws by the Centerfor Education reform gave only 12 charter laws anA or B grade, with only the first three listed earningan A: Washington D.C., Minnesota, California, Ari-zona, Michigan, Colorado, New York, Indiana, Mis-souri, Florida, Utah, and Pennsylvania.32While exciting legislation passed in 2011,the most meaningful charter-school develop-ment may well prove to be the perfection of “hy-brid learning” school models mixing tradition-al classroom instruction with technology-basedlearning. We address this exciting developmentin Chapter 5; for now, we simply note that charterschools are leading the way in developing thesenew learning models.The Way of the Future: Digital LearningIn December 2010, the bipartisan team of formergovernors Jeb Bush of Florida (R) and Bob Wiseof West Virginia (D) announced the publicationof the Digital Learning Now report. The report rep-resents the culmination of the Digital LearningCouncil, and outlines 10 elements of high-quali-ty digital learning. The Digital Learning Council,on which ALEC staff was represented, consistedof stakeholders across the education industry, in-cluding legislators, online providers, technologycompanies, and content providers.Florida, already the nation’s leader in digitallearning, expanded its lead in 2011 with the pas-sage of House Bill 7197, the Digital Learning NowAct. Beginning with ninth grade students enter-ing in fall 2011, all Florida students will be re-quired to take an online course to graduate fromhigh school. The Digital Learning Now Act re-moved restrictions on the full-time participationof elementary students in online learning. In ad-dition, the law allows students to cross districtlines to take virtual courses for courses otherwiseunavailable and clears the way for blended learn-ing models. The law also created a pathway fordistricts to certify qualified online teachers, andrequires state accountability testing to occur en-tirely online by the 2014–15 school year.33Utah lawmakers also passed a major piece ofdigital-learning legislation in 2011 with Senate
  • 14 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER ONEBill 65—the Statewide Online Education Pro-gram. The authors of this law drew upon the Dig-ital Learning Now’s 10 Elements of High-QualityDigital Learning to develop a very broad online-learning policy. The law funds academic successrather than just seat time, has no participationcaps, and allows multiple public and private pro-viders. The program starts for public high schoolstudents in grades 9–12, then phases in home-school and private school students.34Policymakers in other states are actively dis-cussing broad digital-learning bills. Chapter 5 ad-dresses digital learning’s potential to transformeducation in depth.The Next StepsThe past two years however have been crucial,however, in demonstrating that reform is not onlynecessary but in fact achievable. In the past, gov-ernors gave lip service to education reform buttended to simply increase spending and kick thecan down the road. The 2010–2011 period wit-nessed something entirely different: lawmakerstaking on the reactionary education establish-ment directly, and defeating them repeatedly.States having passed reforms must move vig-orously to implementation, given the huge differ-ence between changing law and changing poli-cy and opportunities for subversion. Reformersin other states should carefully study the com-prehensive approaches of Florida and Indianalawmakers. Dramatic improvement results frombroad, rather than incremental, reform.Lawmakers should heed Gov. Daniels’ pointabout mutual reinforcement: the goal should be tostart a virtuous cycle where transparency, choiceand flexibility create sustained improvement.Florida has done it, Indiana has enacted the nec-essary legislation, several other states have enact-ed some but not all of the necessary tools. Stillother states continue to wallow in stagnation,trapped in the tyranny of the failed status-quo.ENDNOTES1. See The Churchill Society, “The End of the Beginning,” (speech, the Lord Mayor’s Luncheon, Mansion House, November10, 1942), available at http://www.churchill-society-london.org.uk/EndoBegn.html2. Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb. 2009. Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education(San Francisco: Jossey Bass), pages 29-56.3. Lindsey Burke, “Creating a Crisis: The Squandered $100 Billion Education Stimulus,” Heritage Foundation, June 15, 2010.4. Mitch Daniels, 2011. Creating First-Rate Education in Indiana. An Address by Governor Mitch Daniels to the Ameri-can Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. The video of the speech can be found at http://www.aei.org/video/101438.5. Ibid.6. Ibid.7. Greg Anrig, “An Idea Whose Time Has Gone,” Washington Monthly, April 2008, available at http://www.washington-monthly.com/features/2008/0804.anrig.html.8. Washington Post, “White House Ignores Evidence of How D.C. School Vouchers Work,” March 29, 2011, avail-able at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/white-house-ignores-evidence-of-how-dc-school-vouchers-work/2011/03/29/AFFsnHyB_story.html.9. Kerry Picket, “School Choice Returns to DC,” Washington Times, April 11, 2011.10. For more information, see the School Choice Ohio website, available at http://www.scohio.org.11. For more information, see: the School Choice Wisconsin website, available at http://www.schoolchoicewi.org.12. For more information, see: the Iowa Advocates for Choice in Education website, available at http://www.iowaadvo-cates.org; and the REACH Foundation website, available at http://www.paschoolchoice.org.13. Jaryn Emhof, “Florida Senate Passes Bill to Expand McKay Scholarships,” Foundation for Florida’s Future, May 2, 2011,available at http://www.foundationforfloridasfuture.org/PressReleases/2011/Florida_Senate_Passes_Bill_to_Expand_McKay_Scholarships_.aspx?page=Default.aspx&pagenum=1&year=2011.
  • www.alec.org 15The End of the Beginning in the Battle for K–12 Reform14. For more information, see: the Parents for Choice in Education website, available at www.choiceineducation.org.15. “From the Capitol: Governor Signs Special Needs Scholarship Legislation,” Broken Arrow Ledger, May 27, 2011,available at http://baledger.com/news/from-the-capitol-governor-signs-special-needs-scholarship-legislation/article_7ae0557a-8888-11e0-ae48-001cc4c002e0.html.16. Steve Olafson, “Oklahoma Passes Tax Credit for Private School Scholarships,” Reuters, April 26, 2011, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/27/us-oklahoma-private-schools-idUSTRE73Q03920110427.17. For more information on this case, see the Institute for Justice, “Colorado Congress of Parents, Teachers and Studentsv. Owens: Institute for Justice and Colorado Parents Defended School Choice in the Rocky Mountain State,” available athttp://www.ij.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1172&Itemid=165.18. See The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, “Choice Scholarship Pilot Program,” available at http://www.edchoice.org/School-Choice/Programs/Choice-Scholarship-Pilot-Program.aspx.19. “Arizona Adopts Education Savings Accounts to Aid Special Needs Students,” Goldwater Institute, April 12, 2011.20. For state-by-state details on programs, see The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, “School Choice Pro-grams,” available at http://www.edchoice.org/School-Choice/School-Choice-Programs.aspx.21. Education Commission of the States website, available at http://ecs.org/ecsmain.asp?page=/html/aboutECS/mission.asp (accessed August 20, 2011).22. Lisa Heitlin, “States Continue to Push to Toughen Teacher Policies,” Education Week, July 12, 2011.23. Alan Schwartz, “Union Chief Faults School Reform from ‘On High,’” New York Times, July 11, 2011.24. For more details about Colorado SB 191, see Bellwether Education Partners, Recent Teacher Effectiveness Legislation:How Do the States Stack Up?, August 2011, available at http://bellwethereducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/State-Teacher-Leg-Comparison.pdf.25. Ibid.26. For more information on Florida SB 736, see the Foundation for Florida’s Future, “Agenda 2011: Quality Teachers forAll Sunshine State Students,” available at http://www.foundationforfloridasfuture.org/Pages/Agenda_2011/Qual-ity_Teachers_for_All_Sunshine_State_Students.aspx.27. Byron York, “Wisconsin Schools Buck Union to Cut Health Costs,” Washington Examiner, July 7, 2011, available at http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/07/wisconsin-schools-buck-union-cut-health-costs#ixzz1TpHILmc2.28. For more information, see the Performance Counts website, available at http://www.performancecounts.org.29. Kyle Feldsher, “Gov. Rick Snyder Signs Major Changes to Teacher Tenure into Law,” AnnArbor.com, July 19, 2011, avail-able at http://www.annarbor.com/news/gov-rick-snyder-signs-major-changes-to-teacher-tenure-into-law.30. For a breakdown of charter schools by state, see Center for Education Reform, “National Charter School and EnrollmentStatistics 2010,” available at http://www.edreform.com/_upload/CER_charter_numbers.pdf.31. Rick Scott, “Governor Scott Signs Legislation to Strengthen, Expand Charter and Virtual Schools,” June 27, 2011.32. The Center for Education Reform, A Report to the Nation’s New Governors and State Lawmakers, 2011 Charter SchoolLaws Across the States: Ranking and Scorecard; A Blueprint to Make Schools Work Better for All Children, available athttp://www.edreform.com/_upload/ranking_chart.pdf.33. Florida HB 7197 is available in its entirety at http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=46852.34. Utah SB 65 is available in its entirety at http://le.utah.gov/~2011/htmdoc/sbillhtm/SB0065S01.htm.
  • 16 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER ONE
  • A Thought Experiment onState Academic AchievementCHAPTER2
  • 18 Report Card on American EducationImagine a scenario in which you learn thatupon your death, you will be reincarnatedas a young American. In this thought ex-periment, the “Powers that Be” tell you that thetype of student you come back as will be entire-ly random, but they will allow you to choose theAmerican state in which you will grow up. Youinstantly grasp that the quality of elementary andsecondary education will prove crucial to youchances of success, and request time to researchstate-level academic results. The Powers gener-ously grant you a week to research the question.You quickly size up the profound differencesin the life outcomes between students who grad-uate and those who drop out of school. Look-ing deeper, you find a study by the Annie E.Casey Foundation that finds that literacy in thirdgrade—yes, third grade—strongly impacts thechances that a student will graduate from highschool. Based on a longitudinal analysis of read-ing scores and graduation rates of 3,975 studentsover ten years, students who could not read by theend of the third grade were four times more likelyto drop out of high school. In fact, 88 percent ofstudents who failed to earn a high school diplomawere struggling readers in third grade.1The Annie E. Casey analysis also found thatdifferences in reading achievement explain differ-ences in graduation rates between students of dif-ferent races and ethnicities. Proficient third gradereaders of all races—white, black, and Hispanic—graduate at similar rates. Eighty-nine percent of ec-onomically disadvantaged students in the study,who achieved proficient reading skills by the thirdgrade, graduated. Furthermore, your research in-forms you that 90 percent of welfare recipients arehigh school dropouts, 85 percent of kids in the ju-venile justice system are functionally illiterate, 75percent of food stamp recipients did not graduatefrom high school and 70 percent of prison inmatescannot read above a fourth-grade level.You decide, quite sensibly, that you would pre-fer to avoid all of that in the next life. Your fran-tic searches across the internet for a comparableset of third grade reading achievement data com-paring states results in nothing. You do, however,discover the National Assessment of EducationalProgress (NAEP) has a great deal of informationon fourth-grade reading going back a number ofyears. You decide that this will be as close as youare going to get to the data you want, and begina frantic analysis of NAEP fourth-grade readingdata, searching for the best states to educate youto a proficient level of reading.A Thought Experiment onState Academic AchievementFigure 3 | 19-Year-Old Dropouts by3rd-Grade Reading Scores(Source: Casey foundation Longitudinal Study)020406080100%88%11%Non-ProficientReaders in ThirdGradeProficientReaders in ThirdGrade
  • www.alec.org 19A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ON STATE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTYou download a copy of the most recentlyavailable NAEP reading results (2011) and readthe document from cover to cover. You notice thatthe NAEP included new inclusion standards forspecial education and English Language Learnerstudents, and that Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky,Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Tennessee,and Texas violated those standards for the 2011NAEP reading exam. Non-compliance with thesestandards creates doubt as to whether the resultsin those states are truly comparable to those inthe other states, so you decide to eliminate themfrom consideration. You do not want to get some-thing as important as your next life wrong basedon testing imperfections!2Later, however, youdiscover a method for comparing all 50 states andthe District of Columbia which avoids these prob-lems entirely.State Proficiency AchievementBased on IncomeYou begin your investigation by reasoning thatyou will either grow up in a low-income familyor not. The most recent Digest of Education Sta-tistics reveals that 44.6 percent of American stu-dents qualified for a free or reduced-priced lunchunder the federal nutrition program for low-in-come students. Your investigation in K–12 poli-cy informs you that wide variations in academ-ic outcomes exist between high and low incomestudents, and 44.6 percent sounds disturbinglyclose to a coin flip. Because you are slightly morelikely to grow up in a family that earns too muchto qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch thanthe other way around, you start your investigationlooking for states that do a good job in educat-ing middle- and high-income students (not eligi-ble for a free or reduced-price lunch) to a profi-cient level of reading.Your first run of the data fills you with unease:Growing up in a middle- to high-income familyfails to come close to guaranteeing that you willlearn to read in the early grades. Your squintingeyes refuse to tell you anything other than moststates rate around a coin flip regarding wheth-er their economically advantaged students learnto read at a proficient level. Many states rate sig-nificantly worse than a coin flip. Alaska, Arizo-na, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, NewFigure 4 | Middle- and High-Income StudentsScoring “Proficient or Better” on the 2011NAEP 4th-Grade Reading ExamNote: Not all states are represented due to failure to meet the95% inclusion rate0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80%New MexicoWest VirginiaAlaskaNevadaHawaiiOklahomaMississippiUtahSouth DakotaLouisianaArizonaWyomingMichiganMaineCaliforniaOregonIowaIdahoWisconsinSouth CarolinaMontanaDistrict of ColumbiaMinnesotaIndianaOhioRhode IslandNebraskaNational PublicArkansasWashingtonNew YorkMissouriIllinoisNorth CarolinaNew HampshireKansasAlabamaVirginiaVermontPennsylvaniaFloridaColoradoConnecticutMassachusetts 6357555353525150505050494949494848484847464645454545444444434343424141414140393838373737
  • 20 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER TWOMexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, andWest Virginia make you feel very nervous indeedwith their Proficient percentages in the high 30sand low 40s.Even the states at the high end of the scale(Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts,Pennsylvania, and Vermont) leave much to be de-sired for those even slightly risk averse. Somehow,the fact that 43 percent of middle- to high-incomestudents in the very wealthy Connecticut failingto score at the Proficient level in reading seemsunsettling. What, you wonder to yourself, will thenumbers for low-income students look like? Afterall, it is almost as likely that you will be born asa child eligible for a free or reduced-price lunchas not.As you can see in Figure 5, your fears wereentirely justified. Even the best performing states(New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Flor-ida, and Pennsylvania) succeed in teaching abouta quarter of their free and reduced-price lunch-eligible students to become “Proficient or better”readers. A one-in-four chance of securing solidgrade-level reading achievement or better soundspretty awful, until you look at the bottom of thechart and see that your chances are only one in tenin our nation’s capital, the District of Columbia.Students with DisabilitiesYour research indicates that 13.2 percent of stu-dents grapple with one or more learning disabili-ties. These can be physical in nature (like blindness)or neurological. You decide to check the proficiencyprofiles of each state for children with disabilities.The results are frightening, to say the least.Massachusetts has 21 percent of their chil-dren with disabilities score proficient in reading.While very low, this rate is more than ten timesgreater than the lowest performer—the District ofColumbia, at a mere 2 percent. Your research in-formed you that while some children with disabil-ities suffer from profound disabilities that wouldeffectively prohibit learning to even a basic level,but that these cases make up only a small portionof the total student population with disabilities.Your research further indicates that we are stuckwith these results despite what many school districtofficials describe as a crushing level of spending perstudent with a disability. You read about a systemFigure 5 | Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-EligibleStudents Scoring “Proficient or Better” on the2011 NAEP 4th-Grade Reading ExamNote: Not all states are represented due to failure to meet the95% inclusion rate0 5 10 15 20 25%District of ColumbiaCaliforniaAlaskaNew MexicoLouisianaMississippiHawaiiArizonaSouth CarolinaNevadaIllinoisVirginiaMinnesotaMichiganIowaConnecticutWisconsinWest VirginiaWashingtonNational PublicAlabamaOklahomaSouth DakotaRhode IslandOregonOhioNorth CarolinaColoradoMissouriMaineIndianaArkansasUtahNebraskaIdahoWyomingNew YorkMontanaKansasPennsylvaniaFloridaMassachusettsVermontNew Hampshire 2525252424232323232121212020202019191919191919181818181817171717171616161515151414131210
  • www.alec.org 21A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ON STATE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTof education which leaves parents deeply dissatis-fied from a purposely designed adversarial systembetween districts and parents. You read about run-away costs and a system more focused on bureau-cratic outcomes than student achievement.3You shudder at the thought of coming back asa child with a disability. If you come back as alawmaker, you think to yourself, you would dosomething about this nightmare.Ranking States by the General-EducationLow-Income StudentAt this point, your research leads you to the16th edition of the American Legislative Ex-change Council’s Report Card on American Ed-ucation, where you note the effort to rank statesbased upon the performance of general educationstudents whose family incomes qualify them fora free or reduced-price lunch. The authors noteFigure 6 | Students with Disabilities Scoring“Proficient or Better” on the 2011 NAEP 4th-Grade Reading ExamNote: Not all states are represented due to failure to meet the95% inclusion rate0 5 10 15 20 25%HawaiiDistrict of ColumbiaRhode IslandMississippiArizonaAlaskaSouth CarolinaOklahomaNew MexicoLouisianaIowaIdahoWisconsinVermontOhioMaineArkansasAlabamaWyomingWashingtonOregonNorth CarolinaNew YorkNevadaMichiganUtahSouth DakotaNew HampshireNational PublicIndianaConnecticutColoradoCaliforniaMontanaKansasWest VirginiaNebraskaMissouriMinnesotaIllinoisPennsylvaniaVirginiaFloridaMassachusetts 2215151413131313131212111111111111111110101010101010988888777666555522Figure 7 | Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-EligibleGeneral Education Students Scoring “Proficient orBetter” on the 2011 NAEP 4th-Grade Reading ExamNote: Not all states are represented due to failure to meet the95% inclusion rate0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35%District of ColumbiaMississippiTennesseeSouth CarolinaNew MexicoLouisianaCaliforniaWest VirginiaMichiganIllinoisHawaiiArizonaAlaskaAlabamaTexasOhioConnecticutGeorgiaVirginiaOklahomaWisconsinSouth DakotaNevadaNational PublicMissouriIowaKentuckyNorth CarolinaArkansasDelawareWashingtonRhode IslandMinnesotaMaineIndianaIdahoNorth DakotaNew JerseyMarylandUtahOregonMontanaNebraskaWyomingPennsylvaniaKansasColoradoNew YorkFloridaVermontNew HampshireMassachusetts 32313130302828282827262626262626252525252525252424242323232323232222222121212020202020202019181818171612
  • 22 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER TWOwhile this is not a perfect comparison betweenstates (nothing can be), this strategy maximizescomparability among states.You decide to emulate this strategy with re-gards to your early literacy strategy. Figure 7 pres-ents the percentage of general education (non-ELL and non-IEP) students scoring Proficient orbetter on the fourth-grade reading exam.None of these numbers strikes you as appeal-ing, with the best performing states delivering ap-proximately a 30 percent chance of making a low-income child “Proficient” in reading.Note the strong role that race and ethnicityplays in these rankings. Nine out of the top tenstates have majority white-student populations.Only Florida has a majority-minority studentpopulation. Seven of the bottom ten performingjurisdictions have majority-minority student pop-ulations, with only Tennessee, West Virginia, andMichigan serving as exceptions.From Thought Experiment to State PolicyWhat can policymakers draw from this thoughtexperiment?The two states consistently appearing in thetop 5 on these charts are Massachusetts and Flor-ida. Both states pursued reform strategies thatgenerated bitter opposition at the outset, but onesuspects that the experiences of both states con-tain lessons for reformers around the country, andindeed, even for each other.One sign of the success of Massachusetts is tocompare their results to their New England neigh-bors. Vermont and New Hampshire fare well in theabove comparisons, but they are extremely smallstates with overwhelmingly white (over 90 per-cent each) and middle- and high-income students.Both states have student populations smaller than anumber of single school districts around the nation,making it difficult to generalize from their experi-ence. We can, however, surmise that given the em-pirical evidence showing the existence of achieve-ment gaps on standardized tests across race andincome, being wealthy and overwhelmingly whiteand high-spending can come in handy in securing atop spot in comparisons such as these. Despite ourefforts here to examine student subgroups to max-imize comparability, it might be more applicable tocompare Vermont and Maine to the wealthy sub-urbs in other states than to other states as a whole.Notice, however, what happens to anotherhigh-spending New England state—Connecti-cut—when faced with the challenge of educatinga sizeable population of low-income black stu-dents. Unlike their New England brothers Ver-mont and New Hampshire, Connecticut has mi-nority population percentage that is larger thanthe low single digits—Hispanics make up almost18 percent of students, while blacks comprise al-most 14 percent of students in Connecticut. His-panic and black students score below the nation-al average when compared to their national peers,while white students in Connecticut score signifi-cantly higher than the national average. Connect-icut scores poorly on the comparison of low-in-come general education children presented aboveprecisely because it has thus far failed to meaning-fully address racial achievement gaps. If we put aHartford in Vermont or New Hampshire, then wewould have a real test of the education policies ofthese demographically advantaged states.Massachusetts, however, scores at the top ofour general education list despite student demo-graphic challenges almost identical to Connect-icut. The Massachusetts Education Reform Actof 1993 created a multifaceted education reformprogram emphasizing rigorous statewide stan-dards and a high-stakes test requirement for re-ceiving a diploma. Prior to 1993, Massachusettsonly required only history and physical educationinstruction, leaving the remainder to the discre-tion of districts. The Education Reform Act creat-ed statewide curriculum frameworks and learn-ing standards in core academic subjects. Nationalcomparisons of state standards have consistent-ly ranked the Massachusetts standards among thehighest in the nation, and the state accountabilityexam, as being close to NAEP in quality.The Education Reform Act of 1993 embraceda variety of reforms simultaneously—standards,high-stakes testing, charter schools, and in-creased spending. Policymakers in other statesmust sift through the evidence to discern whatmight apply to moving the academic needle intheir states.4As readers of the ALEC’s 2010 Report Card onAmerican Education know, Florida’s reform effortsalso featured standards and accountability butalso very broad parental choice efforts. Florida’sreform effort also created “accountability with
  • www.alec.org 23A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ON STATE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTteeth” by: grading schools A,B,C,D, or F based onstudent proficiency and learning gains; curtailingsocial promotion; and incentivizing student suc-cess. Florida has a strong charter school law, thenation’s largest scholarship tax-credit program(Step Up for Students), the nation’s largest schoolvoucher program (McKay Scholarships), and hasled the nation in online learning through theFlorida Virtual School and private online provid-ers. Florida’s success in producing academic gainsfor disadvantaged students inspired ALEC’s firstomnibus education reform bill, the A-Plus Liter-acy Act.Massachusetts has done less than Florida topromote parental choice. Perhaps you might bethinking that this whole parental choice businessis overdone, but as famous college football ana-lyst Lee Corso likes to say: “not so fast my friend.”Despite the fact that Massachusetts has not beenas aggressive in pursuing public parental choicepolicies, public schools in Massachusetts facean even higher level of competition from privateschools than public schools in Florida.Private schools hold a larger market shareof the total student population in Massachu-setts than in Florida despite Florida’s choice pro-grams. Florida’s public policy programs to pro-mote parental choice have, in essence, haveallowed the state to play catch-up in the paren-tal choice arena to higher-income states such asMassachusetts.Education reform discussions which cite Mas-sachusetts as a model often lustily mention theirhigh per-student spending ($14,478 in 2009–2010, well above the national average) and simplyconclude that policymakers in other states shouldfollow the example of Massachusetts in spendingmore on K–12. Such an analysis of course goesbeyond the level of being simplistic, as it fails toaccount for a variety of other policies which mayhold most of the explanatory power for the im-provement in Massachusetts. Moreover, it fails toaccount distinguish between high spending andsocietal wealth.Massachusetts is an atypical state, enjoyinga distinct advantage in the area of wealth whencompared to the national average. For instance,the median income for a family of four in thatstate is over $100,000, well above the nationalaverage. Only Connecticut, Maryland, and NewJersey join Massachusetts in the six-figure medi-an income club for families of four.Such a wealth advantage impacts a system ofschools in a variety of ways—some subtle (suchas the percentage of students attending privateschools) and some more obvious (such as the per-centage of students who qualify for a free or re-duced-price lunch). With this wealth advantage,Massachusetts can and does spend above the na-tional average for public school students. An av-erage American state would require a much high-er tax rate than Massachusetts if they wished tomatch the spending per pupil in these states.We commend Massachusetts for extreme-ly impressive academic gains. We lack any meth-od to determine the role that increased spendingplayed in the gains. Readers should note that itis not only possible to entirely squander wealthwhen it comes to public education; it has in factbeen done. After a large increase in per-studentfunding, Jim McBride, Wyoming’s Superinten-dent of Public Instruction, told the AssociatedPress in 2006:“We probably will have the nation’s No. 1graduation rate, maybe college attendancerate. We probably will have the highest NAEPscores, which is the only national assessmentthat you can compare state to state,” he said,referring to the National Assessment of Educa-tional Progress.5McBride is probably a wonderful man who iscertainly not alone in this world in having madea prediction that he might wish he could takeback. Not only does Wyoming not have the high-est NAEP scores in the country, the next chap-ter will show that Wyoming consistently demon-strate gains below the national average, and hasone of the poorest records in moving achievementfor low-income children (see Figure 17 in the nextchapter).Massachusetts, therefore, deserves credit formanaging their generously funded public schoolsskillfully to produce strong gains. Massachu-setts enjoys an advantage over Wyoming, how-ever, in that their state has wealth whereas Wyo-ming schools have enjoyed a windfall. The medianincome in Maryland and Massachusetts is stillabout a quarter higher than Wyoming, despite the
  • 24 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER TWOgas and oil boom.Now imagine a case even worse than Wyo-ming. Wyoming spent a great deal of money andreceived very little in the way of return on in-vestment. In the end, however, they were simplymisspending a windfall. Imagine if the naturalresources explosion had never happened in Wy-oming, and state lawmakers had attempted to taxthe economy to the point of spending $16,000 perstudent in the public school system.The academic results would not have beenany better, but the strain of Wyoming’s economywould have been enormous. Without the naturalresources boom, Wyoming’s per-capita incomewould be considerably lower, making the tax ratesnecessary to spend anything like $16,000 perchild prohibitively high. Wyoming’s private sec-tor employers would have little choice but to con-sider the advantages of setting up shop in neigh-boring Colorado or Montana.Policymakers have lessons to learn from boththe Massachusetts and Florida experiences: Thereis no single path to the top of the mountain. Bothstates emphasized standards and accountabili-ty, both states attached high stakes to their tests,both states created additional options for parents.Massachusetts reformers got a six-year head starton Florida’s reformers, put a relatively stronger em-phasis on academic standards and less of one onparental choice, and achieved remarkable results.Florida’s reformers got a later start, had a farlarger demographic challenge (far higher percent-ages of low-income and minority students) and,with less wealth, had less money to work withon a per-student basis. Despite these challenges,Florida produced remarkable gains. Our instinctis that Florida may have made even larger aca-demic gains if they had adopted the Massachu-setts academic standards, and Massachusetts mayhave made even larger gains if they had gradedschools and expanded parental choice.New York placing fourth on the final chartbears some mention. More than half of the state ofNew York’s free and reduced-price lunch-eligiblestudents attend New York City schools. Between2002 and 2009 (the last date for reliable districtlevel NAEP data at the time of this writing), NewYork City students nearly doubled the statewidereading gains among low-income students for thestate of New York. If we had the ability to sepa-rate the NYC gains from the overall state gains inthe NAEP data over this period (sadly unavail-able), the discrepancy between NYC and the stateof New York would appear even larger. Mayor Mi-chael Bloomberg’s reform effort, led by Chancel-lor Joel Klein, succeeded in improving the aca-demic performance of disadvantaged students,and thus merits study by reform minded policy-makers as well.In the end, policymakers have no magic wandto make their states wealthy. The available evi-dence does suggest however that academic stan-dards and parental choice can get schools mov-ing in the right direction by focusing efforts onacademic achievement. The goal of policymakersin every state, regardless if they fall on the low orhigh level of achievement, should be to maximizethe academic impact of every public dollar invest-ed in the public system. America needs our publicschool system to improve, with some parts of thenation simply needing it more than others.“None of the Above” Is Not an OptionStudents in even the best performing states facelong odds in reaching early reading proficien-cy. The worst performing jurisdictions cannot bejudged to be making a serious attempt at provid-ing a public school system which equalizes op-portunity. All states have tremendous room forimprovement.The next chapter focuses on the rate of aca-demic improvement in all 50 states and the Dis-trict of Columbia. Some states have achievedgains far faster than others, and some actual-ly have been backsliding among disadvantagedstudents. If more states emulated the success ofthe best performing states we would see far moreprogress in national achievement problems, suchas racial and economic achievement gaps.“None of the above” is not an option in ourthought experiment or for disadvantaged childrenin the real world. Policymakers in our top per-forming states should redouble their efforts, andthose in the rest of the nation need to get startedon reform. If the performance of the states at thebottom of the above charts is not good enough foryou in a theory, it certainly is not good enough foractual disadvantaged students in practice.
  • www.alec.org 25A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ON STATE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTENDNOTES1. Donald J. Hernadez, 2011. How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation. Publicationof the Annie E. Casey Foundation, available on the internet at http://www.aecf.org/~/media/Pubs/Topics/Education/Other/DoubleJeopardyHowThirdGradeReadingSkillsandPovery/DoubleJeopardyReport040511FINAL.pdf.2. The next chapter contains a more complete discussion of the NAEP inclusion standards.3. You can read about all of these things and (more) in a joint publication by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and theProgressive Policy Institute: Chester E. Finn Jr., Andrew J. Rotherham, and Charles R. Hokanson Jr. (eds.) 2001. Rethink-ing Special Education for a New Century. (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation).4. Paul E. Peterson and Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón, 2010. State Standards Rise in English, Fall in Math. Article appearingin the Fall 2010 edition of Education Next, available online at http://educationnext.org/state-standards-rising-in-read-ing-but-not-in-math/5. See Mead Gruver, 2006. Wyoming schools, flush with cash, go on spending binge. Article in the Caspar Star Tribune,available on the internet at http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/article_1e231c84-e532-5841-9447-744d2088287f.html#ixzz1eMipf5wC.
  • 26 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER TWO
  • 3CHAPTERThe Desperate Need forAcademic Gains in America
  • 28 Report Card on American EducationThe Organisation for Economic Coop-eration and Development (OECD) be-gan measuring student K–12 achieve-ment in member nations during the late 1990sthrough the Programme for International Stu-dent Assessment (PISA). The 2009 PISA gave ran-dom student samples academic exams in 74 coun-tries. The PISA data below focuses on 15-year-oldstudents (tenth graders in America) as this is of-ten the minimum age of mandatory school atten-dance around the world. In short, this data is asclose to a comparable finished academic productas possible when making international achieve-ment comparisons.The U.S. Department of Education performedan additional analysis of the American data tobreak down the American results by both incomeand racial and ethnic subgroups.1Figure 8 pres-ents the data for American subgroups by incomecompared to PISA averages. The chart divides theAmerican sample into quartiles based upon thepercentage of students at the school level whoqualify for a free or reduced-price lunch under fed-eral guidelines. In 2009, a family of four could earna maximum of just over $40,000 to qualify for a re-duced price lunch, but approximately 80 percentof these students qualify for a free lunch, whichhas a maximum family income for a family of fourof just over $28,000.2Figure 8 compares Americanincome subgroups against the performance of thelowest and highest OECD performers.3The wealthiest American schools achieve quitewell—higher than the average of the highest per-forming nation. This however is far less impres-sive than it might seem, as it compares only thehighest scoring American students to the averagestudent in other nations. It would be more appro-priate to see how the wealthiest schools in Amer-ican schools compare to the wealthiest schools inother nations.The Desperate Need forAcademic Gains in AmericaFigure 8 | PISA Combined Literacy Scores for 15-year-olds American income subgroups (percentage ofschool eligible for FRL) vs. the highest and lowest OECD scores (OECD Average = 493)0 100 200 300 400 500 6000%-9.9%Korea (highest score)10%-24.9%25%-49.9%U.S. Average50%-74.9%75%-100%Mexico (lowest score)551539527502500471446425
  • www.alec.org 29THE DESPERATE NEED FOR ACADEMIC GAINS IN AMERICAMore importantly, notice how badly thingsslip by income in the American scores: Studentsattending schools with a majority of low-incomestudents score closer to the average of the lowestscoring OECD country (Mexico) than to the high-est scoring nation (South Korea). This is a disap-pointing result to say the least, given that Amer-ican schools spend approximately four times asmuch per student on a purchasing power-adjust-ed basis as schools in Mexico.4Figure 9 shows the same disappointing pat-tern by racial and ethnic subgroups.White American 15-year-old students score atan internationally competitive level, but one canonly describe the results for black and Hispan-ic students as catastrophic. Mexico’s schools mayproduce the lowest scores in the OECD, but on apoint-produced per dollar basis, they easily out-shine American schools serving black and His-panic students, despite having far lower averagefamily incomes.American schools, in short, desperately needto improve academic performance, especially forour most disadvantaged students.The National Assessment of Educational Prog-ress (NAEP) gives regular exams in reading andmathematics to random samples of students.Highly respected, the NAEP exam is certainly thetruest—and many would say the only reliable—way to compare academic achievement acrossstates. The academic tests given by states them-selves vary widely in terms of rigor, whereas thestudents who take tests such as the SAT and ACTrepresent a self-selected group.5In this chapter, we will again make use ofNAEP data on all four major NAEP exams (fourth-grade reading and math and eighth-grade readingand math). We will utilize the entire period forwhich all 50 states and the District of Columbiaparticipated in the NAEP, 2003 to 2011 (the mostrecent tests available at the time of writing).We will document the academic gains of stu-dent subgroups in each state, and rank each stateand the District of Columbia according to their ac-ademic progress. Along the way, we will be puttingstates into the Gains Hall of Fame (for gains whichat least double the national average) and the GainsHall of Shame (for achieving gains below half thenational average) for various student subgroups.Finally, we will conduct an analysis designedto maximize comparability among states by mea-suring the gains and overall achievement of gen-eral education children low-income children.Academic Gains: National ResultsFigure 10 presents the scores on the four mainNAEP examinations: fourth-grade reading,fourth-grade mathematics, eighth-grade read-ing, and eighth-grade mathematics. All 50 statesFigure 9 | PISA Combined Literacy Scores for 15-year-olds American racial subgroups vs. the highestand lowest OECD scores (OECD Average = 493)0 100 200 300 400 500 600Korea (highest score)American White StudentsU.S. AverageAmerican Hispanic StudentsAmerican Black StudentsMexico (lowest score)539525500466441425Figure 10 | National Public School NAEP Readingand Math Scores, 2003 and 20110501001502002503002164th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath4th-GradeReading8th-GradeMath220234 240261 264 276 2832003 2011
  • 30 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER THREEparticipated in the NAEP starting with the 2003exams, and the 2011 results constitute the latestavailable at the time of this writing.The good news: Academic attainment amongAmerican public school students shows improve-ment. The bad news: It is happening at a glacialpace. As a rough rule of thumb, ten points onthe NAEP exam equals approximately one gradelevel worth of academic progress.6Thus, all elsebeing equal, we would assume that a group offifth-grade students would score about 10 pointshigher than a group of fourth-grade students ifthey took the fourth-grade reading NAEP exam,for example.In 2011, fourth graders scored six points high-er on math than their predecessors had achievedin 2003. Reading improved by a smaller fourpoints for fourth graders. We see the same pat-tern in the eighth-grade scores: a seven point gainin math and only a three point gain in reading.Moving the needle on academic performancerepresents one of the greatest challenges facingAmerica, so this progress is nothing to take forgranted. America however has substantial gapto close with the highest performing countries,some of whom are making gains of their own. In-cremental gains simply will not suffice: Americanstudents need to perform at much higher levelsand at an accelerating rate.NAEP Inclusion Standards and MeasuringState-Level Academic GainsDisappointing results at the national level maskenormous variation among the states: Some stateshave been performing far better than the nation-al average and others far worse. In the section be-low, we track the same gains data for all 50 statesand the District of Columbia. Again, we utilize allfour main NAEP exams given on a regular basis(fourth-grade reading, fourth-grade math, eighth-grade reading, and eighth-grademMath) for theentire period in which all 50 states and the Dis-trict of Columbia took the exams.The reader should keep in mind that the NAEPcalculates their scores based upon a random sam-ple of students in each jurisdiction rather than giv-ing their tests to every last student. Sampling in-volves certain measurable amounts of samplingerror, meaning that the “real” scores could be eithersomewhat higher or lower than the given score.The combining of multiple tests, however, leadsto the possibility that random sampling errors willcancel each out (some tests could fall on the highside while others fall on the low side). Neverthe-less, it is better to focus on where a state falls in therankings (High, Medium, or Low) rather than ex-act point estimates. It would be best in other wordsto not have anyone look at these rankings and say,“If only we had one more point, we would over-take Georgia!” A better use of these data is to exam-ine the trend in your state and the neighborhoodwhich it inhabits in terms of performance.An issue far more serious than random sam-pling error which we can feel reasonably sure willoften cancel out between tests however is the pos-sibility of systematic error in the NAEP scores.The process of selecting a random sample of stu-dents in a state can be complicated, and possi-bly even compromised, if the state systematical-ly excludes certain types of students from testing.NAEP has long included information concerningthe inclusion rates of students with disabilitiesand students in English Language Learner pro-grams in the NAEP samples of each state. If statessystematically exclude high numbers of studentswho tend to score lower on average, it could cre-ate an artificial inflation of average NAEP scores.In 2011, the NAEP created standards for theinclusion of students in the NAEP sample for boththe math and reading exams. NAEP’s first stan-dard holds that at least 95 percent of studentsrandomly selected for NAEP testing should be in-cluded in the sample. The second NAEP standardholds that at least 85 percent of students with dis-abilities selected for testing should be includedin the sample, and at least 85 percent of studentsin English Language Learners should be includ-ed. After promulgating these standards, NAEP in-cluded an appendix in both the math and readingreports identifying states that failed to meet thenew inclusion standards.Unfortunately, there are a number of statesthat failed to meet the standards. Some states didnot fall a bit under the standards, but rather com-mitted violence against them. The methodologyemployed here to measure state gains is far moresensitive to systematic inflation than random er-ror, and we take the issue quite seriously.
  • www.alec.org 31THE DESPERATE NEED FOR ACADEMIC GAINS IN AMERICATABLE 1 | STATES FAILING TO MEET THE NAEP 95%OVERALL INCLUSION GOALS IN 2011, BY EXAM4th-GradeRead-ing4th-GradeMath8th-GradeRead-ing8th-GradeMathDelaware XGeorgia XKentucky X XMaryland X X XMassachusetts XNew Jersey X XNew Mexico XNorth Dakota X XOklahoma X XTennessee X XTexas X XThe obvious question to ask at this point:Do these varying rates of inclusion for specialneeds and ELL students have an impact on NAEPscores? NAEP itself published an analysis of in-clusion rates between the 2003 and 2005 exams,and found that exclusions had an impact on theoverall gains in scores between those years in anumber of states.7More worrying still, the gain scores of sub-groups of students as presented below will be pro-foundly more sensitive to exclusion rates. For ex-ample, the NAEP reading report reveals that notonly did Maryland fail to meet the overall inclu-sion standards for three out of the four exams; theymissed the 85 percent of ELL and special educa-tion standards by a very wide margin. On the 20114th-grade reading exam, only 31 percent of specialeducation students in Maryland were included inthe sample. On the 8th-grade reading sample, only30 percent were included in the Maryland sample.Maryland’s inclusion of ELL students also fell farbelow the standards on both exams.Kentucky was state that fell far below theNAEP inclusion standards in 2011. On the 20114th-grade reading exam, Kentucky’s 4th-gradereading inclusion rate for children with disabil-ities amounted to only 45 percent. Figure 11presents the learning gains by disability statuson the NAEP 4th-grade reading exam between2003 and 2011.It is possible that the schools in Kentucky de-veloped a strong reading intervention that workswonders with children with disabilities, but notwith regular education students. It is also pos-sible that Kentucky’s sky-high exclusion ratehad next to nothing to do with the NAEP gainsshown above. Stranger things may have hap-pened in the past.We, however, find it profoundly unlikely thatthis is actually the case. While a gain for childrenwith disabilities almost three times as large as forchildren without disabilities does not by itself con-stitute a smoking gun, coupled with the extremelyhigh exclusion rates, it gets close. Very close.NAEP created inclusion standards for areason: They matter. As we proceed to exam-ine state learning gains, we will therefore pur-sue a dual strategy. In the presentation of gainsamong student subgroups (such as studentswith disabilities, Hispanic students, black stu-dents, and so on) we will exclude those stateswhich failed to meet the overall 95 percent in-clusion standard on one or more NAEP exam.With evidence that exclusion rates had signif-icant impacts on prior overall scores, we canscarcely imagine that the scores for Hispanicstudents, for instance, will not be profoundlydistorted by a high exclusion rate of ELL chil-dren. High exclusion rates for special educationstudents can be expected to impact a variety ofsubgroups, in addition to utterly warping thesubgroup gains for special education studentsthemselves. High rates of exclusion of both spe-cial education and ELL students should be ex-pected to distort a variety of subgroups.Figure 11 | Kentucky’s Point Gain on NAEP 4th-Grade Reading Exam, 2003-2011, by StudentDisability Classification05101520176Students withDisabilitiesStudents withoutDisabilities
  • 32 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER THREEThe second part of our analysis, however,will be to compare the gains for all 50 states andthe District of Columbia according to the gainsof a very particular subset of students: low-in-come general education students. As we explainbelow—and as was done in the 16th edition ofthe Report Card on American Education—this ap-proach not only maximizes the comparability be-tween jurisdictions, it also completely sidestepsthe inclusion issue and allows us to rank the gainsof all 50 states and D.C.State Rankings of Low-Income Student GainsThe U.S. Department of Agriculture providesfree and reduced-price lunches for students fromlow-income families. Figure 12 tracks the com-bined academic progress for all free and reduced-price lunch-eligible students in all 50 states andthe District of Columbia on the combined NAEPtests: fourth-grade reading, fourth-grade mathe-matics, eighth-grade reading, and eighth-grademathematics. The gains scores constitute a sim-ple calculation: subtracting the 2003 scores fromthe 2011 scores for free and reduced-price lunch-eligible students.There is much of note in Figure 12. The Dis-trict of Columbia scores the largest gains amonglow-income students, with a combined point in-crease of 47 points. Averaged across four differenttests, D.C. students achieved at a level more thanone grade level higher per exam in 2011 than in2003. While the scores in the District of Colum-bia are still low, they are moving in the right di-rection at a rapid clip.Since the 1990s, the District of Columbia hasengaged in a multifaceted reform project. Mostprominently, the District of Columbia has the na-tion’s strongest charter school law (as rated by theCenter for Education Reform).8Congress passedthe D.C. charter school law in 1996, and in 2011,40 percent of the District’s children attendedcharter schools.The steady loss of District of Columbia Pub-lic School students to charter schools (and morerecently, to a much smaller voucher program) ad-vanced steadily for years before and after the tu-multuous tenure of Michelle Rhee DCPS Chan-cellor. These gains should embolden the districtsreformers to continue pursuit on strong reforms.Figure 12 | Size of Gains for Free andReduced-Price Lunch-Eligible Students on theCombined NAEP 4th- and 8th-Grade Readingand Math Exams, 2003-2011Note: Not all states are represented due tofailure to meet the 95% inclusion rate-10 0 10 20 30 40 50West VirginiaNew HampshireSouth DakotaOregonIowaUtahMissouriNebraskaSouth CarolinaMaineWashingtonVirginiaWyomingMinnesotaConnecticutVermontKansasAlaskaNew YorkMississippiMontanaIdahoColoradoIndianaMichiganLouisianaNorth CarolinaWisconsinArkansasOhioCaliforniaNational PublicIllinoisArizonaHawaiiRhode IslandPennsylvaniaNevadaFloridaAlabamaDistrict of Columbia 474342424040373635333231292928272726252525242322212120202018181513121098742-7
  • www.alec.org 33THE DESPERATE NEED FOR ACADEMIC GAINS IN AMERICAMaine, South Carolina, Nebraska, Missouri,Utah, Iowa, Oregon, South Dakota, New Hamp-shire, and West Virginia meanwhile all earn “Hallof Shame” status by notching combined gains forlow-income children one half the size or less ofthe national average. Notice that low-income chil-dren regressed in absolute terms in only one ju-risdiction: West Virginia.An in-depth investigation of what has gonewrong with K–12 performance in West Virginialies outside of the scope of this book. Note, how-ever, that if we were parents, taxpayers or law-makers from the Mountain State that we wouldstart looking for answers right away.Black Student Academic GainsAcademic gains among black students have longbeen a priority for the country for very compellingreasons (see Figures 8 and 9). Figure 13 chartsthe combined NAEP academic gains for black stu-dents during the 2003–2011 period. Note thatHawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire,North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Ver-mont, and Wyoming all had black-student popu-lations too small for NAEP to reliably sample, andthus are not included.A number of southwestern and southernstates populate the top 10 for black-studentgains—including Nevada, Arkansas, Florida,California, Arizona, Alabama, and Colorado.Some of these states, like Florida, have relative-ly high scores for black students, and others areplaying catch up from very low scores. The largegains in the District of Columbia are obvious-ly critical given the predominance of black stu-dents in the district.On the other end of the scale, a number ofstates made practically no progress among theirblack students. North Carolina, Alaska, Michi-gan, Iowa, Washington, West Virginia, South Car-olina, Missouri, and Oregon all receive “Hall ofShame” status for gains among black students lessthan half of the national average. Oregon shame-fully saw a 13 point regression between 2003 and2011. This should be cause for alarm in the Bea-ver State.Figure 13 | Size of Gains for Black Studentson the Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-GradeReading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Note: Not all states are represented due tofailure to meet the 95% inclusion rateNote: Not all states are represented due toinsufficient sample sizes-20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50OregonMissouriSouth CarolinaWest VirginiaWashingtonIowaMichiganAlaskaNorth CarolinaOhioVirginiaNebraskaMississippiNew YorkConnecticutWisconsinLouisianaIllinoisIndianaNational PublicMinnesotaColoradoArizonaPennsylvaniaKansasCaliforniaAlabamaDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaArkansasRhode IslandNevada 484643424139393935333130302827272624241717161514131297741-13
  • 34 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER THREEWhite Student Academic GainsFigure 14 contains the combined NAEP learninggains for white students in all 50 states. The pop-ulation of white students in the District of Colum-bia lacked the necessary size for reliable samplingfor some tests, and thus is not included.The Hall of Fame is populated by Hawaii, Ne-vada, and Rhode Island, which all made progressgreater than twice the national average. The Hallof Shame for academic progress for white students(less than half of the progress of the national av-erage) includes North Carolina, South Carolina,Figure 15 | Size of Gains for Hispanic Studentson the Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-GradeReading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Note: Not all states are represented due tofailure to meet the 95% inclusion rateNote: Not all states are represented due toinsufficient sample sizes-10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60OhioNew YorkVirginiaOregonWashingtonWisconsinConnecticutWyomingMichiganHawaiiNorth CarolinaIndianaIowaUtahPennsylvaniaKansasColoradoFloridaNational PublicCaliforniaArkansasIllinoisArizonaNebraskaIdahoMinnesotaAlaskaDistrict of ColumbiaRhode IslandNevada 5151474140373736363332323129262524232222191715131210998-1Figure 14 | Size of Gains for White Studentson the Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-GradeReading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Note: Not all states are represented due toinsufficient sample sizesNote: Not all states are represented due tofailure to meet the 95% inclusion rate-10 0 10 20 30 40 50MichiganNew YorkLouisianaWest VirginiaIowaSouth CarolinaNorth CarolinaMissouriOregonSouth DakotaIllinoisMississippiIndianaWyomingVirginiaNebraskaAlaskaWisconsinNational PublicMaineKansasFloridaConnecticutMinnesotaVermontNew HampshireUtahOhioIdahoArizonaMontanaArkansasWashingtonCaliforniaColoradoAlabamaPennsylvaniaRhode IslandNevadaHawaii 4638333130282423222221212020191917161616161615141414141211101098543-1-2-7-8
  • www.alec.org 35THE DESPERATE NEED FOR ACADEMIC GAINS IN AMERICAIowa, West Virginia, Louisiana, New York, andMichigan. Scores for West Virginia, Louisiana,New York, and Michigan fell in absolute terms.Hispanic Student Academic GainsFigure 15 presents the combined NAEP gains forHispanic students. Alabama, Louisiana, Maine,Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire,North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota,Vermont, and West Virginia had Hispanic popu-lations too small for reliable NAEP sampling.States scoring above the national average forgains among Hispanic students include Nevada,Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, Alaska,Minnesota, Nebraska, Idaho, Arizona, Illinois,and Arkansas. Wyoming, Connecticut, Wiscon-sin, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, New York,and Ohio fall into “Hall of Shame” territory withrespect to Hispanic gains, with Ohio experienc-ing a slight decline between 2003 and 2011.Disabled Student Academic GainsFigure 16 presents state gains for children withdisabilities. The widest variation in gains amongstates comes with students with disabilities. Be-tween 2003 and 2011, children with disabilitiesthe highest gaining state (Florida) enjoyed com-bined NAEP gains of 54 points. On the other endof the scale, a number of states experienced cat-astrophic declines in scores among children withdisabilities, paced by the Carolinas and Vermont.Children with disabilities made a 30 point de-cline in North Carolina and a crushing 44 pointdecline in South Carolina.Florida has adopted two broad policies tocontribute to their leading gains among childrenwith disabilities. First, Florida’s formula for grad-ing schools and districts (A–F) counts twice thelearning gains of children in the bottom quartileof the previous year’s accountability testing. Flor-ida schools and districts therefore have a power-ful incentive to get low-performing students mov-ing in the right direction academically.Second, Florida passed the nation’s first choiceprogram for children with disabilities, the McKayScholarship Program, in 1999. After many yearsof operation, only around 5 percent of Floridastudents with disabilities utilize the McKay pro-gram to transfer from a public to a private school.Note that all parents of students with disabilitiesin Florida have the option of leaving if their par-ents feel that the needs of their children are notbeing met.The “Hall of Shame” list for students withdisabilities is long: Colorado, New York, Maine,South Dakota, Nebraska, Hawaii, California,Alaska, Iowa, West Virginia, Michigan, Arizo-na, Virginia, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Missouri,Oregon, North Carolina, Vermont, and SouthFigure 16 | Size of Gains for Students withDisabilities on the Combined NAEP 4th- and8th-Grade Reading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Note: Not all states are represented due tofailure to meet the 95% inclusion rateNote: Not all states are represented due toinsufficient sample sizes-50-40-30-20-10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60South CarolinaVermontNorth CarolinaOregonMissouriMississippiRhode IslandVirginiaArizonaMichiganWest VirginiaIowaAlaskaCaliforniaHawaiiNebraskaSouth DakotaMaineNew YorkColoradoWashingtonIllinoisMontanaKansasUtahNational PublicIdahoWyomingMinnesotaIndianaConnecticutWisconsinNevadaLouisianaNew HampshireDistrict of ColumbiaPennsylvaniaArkansasOhioAlabamaFlorida 544848444139282726252121212120181611111010997610-1-3-3-3-4-7-8-10-14-19-22-26-44-30
  • 36 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER THREECarolina. The spread between the top performerand bottom performer in terms of gains and loss-es almost constitutes 100 points—by far the larg-est of any subgroup examined.Maximizing Comparability: Gains forGeneral-Education Low-Income StudentsEarlier we discussed the challenges regarding thecomparability of NAEP scores due to the differenttreatment of children with disabilities and Eng-lish Language Learners regarding subgroup gains.Here, however, we employ a method of compar-ison which will allow us to sidestep these inclu-sion issues entirely while maximizing compa-rability between all 50 states and the District ofColumbia. We do so by employing the methodol-ogy developed in ALEC’s 16th edition of the Re-port Card on American Education: by comparingthe student learning gains of low-income gener-al education students.This method maximizes comparability bynarrowing the income range of students underconsideration. For the 2011–2012 school year, afamily of four could earn a maximum of $41,348and retain eligibility for a reduced-price lunch un-der federal guidelines. An estimated 80 percentof free and reduced-price lunch-eligible students,however, qualify for free lunch, and the maxi-mum income for a family of four for free lunch-es amounted to only $29,055 for the 2011–2012school year.9The variation in income for the free and re-duced-price lunch program constitutes a far nar-rower band than that for students whose fami-lies earn too much to qualify for the program. Thenon-eligible population literally varies from chil-dren whose parents earned $41,349 to the chil-dren of billionaires. States vary enormously infamily income and wealth, so isolating the prog-ress of the low-income children helps to level theplaying field for the sake of comparison amongrich and poor states.The next step in the comparison is to onlyexamine the general education low-income stu-dents. Some states have very high numbers of stu-dents learning the English language as a non-na-tive speaker, and states vary considerably in thepercentages of special education students. More-over, states deal with the testing of ELL and spe-cial education students in different ways when itFigure 17 | Size of Gains for Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible General Education Studentson the Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-GradeReading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Note: Not all states are represented due to failure to meet the95% inclusion rateNote: Not all states are represented due to insufficient samplesizes-10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60West VirginiaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaUtahOregonWyomingIowaIdahoNebraskaSouth CarolinaMissouriWashingtonOklahomaMontanaArkansasMinnesotaMaineLouisianaKentuckyNew HampshireConnecticutAlaskaMichiganMississippiKansasIndianaDelawareArizonaTennesseeNational PublicNew YorkNew MexicoVirginiaTexasOhioWisconsinIllinoisFloridaCaliforniaNorth CarolinaAlabamaGeorgiaColoradoRhode IslandVermontHawaiiPennsylvaniaNevadaMarylandNew JerseyMassachusettsDistrict of Columbia 545349474545444342393836353434343432323231313029292929292827272725252524232321211816151414141092-1-130
  • www.alec.org 37THE DESPERATE NEED FOR ACADEMIC GAINS IN AMERICAcomes to NAEP testing—leading some, includingyour authors, to suspect the comparability of cer-tain subgroup scores.By measuring the gains of students outside ofthe ELL and special education programs, we neat-ly sidestep these problems. In the 16th edition ofthe Report Card on American Education we decidedto make no control for student ethnicity or race,and we do so again here. In that earlier edition,we provide a lengthy justification for this positionwhich we will summarize briefly here.We reject any and all attempts at genetic ex-planations for achievement gaps, leaving differ-ences in education policy and culture as possiblesources for achievement gaps, and for variationin achievement of similar groups between states.We note, however, that the control of culture isprecisely the mission of schools. The school staffcontrols the school culture and keeps the focusof students on academic achievement. Ineffectiveschools fail to control school culture. In the worstcases, students seize control of school culture andstigmatize academic achievement through peerpressure and/or violence.We do not believe anyone has ever seen evi-dence of a “racial combat effectiveness” gap in theUnited States Marine Corps because it doesn’t ex-ist. The United States Marine Corps enlists peo-ple from all states, races, and classes of Ameri-can society, but because it is an organization witha strong culture and mission, it transforms peo-ple of all backgrounds into Marines. Likewise, thejob of schools is to transform ignorant childreninto numerate and literate young people with atleast the minimum skills to succeed in the world.To be certain, some states face a much moredifficult task than others. Our methodology aimsto maximize comparability among states, but wemake no claim regarding the fact that some statesface greater cultural challenges than others. Gainsamong general education low-income students re-flect success in overcoming these challenges, andmay also reflect the relative ease or difficulty ofthe challenge. Referencing the thought experi-ment from the previous chapter, if you had to bereincarnated as a general education poor child,you might reasonably choose to chance the roughparts of Bangor, Maine over Dallas, Detroit, LosAngeles, or Miami that have more to do with is-sues such as crime and drug use than schools.We, however, have no way to reliable meth-od to judge such things, and given the high levelof spending enjoyed in the United States relativeother (often more successful) nations, our sym-pathies lie with underserved children rather thanwith excuse-making adults. Taxpayers providegenerous levels of funding to American schoolsunder the hope and belief that those schools willprovide basic skills and opportunity for students.Readers should regard the data of Figure 17therefore as quite important: Every state has plen-ty of general-education students whose parentsor guardians do not make a great deal of money.The scores are a snapshot, and they actually fail tocapture the gains of states that have been makinglarge gains among students with disabilities andEnglish Language Learners. Moreover, the 2003–2011 period is simply the period in which all 50states participated in NAEP. Some states experi-enced considerable gains before 2003, and oth-er may simply be bouncing back from academiclosses which occurred before 2003. Such imper-fections are unfortunate, yet unavoidable.Readers should also bear in mind that stateK–12 policy is simply only one of the thousandsof factors that influence these scores. While a va-riety of sophisticated organizations rank the qual-ity of state policy, moreover, almost none of themmeasure the quality of implementation of thosepolicies. In the end, student learning happensthrough classroom time and homework projects.In the best case scenarios, state education reformpolicies will simply nudge this process in theright direction, but it is simply one factor amonga great many. Even helpful policies should be ex-pected to have sometimes long lags between pas-sage of laws and actual implementation, and weknow of no policy in education or otherwise poorimplementation cannot substantially undermine.With these caveats in mind, we believe that thecomparison presented below represents a moredefensible comparison of gains than the examina-tion of mere statewide NAEP scores. Any reason-able person would desire to see their state abovethe national average in Figure 17, and would cer-tainly want to avoid the bottom of the rankings.Readers should notice that there is no one pol-icy path to achieving gains. The District of Co-lumbia, the nation’s leader in general educationlow-income gains, pursued reform paths that
  • 38 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER THREEincluded heavy doses of parental choice. Exam-ining the District’s 4th grade reading scores overa long period of time, you will find that the cat-astrophically low score of 188 in 1992 fell to aneven more pathetic 179 in 1994. That’s almost afull grade-level drop from an already low base.A score of 179 is low enough to make your au-thors wonder what the score would be if Districtofficials had decided to shutter the schools andsimply gave every child in D.C. a library card andhoped for the best. Mind you, that would not haveworked well either, but it could not work thatmuch worse than DCPS circa 1994. Since 1994,however, scores have climbed substantially. Thepercentage scoring basic or better increased from24 percent in 1994 to 44 percent in 2011. Mathimprovement has also been impressive and showsthe same trend-progress after the mid-1990s.Shortly after D.C.’s scores hit rock bottom, atrend began that would lead to a decreasing per-centage of District children attending the Districtof Columbia Public Schools. Today, more than 100charter schools operate in the District and educateover 30,000 children. D.C.’s charter law passed in1996 (near the bottom of D.C.’s performance) andthe opening of schools has been very strong. In1996–1997, DCPS had 78,648 students enrolled.In 2007–2008, enrollment had dropped to 58,191.The Opportunity Scholarship Program also con-tributed to the decline in DCPS enrollment.The rise of charter schools and the shrinkingenrollment of DCPS served as a crucial backdropfor a number of other policy changes—most no-tably under the chancellorship of Michelle Rheebetween 2007 and 2010. Rhee closed multipleschools, revamped the contract with teachersto recognize merit, and terminated the employ-ment of a large number of principals. Rhee’s ul-timate impact on student learning will only be-come completely clear with the passage of timeand subsequent NAEP data.At the opposite end of the scale, we find Ne-braska, Iowa, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, Utah,North Dakota, South Dakota, and West Virgin-ia constituting the “Hall of Shame” for produc-ing academic gains for general education low-in-come students. A greater than 50 point differencestands between top performers such as the Dis-trict of Columbia and Massachusetts and thebottom dwelling Dakotas and West Virginia.While factors other than state policy doubtless-ly help to drive trends in these numbers, we arewilling to boldly walk out on a limb to proclaimthat the District of Columbia and Massachusettshave been doing some things right to gather theirgains, and that Hall of Shame members ought torethink their improvement strategies.Not Because It is Easy, But Because It is HardThe most important number in this book is pre-sented in Figure 18. That was the national averagegains across the four National Assessment of Ed-ucational Progress exams for the 2003–2011 peri-od. Averaged across four different tests, Americanstudents performed approximately 5 points bet-ter on each exam in 2011 than they had in 2003.Figure 18 presents this information graphi-cally. Each of the four NAEP exams has a 0–500point scale, making the scale for the combinedtests 0–2000.Figure 18 is frustrating and underwhelming.One can simultaneously describe an average ad-vance of between three and four points per testas “better than nothing” and “disappointing.” Fig-ure 18 must be viewed as a preliminary evalua-tion of the only major national education reformof the last decade—No Child Left Behind. Ches-ter Finn summarized the “meh” results of NCLBquite well:Bush took for granted that the standards-based education reforms that had workedpretty well back home, particularly for poorand black and brown kids (as even the RANDFigure 18 | National Average of Combined NAEPScores on 4th- and 8th-Grade Reading and MathExams for All Students, 2003 and 2011020040060080010001200987 10072003 2011
  • www.alec.org 39THE DESPERATE NEED FOR ACADEMIC GAINS IN AMERICACorporation attested back in 2000), wouldwork for America. They entailed standards incore subjects, plenty of testing, reams of (dis-aggregated) data, lots of transparency regard-ing school outcomes, and accountability mea-sures tied to those outcomes.With the benefit of hindsight, however, we cansee that Bush didn’t fully appreciate how muchthe tools available to the federal governmentdiffer from those wielded by state leaders.That’s the main reason NCLB has been a . . .well, choose your own term, any from “damag-ing flop” to “less than complete success.” (I’msomewhere in the middle, myself.)Washington simply has no capacity to com-pel states and districts to follow the Texasmodel—or any other model. Yes, it can makethem go through the motions, submit plans,and report data. It can dole out and (rarely)withhold money. But it cannot make anyoneset rigorous standards, select good tests, estab-lish reasonable “cut scores” (part of the Texasformula involved slowly raising those targets),or successfully intervene in failing schools ordistricts. Nor can it guarantee decent schoolchoices or competent teachers.NCLB tried. It tried harder than any federal-education law in history. Its shortcomings aredue in large measure to its architects’ failureto distinguish between what a state govern-ment in a place like Austin can make happenin K–12 education and what Uncle Sam canbring about.10Finn correctly notes that the federal govern-ment is incredibly limited—Constitutionally andpolitically—in its ability to force states, districts,or schools to engage in truly meaningful reform.State and local leaders and educators must leadthe drive to meaningful reform. NCLB preventedneither large gains in some jurisdictions nor stag-nation in others. The lesson for state lawmakersand educators is clear: They should take owner-ship for the academic gains in their states.Note the enormous variations found in thedata: Washington, D.C. students gained 54 pointswhile West Virginia and South Dakota each lost apoint on the combined NAEP exams. A 55-pointswing between worst and first tells us that sub-stantial improvement is possible at the state andlocal level.State lawmakers should focus on aligning theincentives of the adults in the system to matchthe interests of children and taxpayers. Ratherthan bemoan a lack of parental involvement, forexample, strong policies can promote more of it.Strong transparency policies, academic instead ofsocial promotion policies, and parental choice,for example, encourage greater levels of parentalinvolvement.Focusing on aligning the interests of adultswith the interests of children while increasing pa-rental involvement in a variety of ways will pro-duce improvement. Our efforts should be focusedon thoughtful management of incentives to pro-duce improvement. This is mostly going to in-volve sustained hand to hand combat in state cap-itals—a long hard slog.Let’s get on with it. Sometimes the hard wayis the only way.ENDNOTES1. H.L. Fleischman, P.J. Hopstock, M.P. Pelczar, and B.E. Shelley, 2010. Highlights From PISA 2009: Performance of U.S.15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context (NCES 2011-004). U.S.Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Available on the internet at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011004.pdf.2. See United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Income Guidelines at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/notices/iegs/IEGs09-10.pdf.3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Food and Nutrition Service Income Guidelines: Child Nutrition Programs—IncomeEligibility Guidelines,” Federal Register 74, no. 58 (March 27, 2009): p. 13,410, available at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/notices/iegs/IEGs09-10.pdf.4. See OECD, PF1.2: Public spending on education at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/45/48/37864432.pdf.
  • 40 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER THREE5. The providers of the SAT and ACT warn vigorously against using their tests to compare states, due to the problemof the self-selected sample. Average SAT and/or ACT scores can drop or rise based upon the percentage of studentschoosing to take the test.6. On both the NAEP reading and math exams, eighth-grade scores are approximately 40 points higher than fourth-grade scores, leading education researchers to use 10 points of progress as approximately equal to an average year’sworth of academic gains.7. See NAEP Investigating the Potential Effects of Exclusion Rates on Assessment Results http://nces.ed.gov/nationsre-portcard/about/2005_effect_exclusion.asp.8. See the Center for Education Reform’s rankings of the nation’s charter school laws at http://www.edreform.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ranking_chart-1.pdf.9. To examine the income eligibility guidelines for the Free and Reduced-Price Lunch program, see http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/notices/iegs/IEGs11-12.pdf.10. Chester E. Finn Jr., 2011. “Good for Texas. Good for America?” Article appearing on National Review Online, available athttp://www.nationalreview.com/articles/269607/good-texas-good-america-chester-e-finn-jr.
  • 2011 ALEC Report CardEducation Policy GradingCHAPTER4
  • 42 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER FOURIn last year’s edition of the Report Card onAmerican Education, we created a new sys-tem to rank the education reform policiesof each of the 50 states and the District of Co-lumbia. These grades are based on whether stateshave enacted policies to reform their educationsystems through quality testing and account-ability mechanisms, improving teacher quality,and expanding parents’ ability to choose the bestlearning environment for their children. We de-rived these grades based on measures and grad-ing systems from education organizations or ex-perts that analyzed various aspects of educationreform. For this Report Card, we updated ourrankings to include new measures and, wherev-er possible, to reflect new reform and policies thathave been enacted.We calculated states’ education policy gradesin the following manner. First, we converted allrankings into letter grades where possible. Forexample, we converted homeschooling regulationburden levels as such: none = A, low = B, moder-ate = C and high = D. Next all letter grades wereconverted to a numerical score (A=4, B=3, C=2,D=1, F=0), tallied, and divided by the number ofcategories in which a score was present. (In somestates, grades were awarded with pluses and mi-nuses, and numerical conversions were alteredappropriately. A grade of B-, for example, wasconverted to a numeric score of 2.666, while a C+was converted to 2.333.) In addition to the let-ter grades in four main reform categories, statescould earn extra credit of 0.25 points for each“Yes” answer in four possible categories.Policy CategoriesFollowing the original education policy rankingsthat were used in the 16th Report Card on AmericanEducation, these policy grades were based on theupdated analysis and rankings of education re-form groups for four reform categories.Academic Standards (Compared to 2009NAEP): State’s academic standards compared tothe 2009 NAEP measures how rigorous a state’sacademic proficiency standards are when com-pared to the U.S. Department of Education’sNAEP exam. These grades were drawn froman analysis by Professor Paul Peterson and Car-los Xabel Lastra-Anadón of Harvard Universityin the Fall 2010 Education Next journal article“State Standards Rise in Reading, Fall in Math.”1To provide context about the direction of statestandards, each state’s reform grade also includesPeterson and Lastra-Anadón’s analysis of whetherthe state’s academic standards were being raisedor lowered between their last comparison withthe 2007 NAEP exams.Charter School Law: The charter schoolrankings analyze whether a state has a charterschool law and, if so, how strong the law is in sup-porting the success of charter schools. The Centerfor Education Reform provides this information intheir annual charter school law grades.2Charterschools are innovative public schools that agreeto meet performance standards set by governingauthorities but are otherwise free from most regu-lations governing traditional public schools. Thisautonomy allows for new teaching methods, spe-cial curricula and academic programs, and flex-ible governance policies, such as holding longerschool days.Homeschooling Regulation Burden Lev-el: The homeschooling regulation burden lev-el indicates the reporting and regulatory require-ments parents face when deciding to home schooltheir children. The Home School Legal Defense2011 ALEC Report Card Education Policy Grading
  • www.alec.org 432011 ALEC Report Card Education Policy GradingAssociation rates the states’ oversight of home-schooling in four categories (none, low, moder-ate, and high).3As many as 2 million students arehome schooled each year.4Teacher Quality Policies: Grades for wheth-er states are identifying high quality teachers, re-taining effective teachers, and removing inef-fective teachers are obtained from the NationalCouncil on Teacher Quality’s 2009 State Teach-er Policy Yearbook (with 2010 updates). Academicresearch shows that the greatest determining fac-tor regarding a student’s academic success withinschool walls is teacher effectiveness.Additional CategoriesSome education reform policies do not lend them-selves to being graded based on a traditional grad-ing scale. Moreover, some education reforms webelieve should be included in a state’s educationreform grades have not been “graded” or analyzedbased on a scale that can be easily converted to anA–F grade. For this reason, we included four ex-tra credit opportunities for states:1) Does the state have a private school choiceprogram?2) Does the state have multiple private schoolchoice programs?3) Does the state have a statewide virtualschool?4) Does the state offer full-time virtualschooling?Private School Choice: A growing body ofempirical evidence suggests that private schoolpolicies that allow families to choose the bestschool for their children yield positive outcomes,including improved family satisfaction, high-er academic achievement, and improved gradua-tion rates.5For this reason, each state is evaluat-ed based on whether it has a private school choiceprogram (such as vouchers or scholarships, tu-ition or scholarship tax credits, or education sav-ings accounts). In addition, states could earn ex-tra credit if they have multiple school choiceprograms. This analysis was based on our ownreview of state’s school choice policies and analy-sis from organization such as the Friedman Foun-dation for Educational Choice and the Alliance forSchool Choice.Virtual or Digital Learning: Looking to thefuture, we expect the debate about choice in edu-cation to shift to a conversation about how best tocustomize learning to suit a child’s specific needs.As we discuss in Chapter 5, digital or virtuallearning programs are a likely focus for future ed-ucation reform efforts, as policymakers seek toprovide students with the opportunity to ben-efit from the innovative digital or virtual learn-ing programs. For the purpose of our state educa-tion reform grades, states could earn extra creditdepending on their policies for virtual or digitallearning based on the analysis of the EvergreenEducation Group in their 2011 report: “KeepingPace with K–12 Online Learning: An Annual Re-view of Policy and Practice.”6States could earn0.25 points as extra credit if they have a statewidevirtual school or state-led virtual initiative. Theycould also earn an extra 0.25 points if they havemulti-district, full-time virtual school programs.Education Policy GradingChanges from Last YearWe have made a few minor changes in the edu-cation policy grades from last year’s Report Card.First, the 16th Report Card included rankings forwhether or not a state had a genuine alternativeteacher certification program, based on an im-portant Education Next article from 2009. Provid-ing alternative pathways for high-quality teachersto enter the classroom is valuable, but we decid-ed this year to base our teacher quality rankingsTable 2 | Letter Grade KeyGrade Low Score High ScoreA 3.834 4.166A- 3.5 3.833B+ 3.167 3.499B 2.834 3.166B- 2.5 2.833C+ 2.167 2.499C 1.834 2.166C- 1.5 1.833D+ 1.167 1.499D 0.834 1.166D- 0.5 0.833F 0.00 0.499
  • 44 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER FOURsolely on the National Countil on Teacher Qual-ity’s (NCTQ) overall teacher-quality grades, inpart because there has not been a follow-up to the2009 Education Next analysis.Second, last year’s Report Card included a fac-tor measuring whether states had an inter- or in-tra-district open enrollment policy. We believethat giving families the option to choose withinthe traditional public school system is an impor-tant policy because it both expands students’ op-tions and encourages healthy competition with-in the traditional public school system. However,these policies vary greatly in their utility basedon how strongly school districts enforce thesemechanisms and whether families have a realopportunity to transfer to better public schools.We chose not to include this factor in our state ed-ucation reform grades because the mere existenceof an open enrollment policy does not mean thatfamilies have real public school choice. Neverthe-less, policymakers should work to expand choicewithin the public school system, and can reviewtheir state’s open enrollment polices at the Na-tional Center for Education Statistics’ “State Edu-cation Reforms” page.7Is the Investment in State Per-Student PublicEducation Spending Paying Off?Each state’s education reform page also includes asnapshot of the state’s current average per-studentJurisdiction Letter GradeAlabama D+Alaska B-Arizona BArkansas CCalifornia BColorado BConnecticut C+Delaware C+District of Columbia BFlorida B+Georgia BHawaii C+Idaho B-Illinois C+Indiana BIowa C-Kansas C-Kentucky CLouisiana B-Maine C-Maryland C-Massachusetts B-Michigan B-Minnesota B+Mississippi CMissouri A-Jurisdiction Letter GradeMontana CNebraska D+Nevada C+New Hampshire C+New Jersey B-New Mexico BNew York C-North Carolina CNorth Dakota D+Ohio BOklahoma BOregon CPennsylvania C+Rhode Island CSouth Carolina C+South Dakota C-Tennessee CTexas C+Utah BVermont D+Virginia C-Washington CWest Virginia D+Wisconsin B-Wyoming C+Table 3 | State Education Policy Grades
  • www.alec.org 452011 ALEC Report Card Education Policy Gradingexpenditure for every child enrolled in publicschool. This figure is drawn from the NationalCenter for Education Statistics’ 2010 Digest of Ed-ucation Statistics; specifically, from the Digest’stable for per-student spending based on “fall en-rollment” for the 2007–08 school year.8In the2007–2008 school year, the national average was$11,950 per student.To provide some context for how well taxpay-ers’ investments in public education are payingoff in terms of students’ academic achievement,each state’s reform page presents an analysis ofhow much each state has spent, on average, by thetime a child reaches fourth grade, along with thepercentage of students scoring “Proficient” on theNAEP reading examination.For example, in the state of Illinois, taxpay-ers spend $11,874 per student, or approximate-ly $47,000 between first and fourth grade. Yet ac-cording to the 2011 NAEP, only 32 percent of thestate’s fourth graders scored “Proficient” (or arereading on grade level). There are about 104,000fourth graders in the Land of Lincoln who are un-able to read despite having nearly $50,000 spenton their educations.Grading States on the Performance ofGeneral-Education Low-Income StudentsHigh-income children score better, on average,than children from low-income families. In 2009,the Census Bureau reports that the per-capita in-come of the wealthiest state (Connecticut) was al-most 88 percent higher than that of the pooreststate (Mississippi).9Unsurprisingly, in Connecti-cut, 27 percent of children qualify for a free or re-duced-price lunch under federal standards, whilein Mississippi 68 percent qualify. Because Con-necticut schools brim with middle- and high-in-come children, whereas Mississippi schools havefar more low-income children, one should notbe surprised to find that Connecticut has high-er NAEP scores than Mississippi. Low-incomestudents can learn, mind you, but higher-incomechildren tend to learn much more at home, andgenerally enter school with an advantage overtheir peers.When ranking states’ academic performance,we ought not to simply congratulate Connecticutschools for the good fortune of having relativelywealthy student bodies. Nor should we castigateMississippi schools for the poverty levels of theirstudents. Instead, our rankings seek to make asmuch of an “apples to apples” comparison as pos-sible by grading states based on similar students.States also vary in the number of childrenidentified for special education services and in thepercentage of students who are not native Eng-lish speakers. In New Mexico, schools have des-ignated more than 18 percent of their students asEnglish Language Learners (ELL) while in WestVirginia less than 1 percent of students are ELL.The fact that New Mexico has a rate of non-nativeEnglish speakers more than 18 times higher thanWest Virginia’s makes a straightforward compari-son of states’ academic performance problematic.In order to maximize comparability, our rank-ing system judges each state based on the NAEPperformance of children eligible for free or re-duced-priced lunches based on their family in-come that are not enrolled in either special edu-cation or English Language Learner programs. Bytracking the absolute performance and progress(or lack thereof) of general education programstudents of families with low incomes, we hope tominimize the vast differences between state K–12populations to a relatively common metric.Every state has sizeable populations of low-in-come students. If one were to focus on, say, ra-cial and ethnic achievement gaps, he or she wouldhave to accept that many states’ samples of blackor Hispanic students are too small for the NAEPto reliably report.For example, the 2011 NAEP fourth-gradereading exam did not report black-student sub-groups’ scores for Idaho, Maine, Montana, NewHampshire, Utah or Wyoming. The NAEP sim-ply cannot give a solid estimate of black student’sscores in these states because there are too few ofthem in the population, and thus in the sample.Similarly, NAEP gave no Hispanic subgroup re-sults for Maine, Vermont, or West Virginia on thesame exam. At the beginning of our comparison(2003) even more states lacked black and Hispan-ic subgroups.The NAEP does however have reliable scoresfor low-income children in all 50 states and theDistrict of Columbia. In addition to the fact thatlow-income children are ubiquitous, there is alsoless economic variation between such studentsfrom state to state.
  • 46 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER FOURHigh-income states, of course, will haveschool systems relatively flush with students farabove the FRL income limits. Both the familyheaded by a modestly successful manual labor-er and that headed by a billionaire will be includ-ed in the “Not Eligible for Free or Reduced-PriceLunch” category. The wider variation, therefore,limits the utility of the non-FRL category for pur-poses of ranking the quality of state education ef-forts. Lower-income children are on average moreacademically reliant on their schools. Higher-in-come children, on the other hand, have greaterprospects to overcome deficits in their educationthrough learning at home or private tutoring.This is not to say that the education of mid-dle- and higher-income children, special educa-tion children, and non-native English speakers isunimportant. Let us be clear: All children mat-ter. For the purposes of this study, we can mostreadily compare low-income children outsidespecial programs across jurisdictions, and thatsuch children are more reflective of the relativesuccess and/or failure of public policy. We makeno claim that these comparisons are perfect. Infact, we are confident that no perfect comparisonsexist. Rather we merely claim that the compar-isons made here are much more equitable thana simple comparison of state scores. While therewill be variation among mainstream low-incomestudents, the variation will be dramatically low-er than the usual presentation of statewide aver-age scores.Our methodology does not control for race. Insome states, the typical poor child will be white.In many, the average poor child will be black. Insome, the typical poor child will be a Latino. Doesthis make our rankings unfair?In our view, it does not.We view differences among racial and eth-nic groups as a cultural and policy-related issuerather than genetic. Further, we believe strong-ly that the difference between effective and inef-fective schools lies almost entirely in the extentto which the adult leadership controls school cul-ture. Effective schools have strong adult-led cul-tures focusing on academic achievement. Inef-fective schools have cultures led by students andfocused on things other than academics.In the most dysfunctional schools, the studentscontrol the school culture. With the inmates run-ning the proverbial asylum, students stigmatizeacademic achievement. Students displaying ac-ademic acumen are ridiculed and even bullied.One can say the same for the staff. In these worstcases, the students strike an implicit bargain withthe students: Don’t require us to learn anything ifyou want to be safe.Policymakers can throw any amount of mon-ey at such a school with no apparent academicimpact.The first duty of every school staff should beto control the culture of the school. Schools withstrong leadership can and have succeeded in im-proving academic achievement despite a chal-lenging student demographic profile. High-quali-ty charter schools such as the Knowledge Is PowerProgram (KIPP), Amistad Academies, Green DotSchools, Yes Academies, and others have provedthat this task is achievable. “No Excuses”-typepublic schools have proved that low-income mi-nority children can achieve at high levels.We judge states by the academic performanceof white children who qualify for a free or re-duced-price lunch. We, nevertheless, refuse to doso explicitly because we believe that schools canand must overcome both policy and cultural bar-riers to academic achievement. Our nation’s fu-ture depends upon this.Research on student learning gains show pub-lic schools tend to match the most disadvantagedstudents with the least effective teachers.10Like-wise, the poorest students typically exercise theleast amount of choice between schools—pricedout of high performing suburban and privateschools. These facts are not products of fate or ge-netics, but of policy that policymakers can andshould change.Taxpayers in every state provide funds for ageneral diffusion of knowledge and skills, andstates should accomplish this task regardless ofthe ethnicity of the students. Successful inner-cityeducators refuse to use race as an excuse for poorperformance. We will do the same in ranking theperformance of state school systems.Our grade of state academic performanceequally weights the four main NAEP exams(fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathemat-ics) for the entire period all 50 states participated
  • www.alec.org 472011 ALEC Report Card Education Policy Grading(2003 to 2011). We examine the performance oflow-income children in the general education pro-gram, and weight equally the overall performanceand the gains over time. The District of Columbiafalls in the middle of our rankings, for example,because the District had the largest gains but thelowest overall scores (despite the recent gains).All of the caveats regarding NAEP tests dis-cussed in the previous chapter still apply here:NAEP is given to random samples of studentswith measurable ranges of sampling error (similarto an opinion poll). Sampling error should howev-er be random in nature, thus often cancelling itselfout (if one test is randomly a bit on the high end,it can be mitigated by another test being on thelow end, and vice-versa). Fortunately this com-parison methodology sidesteps known sources ofsystematic error from exclusion rates of childrenwith disabilities and English Language Learners(see pages 30-32 in the previous chapter).The reader should overall take greater note ofwhether their state falls on the high, middle or lowend of the rankings, rather than to fixate on an ex-act numerical ranking. Small changes in test scorescan make large differences in rankings, but willnot move you to the penthouse from the cellar.Student demographics clearly play a muchstronger role in our rankings than spendingper pupil. All of the top ten states have major-ity white-student populations, most by a wideJurisdiction RankMassachusetts 1Vermont 2New Jersey 3Colorado 4Pennsylvania 5Rhode Island 6North Carolina 7Kansas 8New Hampshire 9New York 10Texas 11Florida 12Hawaii 13Maine 14Nevada 15Montana 16Indiana 17Minnesota 18Wisconsin 19Maryland 20Ohio 21Delaware 22Wyoming 23District of Columbia 24Washington 25Virginia 26Jurisdiction RankGeorgia 27Illinois 28Idaho 29California 30Iowa 31Alaska 32North Dakota 33Alabama 34New Mexico 35Arizona 36Kentucky 37South Dakota 38Connecticut 39Oregon 40Utah 41Nebraska 42Oklahoma 43Tennessee 44Arkansas 45Michigan 46Missouri 47Mississippi 48Louisiana 49South Carolina 50West Virginia 51Table 4 | Ranking States by Achievement and Gains of Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible GeneralPopulation Students on the NAEP 4th- and 8th-Grade Reading and Math Exams, 2003-2011
  • 48 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER FOURmargin. The average low-income general educa-tion student benefit from the favorable end of ra-cial achievement gaps in these states. Notice how-ever that Texas and Florida stand just outside thetop 10 at the 11th and 12th spots, with very fewpoints to separate them from the top 10.Similar to the discussion in Chapter 2, wefind a number of Northeastern states do well inour rankings. Some may feel the temptation toattribute these scores simplistically to high lev-els of spending in the state. This would be a mis-take. First notice that Connecticut, a high spend-ing Northeastern state with a large urban district,falls to 39th in our rankings. Ponder for a momentas to what might happen to Vermont’s ranking ifwe moved the Hartford district north.Also note that Massachusetts ranks first over-all in our rankings despite the fact that it has ur-ban districts. Massachusetts spends less per stu-dent than Vermont, has a more challengingstudent demographic profile than Vermont (Ver-mont students are 93 percent white, while whitestudents comprise 69 percent of Massachusettsstudents). Massachusetts has done an admira-ble job in producing gains even relative to oth-er New England states, especially when comparedto Connecticut the neighboring state facing simi-lar demographic challenges.In Texas and Florida, the average general ed-ucation low-income child will be a black or His-panic student. The ability of these states to fall inthe high range of this ranking is therefore quiteadmirable, especially considering the fact thatboth states realized considerable academic gainsbefore the period studied here (2003–2011).The states at the bottom of the rankings canconsole themselves with this: if they can findways to achieve Texas/Florida/Massachusetts/District of Columbia sized gains, they can moveup the rankings.Endnotes1. These grades were drawn from Paul E. Peterson and Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón, “State Standards Rise in Reading, Fall inMath,” Education Next 10, no. 4 (Fall 2010), available at http://educationnext.org/state-standards-rising-in-reading-but-not-in-math.2. The Center for Education Reform, “Charter School Laws Across the States 2011,” data and legislation as of December 1,2010, available at http://www.edreform.com/download/charterlawdl.cfm.3. Home School Legal Defense Association, “Home School Laws,” available at http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp(accessed July 2011).4. Dan Lips and Evan Feinberg, “Homeschooling: A Growing Option in American Education,” The Heritage Foundation, April3, 2008.5. See Greg Forster, A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Vouchers. (Indianapolis: The Friedman Founda-tion for Educational Choice, March 23, 2011), available at http://www.edchoice.org/Research/Reports/A-Win-Win-Solu-tion--The-Empirical-Evidence-on-School-Vouchers.aspx.6. Evergreen Education Group, “Keeping Pace with K¬12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice,” 2011.7. National Center for Education Statistics, “Table 4.2 Numbers and Types of State Open Enrollment Policies, by State: 2010,”in State Education Reforms (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 2010) available at http://nces.ed.gov/pro-grams/statereform/tab4_2.asp.8. This figure is drawn from National Center for Education Statistics, “Table 191. Total and Current Expenditures Per Pupil inFall Enrollment in Public Elementary and Secondary Education, by Function and State or Jurisdiction, 2007-08,” in Digestof Education Statistics 2010 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 2010), available at http://nces.ed.gov/pro-grams/digest/d10/tables/dt10_191.asp?referrer=list.9. “State Rankings – Statistical Abstract of the United States. Personal Income per Capita in Current Dollars, 2007.” Report ofthe United States Census Bureau. March, 2008, http://www.census.gov/statab/ranks/rank29.html.10. See for instance Sanders and Horn, “Research Findings from the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVASS)Database.” p. 6. Available online at http://www.mccsc.edu/~curriculum/cumulative%20and%20residual%20effects%20of%20teachers.pdf.
  • www.alec.org 49STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)34Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 40Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011n States ALoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms0255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%15%37%14%43%42%14%50%35%9%36%55%45%0%25%50%75%100% 3% 1% 1% 0%200214214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011248254 217226254262243281323214249282262299333D+4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,481(Rank: 37)$41,924 58,593 28%(Rank: 37)$83,848 57,809 24%(Rank: 42)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards FChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeC-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C-Expanding the Teaching Pool C+Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers C-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoThe Cotton StateAlabama
  • 50 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)32Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 11Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011n States AKoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms0255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%12%26%15%40%44%20%43%35%19%38%40%61%0%25%50%75%100% 1% 1% 2% 3%243281323214249282262299333207 213214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011252259 229235273283B-State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers FExpanding the Teaching Pool C-Identifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School Yes4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$17,299(Rank: 5)$69,196 9,756 27%(Rank: 42)$138,392 9,673 27%(Rank: 36)The Last FrontierAlaska
  • www.alec.org 51STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 45Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201136n States AZoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: B-Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333204213214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011252 255 2252342662730255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%14%31%16%44%39%21%47%31%17%38%43%54%0%25%50%75%100% 2% 1% 2% 3%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$9,641(Rank: 45)$38,564 83,793 25%(Rank: 45)$77,128 81,576 27%(Rank: 36)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards D+Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs YesTeacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool C-Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers D+Exiting Ineffective Teachers C-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesBThe Grand Canyon StateArizona
  • 52 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)n States ARoutperformed45Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 44Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: B-Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333210 215214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011256 257 2262342662750255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%18%33%17%42%40%24%47%27%16%42%40%47%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 2% 2%C4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$9,966(Rank: 43)$39,864 36,345 29%(Rank: 35)$79,728 35,387 27%(Rank: 36)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeC-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C-Expanding the Teaching Pool BIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers C-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesThe Natural StateArkansas
  • www.alec.org 53STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)n States CAoutperformed30Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 30Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333201212214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011252 256 2242342622720255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%11%30%13%41%45%17%45%37%12%35%51%58%0%25%50%75%100%1% 1% 1% 2%B4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,458(Rank: 24)$45,832 463,904 24%(Rank: 46)$91,664 486,390 22%(Rank: 44)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade AHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers CExpanding the Teaching Pool D+Identifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers C+Exiting Ineffective Teachers D-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesThe Golden StateCalifornia
  • 54 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 17Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011n States COoutperformed4Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: BContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333216222214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011257264 2272412692830255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%17%33%19%45%34%25%46%27%19%40%37%48%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 3% 4%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,061(Rank: 32)$44,244 61,058 40%(Rank: 5)$88,488 58,733 32%(Rank: 26)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards B-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D-Expanding the Teaching Pool D+Identifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers B-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesBThe Centennial StateColorado
  • www.alec.org 55STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)n States CToutperformed39Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 29Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: C-Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333211 216214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011252263223230267 2710255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%15%34%21%46%32%18%45%37%12%39%47%49%0%25%50%75%100%2% 2% 1% 1%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$16,530(Rank: 6)$66,120 41,792 42%(Rank: 2)$132,240 43,027 43%(Rank: 1)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers CExpanding the Teaching Pool B-Identifying Effective Teachers D+Retaining Effective Teachers FExiting Ineffective Teachers C-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoC+The Constitution StateConnecticut
  • 56 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)C+Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms22Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 19Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011n States DEoutperformed243281323214249282262299333214 219214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011256 262 2282362672770255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%19%38%20%47%32%23%52%24%16%44%39%41%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 1% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$14,481(Rank: 10)$57,924 9,521 35%(Rank: 17)$115,848 9,908 31%(Rank: 30)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers FExpanding the Teaching Pool C+Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoThe First StateDelaware
  • www.alec.org 57STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)n States DCoutperformed24Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 26Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011243281323214249282262299333186199214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 20112362442032182412600255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%9%25%10%34%55%11%39%49%9%30%59%66%0%25%50%75%100%1% 1% 1% 1%State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade AHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool D+Identifying Effective Teachers FRetaining Effective Teachers D-Exiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School Yes4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$20,066(Rank: 1)$80,264 4,595 17%(Rank: 51)$160,528 4,540 14%(Rank: 51)BThe Federal CityDistrict of Columbia
  • 58 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: B+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 3Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201112n States FLoutperformed243281323214249282262299333213223214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011254 260 2282372652730255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%21%38%19%44%35%24%52%22%14%41%43%38%0%25%50%75%100%4% 1% 2% 2%State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs YesTeacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeCDelivering Well Prepared Teachers CExpanding the Teaching Pool B-Identifying Effective Teachers C-Retaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers COnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School Yes4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,626(Rank: 22)$46,504 198,129 36%(Rank: 11)$93,008 200,736 32%(Rank: 26)B+The Sunshine StateFlorida
  • www.alec.org 59STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 27Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201127n States GAoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333204213214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011249256 2222312572710255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%17%33%15%49%35%19%49%30%14%42%42%47%0%25%50%75%100%3% 0% 1% 2%B4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,498(Rank: 23)$45,992 127,285 29%(Rank: 35)$91,984 123,857 27%(Rank: 36)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs YesTeacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeC-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C-Expanding the Teaching Pool B-Identifying Effective Teachers D+Retaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers COnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesThe Peach StateGeorgia
  • 60 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 15Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201113n States HIoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333206212214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011251257 2222382632790255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%13%30%16%40%43%23%45%29%18%36%43%55%0%25%50%75%100% 2% 1% 3% 3%C+State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards AChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D-Expanding the Teaching Pool FIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School Yes4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$12,877(Rank: 14)$51,508 13,739 26%(Rank: 43)$103,016 12,665 22%(Rank: 44)The Aloha StateHawaii
  • www.alec.org 61STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: B-Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 22Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201129n States IDoutperformed243281323214249282262299333217 220214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011263 265 233 237 277 2820255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%18%37%21%50%27%24%48%25%20%45%32%43%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 3% 4%State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards D+Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool DIdentifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers D+Exiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesB-4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$8,525(Rank: 49)$34,100 21,450 32%(Rank: 28)$68,200 20,623 33%(Rank: 19)The Gem StateIdaho
  • 62 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 38Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms28n States ILoutperformed243281323214249282262299333206213214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 20112542612212302642760255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%14%32%18%47%34%18%47%33%15%44%39%52%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 1% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,874(Rank: 21)$47,496 152,951 32%(Rank: 28)$94,992 159,272 33%(Rank: 19)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards DChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool D+Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers B-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoC+The Prairie StateIllinois
  • www.alec.org 63STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: C+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms17Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 13Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011n States INoutperformed243281323214249282262299333210219214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011256 261 228238273 2780255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%18%35%19%49%32%28%49%20%17%46%34%45%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 3%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,040(Rank: 42)$40,160 78,842 32%(Rank: 28)$80,320 80,874 31%(Rank: 30)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs YesTeacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool D+Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers D+Exiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesBThe Hoosier StateIndiana
  • 64 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 31Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201131n States IAoutperformed243281323214249282262299333215 218214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011261 264 234240276 2790255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%15%35%20%45%35%26%49%23%16%46%37%47%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 2%C-State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade FHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs YesTeacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool DIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School No4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,126(Rank: 30)$44,504 35,031 34%(Rank: 23)$89,008 35,324 32%(Rank: 26)The Hawkeye StateIowa
  • www.alec.org 65STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: D+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 7Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 20118n States KSoutperformed243281323214249282262299333212222214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011260 2632342432772840255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%19%35%21%46%32%30%52%15%21%43%32%42%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 3% 3%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,009(Rank: 33)$44,036 34,965 35%(Rank: 17)$88,072 34,366 33%(Rank: 19)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade FHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+Expanding the Teaching Pool FIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesC-The Sunflower StateKansas
  • 66 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: C+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 37Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201137n States KYoutperformed243281323214249282262299333212 217214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011260 262 2242352672740255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%20%38%24%46%29%24%52%23%16%43%39%39%0%25%50%75%100%3% 2% 2% 2%C4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,076(Rank: 41)$40,304 49,875 36%(Rank: 11)$80,608 49,668 33%(Rank: 19)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+Expanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers D+Retaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoThe Bluegrass StateKentucky
  • www.alec.org 67STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)49Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 47Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011n States LAoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: BContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333202210214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011249 252 224 2282612700255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%13%32%14%43%43%16%49%34%13%40%46%54%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 1% 1%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,329(Rank: 26)$45,316 57,165 18%(Rank: 50)$90,632 51,910 20%(Rank: 49)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs YesTeacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeC-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C+Expanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers D+Retaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers C-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesB-The Pelican StateLouisiana
  • 68 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 14Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 2011n States MEoutperformed14Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: D+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333219 220214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011264 267 2332432742860255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%18%37%23%45%30%28%47%21%21%43%32%43%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 3% 4%C-4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$12,696(Rank: 15)$50,784 13,860 35%(Rank: 17)$101,568 14,886 35%(Rank: 13)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards BChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeFDelivering Well Prepared Teachers FExpanding the Teaching Pool FIdentifying Effective Teachers FRetaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoThe Pine Tree StateMaine
  • www.alec.org 69STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 20Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201120n States MDoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333202217214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011249 255 2182352612700255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%20%34%17%45%37%23%50%24%15%38%45%42%0%25%50%75%100%4% 1% 3% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$15,032(Rank: 8)$60,128 59,512 37%(Rank: 8)$120,256 63,639 36%(Rank: 11)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards D+Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers D-Expanding the Teaching Pool C+Identifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoC-The Old Line StateMaryland
  • 70 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 2Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 20111n States MAoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333217226214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011260267 2312472702900255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%22%40%23%46%30%32%48%17%24%43%28%34%0%25%50%75%100%4% 1% 4% 5%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$14,240(Rank: 11)$56,960 70,666 47%(Rank: 1)$113,920 73,170 43%(Rank: 1)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards AChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)DPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C+Expanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers D+Exiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesB-The Bay StateMassachusetts
  • www.alec.org 71STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: B-Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 49Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201146n States MIoutperformed243281323214249282262299333204211214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011251258 2212272632700255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%15%32%18%46%35%17%47%35%15%39%45%51%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 1% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,445(Rank: 25)$45,780 117,432 30%(Rank: 34)$91,560 123,823 31%(Rank: 30)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards D-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool FIdentifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesB-The Great Lakes StateMichigan
  • 72 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: BContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 23Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201118n States MNoutperformed243281323214249282262299333217 218214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011257265 232243281 2850255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%15%33%21%45%32%30%45%22%22%42%32%49%0%25%50%75%100% 3% 1% 3% 4%B+4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,943(Rank: 20)$47,772 59,822 37%(Rank: 8)$95,544 62,080 38%(Rank: 7)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards BChange in State Standards (2003-2009) (New)Charter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade AHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool D-Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesThe North Star StateMinnesota
  • www.alec.org 73STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: D+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 46Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201148n States MSoutperformed243281323214249282262299333197206214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011248 249 2172252522620255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%13%31%12%43%44%16%49%35%11%36%52%54%0%25%50%75%100% 2% 0% 1% 1%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$8,587(Rank: 48)$34,348 38,159 22%(Rank: 48)$68,696 37,889 19%(Rank: 50)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade FHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers CExpanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers COnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoCThe Magnolia StateMississippi
  • 74 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: BContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 34Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201147n States MOoutperformed243281323214249282262299333211 214214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011258 262 227234269 2740255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%17%32%20%46%33%25%46%27%16%41%41%48%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 2% 2%A-4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,070(Rank: 31)$44,280 67,620 36%(Rank: 11)$88,560 68,030 34%(Rank: 15)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards AChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers C-Expanding the Teaching Pool D-Identifying Effective Teachers D+Retaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers D-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesThe Show-Me StateMissouri
  • www.alec.org 75STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: D+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 9Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201116n States MToutperformed243281323214249282262299333215 220214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011265 269 233239 2812890255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%20%39%28%47%24%30%47%22%26%41%28%39%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 2% 5%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,941(Rank: 34)$43,764 10,558 35%(Rank: 17)$87,528 10,890 38%(Rank: 7)CState Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards BChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeFDelivering Well Prepared Teachers D-Expanding the Teaching Pool D-Identifying Effective Teachers FRetaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoThe Treasure StateMontana
  • 76 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: DContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 33Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201142n States NEoutperformed243281323214249282262299333215 219214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011260 263 228234271 2750255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%18%33%20%47%32%20%48%30%14%44%40%46%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 1% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$12,287(Rank: 17)$49,148 20,939 35%(Rank: 17)$98,296 20,958 35%(Rank: 13)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards FChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool FIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoD+The Cornhusker StateNebraska
  • www.alec.org 77STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 18Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201115n States NVoutperformed243281323214249282262299333201214214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011249257 2232352622750255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%14%30%16%42%41%23%47%29%16%38%44%54%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 2%C+State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D-Expanding the Teaching Pool D-Identifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School Yes4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,377(Rank: 39)$41,508 34,099 24%(Rank: 46)$83,016 34,394 22%(Rank: 44)The Silver StateNevada
  • 78 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 4Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 20119n States NHoutperformed243281323214249282262299333218225214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011264 265 2362472782860255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%22%37%22%45%32%35%46%15%23%39%34%38%0%25%50%75%100%4% 1% 4% 4%C+State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards B+Change in State Standards (2003-2009) (New)Charter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool DIdentifying Effective Teachers FRetaining Effective Teachers D-Exiting Ineffective Teachers D-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School Yes4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$13,007(Rank: 13)$52,028 14,613 41%(Rank: 3)$104,056 15,783 39%(Rank: 6)The Granite StateNew Hampshire
  • www.alec.org 79STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 10Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 20113n States NJoutperformed243281323214249282262299333207220214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011256 261 2262392652840255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%20%38%19%47%33%25%51%22%20%42%34%39%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 2% 4%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$18,971(Rank: 2)$75,884 99,242 40%(Rank: 5)$151,768 100,894 42%(Rank: 3)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards BChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool B-Identifying Effective Teachers D+Retaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoB-The Garden StateNew Jersey
  • 80 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: BContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 48Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201135n States NMoutperformed243281323214249282262299333207 210214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011251257 2252342632750255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%12%31%15%45%39%19%48%31%14%41%44%56%0%25%50%75%100%2% 0% 2% 1%State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards AChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+Expanding the Teaching Pool DIdentifying Effective Teachers C-Retaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers B-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School No4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,798(Rank: 35)$43,192 25,119 20%(Rank: 49)$86,384 24,366 22%(Rank: 44)BThe Land of EnchantmentNew Mexico
  • www.alec.org 81STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: D+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 5Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201110n States NYoutperformed243281323214249282262299333212222214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011258 264 2292372712780255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%19%34%22%42%34%22%46%29%14%40%43%43%0%25%50%75%100%4% 2% 3% 3%C-State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards DChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)DPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+Expanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School No4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$18,073(Rank: 3)$72,292 190,067 36%(Rank: 11)$144,584 201,895 33%(Rank: 19)The Empire StateNew York
  • 82 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 41Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 20117n States NCoutperformed243281323214249282262299333210218214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 20112512592312392692800255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%17%35%18%45%37%27%54%18%19%43%36%46%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 3%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$9,045(Rank: 46)$36,180 114,909 32%(Rank: 28)$72,360 111,050 29%(Rank: 33)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool D+Identifying Effective Teachers C-Retaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoCThe Old North StateNorth Carolina
  • www.alec.org 83STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: DContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 24Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201133n States NDoutperformed243281323214249282262299333217 220214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011266 261235 239 284 2830255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%20%39%18%51%30%27%51%19%23%44%29%38%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 2% 4%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,378(Rank: 38)$41,512 6,812 35%(Rank: 17)$83,024 7,364 34%(Rank: 15)D+State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)DPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool FIdentifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoThe Peace Garden StateNorth Dakota
  • 84 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: B-Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 35Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201121n States OHoutperformed243281323214249282262299333211 216214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011255 260 2262382692790255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%16%38%20%46%33%27%48%23%20%43%35%43%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 3% 2%BState Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs YesTeacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool DIdentifying Effective Teachers C-Retaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School Yes4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,982(Rank: 19)$47,928 132,680 36%(Rank: 11)$95,856 137,479 37%(Rank: 9)The Buckeye StateOhio
  • www.alec.org 85STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 43Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201143n States OKoutperformed243281323214249282262299333212 217214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011259 261 227235268 2740255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%16%36%19%45%34%23%53%23%15%46%37%45%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 1% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$8,372(Rank: 50)$33,488 47,245 28%(Rank: 37)$66,976 45,149 26%(Rank: 41)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C-Expanding the Teaching Pool C-Identifying Effective Teachers D+Retaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesBThe Sooner StateOklahoma
  • 86 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 32Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201140n States ORoutperformed243281323214249282262299333214 219214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011262 262234 236 275 2790255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%16%31%19%45%35%20%45%33%18%41%38%50%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 2% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,156(Rank: 28)$44,624 43,272 31%(Rank: 32)$89,248 43,339 33%(Rank: 19)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+Expanding the Teaching Pool FIdentifying Effective Teachers FRetaining Effective Teachers D+Exiting Ineffective Teachers D-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesCThe Beaver StateOregon
  • www.alec.org 87STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 6Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 20115n States PAoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333205220214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011255 259 2242372642760255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%20%33%19%43%37%23%48%26%17%38%43%43%0%25%50%75%100%4% 1% 3% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$13,712(Rank: 12)$54,848 130,592 37%(Rank: 8)$109,696 139,173 40%(Rank: 5)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)DPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers D+Expanding the Teaching Pool C-Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers D+Exiting Ineffective Teachers D-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative NoMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesC+The Keystone StatePennsylvania
  • 88 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: DContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 25Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 20116n States RIoutperformed243281323214249282262299333211220214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011254260 2262382632770255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%17%35%17%44%38%24%48%26%15%42%42%45%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$14,897(Rank: 9)$59,588 9,752 36%(Rank: 11)$119,176 11,422 28%(Rank: 34)CState Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards BChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)DPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoThe Ocean StateRhode Island
  • www.alec.org 89STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: BContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 51Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201150n States SCoutperformed243281323214249282262299333206 210214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011250 253228 2312662720255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%14%32%15%45%39%20%49%30%15%40%43%52%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 3%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,128(Rank: 29)$44,512 53,996 28%(Rank: 37)$89,024 53,446 24%(Rank: 42)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C-Change in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeC-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+Expanding the Teaching Pool DIdentifying Effective Teachers CRetaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers C+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesC+The Palmetto StateSouth Carolina
  • 90 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 39Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201138n States SDoutperformed243281323214249282262299333217 216214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011269 264 233 236 280 2830255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%17%35%21%49%29%23%50%25%22%45%30%46%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 3%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$9,684(Rank: 44)$38,736 9,234 33%(Rank: 24)$77,472 9,446 37%(Rank: 9)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool C-Identifying Effective Teachers FRetaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoC-The Mount Rushmore StateSouth Dakota
  • www.alec.org 91STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 36Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201144n States TNoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: DContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333203209214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011249 253 2192282562660255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%14%33%16%43%40%18%47%34%11%38%49%52%0%25%50%75%100%1% 1% 1% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$8,746(Rank: 47)$34,984 75,091 28%(Rank: 37)$69,968 72,255 28%(Rank: 34)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards FChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeC-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers B-Expanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers CRetaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesCThe Volunteer StateTennessee
  • 92 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 8Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201111n States TXoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333211 215214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011252 2582332392712860255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%15%36%15%50%34%26%53%20%24%47%26%47%0%25%50%75%100%2% 0% 2% 3%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,596(Rank: 36)$42,384 355,578 28%(Rank: 37)$84,768 343,548 27%(Rank: 36)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards DChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)APrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeC-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers CExpanding the Teaching Pool B-Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers C-Exiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesC+The Lone Star StateTexas
  • www.alec.org 93STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: C+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 42Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201141n States UToutperformed243281323214249282262299333218 218214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011260 261233239275 2770255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%18%33%20%46%34%25%46%26%16%38%42%47%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 3% 4%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$7,756(Rank: 51)$31,024 44,546 31%(Rank: 32)$62,048 40,261 33%(Rank: 19)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards C+Change in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade BHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers D-Expanding the Teaching Pool DIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers D-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesBThe Beehive StateUtah
  • 94 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 1Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 20112n States VToutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: DContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333217224214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011259271 2332452752880255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%21%36%26%42%30%32%47%18%23%43%30%40%0%25%50%75%100%4% 2% 4% 3%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$15,465(Rank: 7)$61,860 6,471 41%(Rank: 3)$123,720 7,004 41%(Rank: 4)D+State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards B+Change in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)DPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeFDelivering Well Prepared Teachers DExpanding the Teaching Pool D-Identifying Effective Teachers FRetaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers FOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoThe Green Mountain StateVermont
  • www.alec.org 95STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 12Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201126n States VAoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: C-Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333207216214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011255 257 2272352652770255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%15%35%15%46%38%22%53%23%16%42%39%48%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$12,030(Rank: 18)$48,120 91,133 38%(Rank: 7)$96,240 92,881 32%(Rank: 26)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards D+Change in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade FHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers CExpanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesC-The Old DominionVirginia
  • 96 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 16Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201125n States WAoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: C+Contains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333216 218214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011259 263 2322392742830255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%16%32%20%44%34%25%46%27%21%38%38%50%0%25%50%75%100%2% 2% 2% 4%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$11,200(Rank: 27)$44,800 77,999 33%(Rank: 24)$89,600 78,902 36%(Rank: 11)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards AChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+Expanding the Teaching Pool C-Identifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers D+Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoCThe Evergreen StateWashington
  • www.alec.org 97STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 50Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201151n States WVoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333215 212214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011257 255229 231268 2700255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%16%32%15%42%42%19%49%30%12%41%47%50%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 1% 1%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$10,341(Rank: 40)$41,364 20,162 26%(Rank: 43)$82,728 21,268 22%(Rank: 44)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed NoCharter School Law Grade —Home School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)CPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD+Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C-Expanding the Teaching Pool CIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers C-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School NoD+The Mountain StateWest Virginia
  • 98 Report Card on American Education2011 STATE EDUCATION PERFORMANCE AND POLICY INDEXSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Student NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 21Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201119n States WIoutperformedEducation Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanisms243281323214249282262299333212 216214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011253259 2272382662780255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%16%33%16%45%38%24%48%25%17%40%40%49%0%25%50%75%100%2% 1% 2% 2%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$12,312(Rank: 16)$49,248 60,319 33%(Rank: 24)$98,496 62,317 34%(Rank: 15)B-State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) RaisedCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade CHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice Yes“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeDDelivering Well Prepared Teachers D-Expanding the Teaching Pool D-Identifying Effective Teachers D-Retaining Effective Teachers CExiting Ineffective Teachers DOnline LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesAmerica’s DairylandWisconsin
  • www.alec.org 99STATE SNAPSHOTSSpending Levels and Achievement: 4th- and 8th-Grade NAEP Reading Exams Results and CostsNAEP Scores for Low-Income Children (2003-2011)NAEP Score Distribution (2011)Education Policy GradeALEC Historical Grading 2010: CContains scores and grades for policies that allow the state’seducation system to make available high-quality educationthrough accountability, high standards, public- and private-school choice, high-quality teachers, and innovative deliverymechanismsStudent NAEP Performance RankALEC Historical Ranking 2010: 28Measures the overall 2011 scores for low-income students(non-ELL and non-IEP) and their gains/losses on the NationalAssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics exams from 2003 to 201123n States WYoutperformed243281323214249282262299333221 222214238268BASICPROFICIENTADVANCED4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath2003 2011264 267238 242280 2860255075100At ProficientAt AdvancedAt BasicBelow Basic4th-GradeReading8th-GradeReading4th-GradeMath8th-GradeMath3%20%38%25%48%27%29%49%19%23%44%30%39%0%25%50%75%100%3% 1% 3% 4%4th Grade 8th GradeAnnual CostPer StudentCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigherCumulativeInvestmentPer StudentStatewideEnrollmentPercent ofStudents Scoring“Proficient” orHigher$17,478(Rank: 4)$69,912 6,608 33%(Rank: 24)$139,824 6,456 34%(Rank: 15)State Academic Standards2009 State Academic Standards CChange in State Standards (2003-2009) LoweredCharter SchoolsCharter Schools Allowed YesCharter School Law Grade DHome School Regulation Burden (A=None, B=Low, C=Moderate, D=High)BPrivate School Choice ProgramsPrivate School Choice —“A” Grade or Multiple Programs —Teacher Quality and Policies:Overall GradeD-Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D-Expanding the Teaching Pool DIdentifying Effective Teachers DRetaining Effective Teachers DExiting Ineffective Teachers D-Online LearningStateVirtualSchoolorOnline-LearningInitiative YesMulti-District Full-Time Online School YesC+The Equality StateWyoming
  • 100 Report Card on American Education
  • Raising Academic Quality forAll Students by CustomizingEducation with Digital LearningCHAPTER5
  • 102 Report Card on American EducationMany of the preceding pages have fo-cused on a question of key concernto American leaders and policymak-ers over the past quarter century: What can we doto ensure that all children have access to a high-quality education?For everyone who believes all children de-serve an equal opportunity to pursue the Amer-ican dream, this is a critical question to ask, andthe achievement gap remains an important prob-lem to solve. Policymakers and reformers shouldnot rest until we reach a point in American educa-tion when a child’s opportunity to learn and takeadvantage of the many opportunities in 21st-cen-tury life is not shaped by socioeconomic statusand background.Most parents probably approach the educationdebate with very different yet equally importantquestions. They ask: How can I ensure my childgets the education she deserves and reaches herpotential? And, what more can the school systemdo to ensure she has the best chance to learn andattain the knowledge she will need to thrive whenshe reaches adulthood?These are very different questions and, in thepast, they have created competing goals for policy-makers. Those focused on closing the achievementgap have worked primarily to address and eliminateinequities, while those most concerned with elim-inating every child’s “potential gap” have focusedtheir energies on ensuring that their children get ac-cess to the best possible learning environment. Thiscompetition has created a notion that education re-form debates are a zero-sum game.This is a false choice. Moving forward, poli-cymakers have an opportunity both to close theachievement gap and to eliminate the potential gapby harnessing the power of innovative technolo-gies to transform the way children are able to learn.American Education: Finally Going“Back to the Future”For too long, American students have felt likeMarty McFly.In the classic 1980s movie “Back to the Fu-ture,” Michael J. Fox portrays a teenager (MartyMcFly) who uses a time machine to travel backto 1955. During his journey, Marty sees what itwas like to live and attend school with his par-ents’ generation.Every day, when youngsters across Americango back to school, they experience a very similarjourney. They leave the high-tech world of 2012,where information and technology are integrat-ed into nearly every aspect of life, and return toschools that are largely unchanged since the 1950s.If a modern day Rip Van Winkle had gone tosleep during the Eisenhower administration andawoke today, the typical public school classroomwould be one of the few areas of everyday lifewhere he would probably feel right at home.What is the typical public-school classroomlike? Fifteen to twenty students sit in rows ofdesks. A teacher stands at the front of the classand presents the lesson on blackboards while stu-dents open heavy textbooks. While some com-puter may be present in the classroom, most in-struction occurs the old fashioned way. Learningoccurs mostly during school hours and dependson the talent of their teacher.Once the school-bell rings, the typical Amer-ican student returns to a “powered-on” worldwhere information and technology are omnipres-ent. Most children have a computer at home andhave access to a world of information where theanswer to just about every question can be foundwith the click of a mouse. Children can chooseamong myriad forms of entertainment, and theycontrol how and when they receive information.Raising Academic Quality forAll Students by CustomizingEducationwithDigitalLearning
  • www.alec.org 103Raising Academic Quality for All Students by Customizing Education with Digital LearningThe good news is that the gap between the“powered-off” school day and the everyday 21st-century experience is starting to close. Techno-logical innovations are finally beginning to trans-form the way students learn. The various formsof digital learning—including online courses,so-called “virtual schools,” and blended-learningcomputer-based instructions—are providing newand innovative ways for students to learn.Today, 1.5 million American students are par-ticipating in digital (including online or virtual)learning programs.1This number is expected togrow dramatically in the years ahead. ClaytonM. Christensen and Michael Horn, the authorsof Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation WillChange the Way the World Learns, predict 50 per-cent of all courses for students in grades 9–12 willbe taken online by the end of the decade.2Schools of the Future:Changing Education for the Better TodayThis prediction of widespread online learningmight sound like a distant fantasy. While youmay have trouble envisioning what a digital fu-ture would mean for American education, in somecommunities, the digital schools of the future arealready here. They are proving to be a highly ef-fective and popular option with a growing num-ber of students. Consider a few examples of howtechnology is helping students and communitiestoday:Carpe Diem: Yuma, Arizona, the home ofCarpe Diem, lies in the southwest corner of thestate, close to the California and Mexico borders.It is the birthplace of Mexican-American civilrights leader Cesar Chavez. But Yuma may soonbecome known for being the birthplace of one ofthe model schools for the 21st century.True to its name, Carpe Diem proudly claimsto have seized the day by using the best technolo-gy available to educate its 280 students from grades6 through 12.3The public charter school employsa blended-learning technique. Its “rotational” ap-proach involves students spending a class period ata computer-desk receiving virtual instruction, andlater rotating those students to traditional class-rooms where they review live instruction from oneof the schools “master teachers.”4The school hiresonly one master teacher for each subject and relieson technology and teaching assistants to support themain instructor. The school’s students are primari-ly low-income, yet Carpe Diem’s students earned thetop reading and math test scores on Arizona’s stateexamination.5In 2011, Carpe Diem Academy is list-ed as one of US News and World Report’s best highschools in Arizona and the nation.6The InnosightInstitute, a nonprofit organization that analyzes in-novation, reports that Carpe Diem operates at a sig-nificantly lower cost than similar schools that do notuse blended-learning, thanks to both reduced laborand lower school-building costs.7Khan Academy: Proponents of digital or vir-tual education have theorized about how the ef-fective use of technology will enable one terrif-ic teacher to educate millions of students acrossthe world. Salman Khan, a Harvard educated for-mer hedge-fund manager, is doing just that—andhe may very well be the most influential teacherin the world. The man who has become knownas “Bill Gates’ favorite teacher” did not plan to be-come the world’s teacher. Khan was simply tryingto tutor his cousins who lived in other cities byposting short video tutorials on YouTube. His vid-eo tutorials quickly gained a following and weresoon watched by thousands of students. Khanquit his finance job and launched Khan Academy.The Academy does not have a playground,a cafeteria, or any of the frills that we typicallyassociate with a school. But it is fast becomingone of the most popular learning websites in theworld. KhanAcademy.org now offers more than2,100 free video tutorials that, on average, attract70,000 viewers per day. The subjects range fromarithmetic to calculus, from elementary historyto American government. Khan Academy also of-fers self-paced lessons and tracking systems forstudents and self-learners to track their progress.Like McDonald’s boasting of its billions of ham-burgers served, the Khan Academy site boasts thatit has delivered 62 million lessons and counting.Some schools around the country are begin-ning to use Khan Academy video tutorials tosupplement or replace traditional classroom in-struction. In fact, some public schools have evenmoved to flip the order of lessons and homework.Students are assigned to watch Khan’s lectures athome, and, when they return to class, they workon problem sets to ensure that they have masteredthe lesson. Unlike a traditional teacher lesson, ifstudents do not understand it the first time, they
  • 104 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER Fivecan simply rewind and repeat the tutorial. In thisflipped lesson model, teachers—as well as stu-dents—can devote their time to providing extrainstruction to students who are struggling withthe lesson. The Khan Academy’s tracking systemprovides teachers with a real-time tracking sys-tem to measure students’ progress, ensuring thateveryone stays on track.Wired magazine wrote a feature story on dis-trict schools that have used Khan Academy toflip the classroom. The piece begins by introduc-ing the reader to Matthew Carpenter, a 10-year-old student deep in the process of masteringTrigonometry.8Florida Virtual School: Zach Bonner is notyour typical teenager. When he was seven yearsold, he started a charity to help homeless chil-dren. To raise awareness, he walked from hishome in Tampa to Tallahassee, Florida. He latertrekked more than 1,200 miles from Florida toWashington, D.C. In 2010, he walked from Tam-pa to Los Angeles—covering nearly 2,500 miles!He has received presidential awards for his phil-anthropic efforts and has been featured on na-tional news. With all this walking, surely morethan one truancy officer has wondered whetheryoung Zach has been keeping up with his school-work. But Zach does his philanthropic work dur-ing the day and completes his schoolwork in theafternoons and evenings—thanks to the FloridaVirtual School (FLVS).Launched in 1997 FLVS is the nation’s larg-est statewide virtual school. The school’s mot-to is “any time, any place, any path, any pace.”9During the 2009–2010 school year, 97,000 stu-dents took courses from FLVS.10The school’s mis-sion is to supplement a students’ traditional edu-cation by offering expanded curriculum options.The school currently offers more than 100 cours-es and has 1,200 staff members located in Flor-ida and beyond. All Florida students, includinghomeschoolers and private school students, areeligible to attend.FLVS is designed to provide students witha flexible and customized learning experience,while maintaining regular interaction with teach-ers.11Though instruction occurs online and stu-dents have little to no face-to-face interaction withteachers, teachers are required to engage studentsand facilitate interactions regularly. Teachers arealso required to be on-call from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.on weekdays and weekends to provide feedbackto students working at their own pace. While nocontrol-group study has been conducted evaluat-ing FLVS, a comparison of average test scores onadvanced placement exams found FLVS studentsoutperformed the Florida average.12Digital Learning: An EmergingEducation Reform Success StoryCarpe Diem, Khan Academy, and FLVS are threeexamples of the innovative educational modelsusing digital learning to improve the way thatchildren learn. Across the country, a growingnumber of states, school districts, and schools areenacting digital-learning programs.A majority of states, school districts, andmany schools are beginning to introduce poli-cies and programs that create new online-learn-ing options for students. As of October 2010,Common Forms of Digital LearningStatewide Virtual Schools. Statewide virtual schoolscurrently exist in 39 states.13These programs are gen-erally supplementary, serving students by offer-ing additional courses to supplement their course-work in traditional schools. The Evergreen EducationGroup reports that statewide virtual schools had450,000 course enrollments during the 2009–2010school year.14The Florida Virtual School—widely con-sidered the national model for state virtual schools—accounted for nearly half of these courses, with a totalof 214,000 course enrollments and 97,000 studentsenrolled in at least one course.15Full-Time Online Schools. Another growing form of vir-tual education is full-time online schools, where stu-dents learn almost entirely from home without attend-ing a traditional brick-and-mortar school. According tothe Evergreen Education Group, 27 states and Wash-ington, D.C., offer full-time online schools.16Approx-imately 200,000 students are now enrolled in thesefull-time virtual schools.17Blended-Learning Schools. According to the InnosightInstitute, most of the growth occurring in the onlinelearning sector is through blended-learning like atCarpe Diem Academy in Yuma, Arizona.18The Inno-sight Institute defines blended-learning as: “any timea student learns at least part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home and at least in partthrough online delivery with some element of studentcontrol over time, place, path, and/or pace.”19
  • www.alec.org 105Raising Academic Quality for All Students by Customizing Education with Digital Learningthe International Association for K–12 OnlineLearning (iNACOL) reported that students in 48states and Washington, D.C., can take advantageof supplemental or full-time online learning pro-grams.20Thirty-eight states have virtual schoolsor state online learning initiatives.21Twenty-sev-en states and the District of Columbia offer full-time online schools serving students statewideand 20 states provide both supplemental andfull-time virtual learning options to studentsstatewide.22In addition to these statewide pro-grams, a majority of school districts now haveone or more students participating in some formof online learning.23It’s easy to understand why online, virtual, ordigital learning programs are spreading so quick-ly across the country. They are proving effec-tive in boosting students’ academic achievement.They are providing students with a flexible, andmore enjoyable and motivating learning environ-ment. These programs are also creating new op-portunities for teachers, and have the promise totransform the teaching profession. And they areaccomplishing this at a significant cost savings totaxpayers, a fact worth underscoring in this age ofwidespread government budget deficits.Improving Academic Achievement. Empir-ical evidence, as well as the practical experiencewith success stories like those mentioned above,is showing that digital learning programs can beeffective in improving students’ academic achieve-ment. For example, the U.S. Department of Edu-cation published in 2009 a meta-analysis of evi-dence-based studies of online-learning programs.The meta-analysis included a review of 44 stud-ies evaluating post-secondary students and sevenstudies of K–12 students. The Department of Edu-cation report concluded that, “students who tookall or part of their class online performed better,on average, than those taking the same coursethrough traditional face-to-face instruction.”24We emphasize that the findings of this meta-analysis need to be interpreted with caution be-cause many of the studies evaluated higher ed-ucation programs, rather than K–12 education,which is the focus of this book. But with thisemerging empirical evidence, as well as the manyexamples of terrific virtual schools and digitallearning programs, policymakers should be con-fident that creating new online learning optionsfor students can enable new learning models andboost academic achievement.Practical Benefits for Students. Improvingthe Learning Experience. Digital learning also of-fers many potential practical benefits to studentsthat go beyond just boosting test scores. Tech-nology gives students the opportunity to learnin a more flexible, customized setting that sup-ports the unique learning style of the individu-al student. They also make it possible for studentsto have the chance to learn from better teachersthan those at their public schools and to explorenew subjects that may not be offered in their localschool system. Students who have fallen behindin school have the chance to catch up without thesocial stigma of repeating a grade by taking cours-es they have missed or failed to master. Online-learning opportunities can be particularly criticalfor students struggling at the local school—suchas those who face safety or social challenges—giving them the chance to learn from home with-out the worries that otherwise might affect theirregular school experience.Digital or online learning also could helpchange the basic structure of the grade system,which currently dictates how students proceedthrough school to higher levels. Instead of hav-ing the pace of learning dictated by twenty oth-er kids assigned to a child’s classroom based onbirthdates that qualify for a given grade, studentswould advance to higher levels as they mastersubjects, potentially learning far more than theyotherwise would. Similarly, customized learningprograms can allow for real-time monitoring andtracking of a student’s progress, so we move be-yond monitoring seat time to mastery and knowl-edge attainment. This will help ensure that stu-dents who are not learning necessary skills repeatlessons or coursework, and, if necessary, receiveadditional instruction. Again, this repetition willbe a personal process sparing students any nega-tive association with the idea of failing or beingheld back.Perhaps most importantly from a student per-spective, online learning has the potential to makeschool and learning a more enjoyable and fulfillingexperience for many. As the authors of DisruptingClass explain in their report, “Rethinking StudentMotivation: Why Understanding the Job is Crucialfor Improving Education,” students’ mission with
  • 106 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER Fiveschool and learning diverges from adults.25Adultswant schools to teach students needed skills; chil-dren want to have fun with their friends and feelsuccessful. As the authors explain, digital learningis a promising model for accomplishing the impor-tant goal of helping children feel successful. Theywrite that “by the very nature of software, achieve-ment can be integrated with the delivery of con-tent in ways that help students feel successful whilethey learn, every day. Often this comes in the formof reviews or examinations that are built into thesoftware, which require students to demonstratemastery before they can move to the next body ofmaterial. Feedback can be delivered frequently andin bite-sized pieces, as necessary, to help each stu-dent feel successful.”26Making learning fun is more than just a wayto make kids happier in the short-term; it is alsokey to encouraging more learning. Customizedlearning will enable kids to find ways to get need-ed skills in ways that make sense for them, andwithout false competition with their peers. Withmore confidence, they should be inspired to trymore and learn more, which can cascade intohigher educational attainment.Benefits for Teachers. Online-learning pro-grams can be structured to benefit teachers, bycreating more flexible, and potentially reward-ing, career paths. Technology can be harnessedin such a way that allows teachers to focus on thereason they are put in classrooms: to teach. AsTerry M. Moe and John E. Chubb write in Liberat-ing Learning, online learning frees teachers “fromtheir tradition-bound classroom roles, employedin more differentiated paths and productive ways,and offered new career paths.”27This new flexibility could also improve teach-er quality—which research shows is critical to stu-dent achievement. By using virtual learning pro-grams to supplement or replace some traditionalinstruction, schools can reduce the number ofteachers, and increase pay for remaining teach-ers—ideally retaining those who are most effective.Also by creating new paradigms for teaching, on-line-learning programs have the potential to attractnew teachers to the workforce who may otherwisenot choose teaching. Salman Kahn, for example,did not have a teaching degree, yet he has prov-en to be a highly effective, popular teacher. Onlinelearning could open the door for more educationentrepreneurs with the potential to make a signif-icant impact and to be justly compensated whenthey succeed in improving student learning.Improving Efficiency and Lowering Gov-ernment Costs. Around the country, states andlocalities are trying to do more with less. Manylament the need to cut spending on education,wrongly assuming that more money is the key tostudent achievement. The good news is that in-creasing the use of information technology tosupport or provide instruction can significantlyimprove efficiency and lower governments’ costsfor teaching students.As Moe and Chubb write, “schools can be op-erated at lower cost, relying more on technology(which is relatively cheap) and less on labor (whichis relatively expensive).”28Moe and Chubb estimatethe fiscal impact of replacing some traditional in-struction with technologies like online learning,they write: “If elementary students spend but onehour a day learning electronically, certified staffcould be reduced by a sixth. At the middle schoollevel, two hours a day with computers would re-duce staff requirements by a third. High schools,with three hours of usage, could reduce staff by upto a half.”29In addition to relieving budget pres-sures, these savings could be reinvested to improveteacher quality through higher pay and more train-ing or through other mechanisms.The potential for savings is not a theoreticalconcept anymore. There are already real-worldexamples of how online learning reduces costsfor public education. An analysis of FLVS revealsthe government spends $1,048 less per FLVS stu-dent than on each student attending a traditionalschool. This is a significant underestimate of thesavings created for taxpayers because the analysisdid not consider the additional costs for school fa-cilities and maintenance that support brick-and-mortar public schools.30Digital Learning and NarrowingAchievement GapsFor policymakers, digital learning is a promisingreform strategy for many reasons, including thoseoutlined above. But what is particularly excitingis digital-learning models can help all children,and can be a win-win for two of the key educa-tion reform assignments on our elected represen-tatives’ homework list.
  • www.alec.org 107Raising Academic Quality for All Students by Customizing Education with Digital LearningThis chapter began with a discussion of hownarrowing the achievement gap between certainstudent groups and eliminating every child’s po-tential gap—ensuring all children reach their po-tential—can at times be competing objectives.Consider perhaps the best-known education re-form law of our time—No Child Left Behind orNCLB as it is often called.NCLB focused on the admirable goal of ensur-ing that all children reach grade-level on readingand mathematics tests. The law focused the mostattention on those needing the greatest assistance,but NCLB was not geared to significantly improv-ing the achievement of those kids who were neverat risk of being left behind.What is particularly exciting about digital-learning programs and reforms is that they canbenefit children across the learning spectrum.They can simultaneously work to narrow andeliminate the achievement gap, while also help-ing more children reach their learning potential.First, blended-learning and digital-learningschools can provide a customized educational ex-perience—teaching students at their own pace,1. What is digital learning? Digital learning is any pro-gram that harnesses technology to help kids learn. Theprimary vehicle for digital learning is the computer,which allows students to access a variety of curriculum,skill building applications, and teachers.2. How do digital programs work? Programs canbe comprehensive—replacing traditional classroomsentirely—or supplemental to a child’s traditional class-room experience. Some students attend full-time onlineor virtual schools. These students do not attend tradi-tional brick-and-mortar schools and learn almost entirelyonline. Supplemental programs offer students thechance to take individual courses in an online setting tocomplement their traditional coursework. For example, ahigh school student who wants to take a class unavail-able at his or her school could enroll in an online learningprogram in that subject. Some online learning programsare called hybrid or blended-learning programs; theseuse technology to provide instruction within the tradi-tional school setting. In a blended-learning program, astudent typically spends several hours each day learningby sitting at a computer (with a teacher supervising thechildren and providing instruction when needed). Therest of the school day is spent in a traditional classroomwith traditional teacher instruction.3. Do children interact with live teachers? Is there aset schedule? There are a variety of arrangements thatcan be used in distance learning programs. Students canparticipate in online learning through either synchro-nous or asynchronous instruction. In the former, studentsreceive instruction and interact with their teacher in realtime. In asynchronous instruction, students learn at theirown pace and on their own schedule, while teachers pro-vide regular feedback by grading their assignments andanswering questions. In both settings, online learningprograms generally require consistent communicationbetween students and teachers via email, phone, instantmessaging, and video conferencing. In blended-learning,students learn using a computer while a teacher servesas a coach or advisor, physically present and monitoringeach student’s progress.4. Where do children go for digital learning pro-grams? Online-learning programs can be based entirelyat home, partially at home, or take place in a traditionalbrick-and-mortar school, as in the case of a blended-learning school setting. Similarly, online-learning pro-grams vary in their geographic reach—ranging fromschool-based programs unique to an individual school tostatewide (or even national or global learning programs)that allow students from many different locations to learnin the same setting. The vast reach of online learning pro-grams raises interesting jurisdictional questions. WhileAmerican schools are traditionally governed primarily bylocalities or school districts, and secondarily by state gov-ernments, online-learning programs have the potentialto supersede these traditional jurisdictional lines.5. Can children of all ages participate? Online-learningprogram can serve students of all ages and backgrounds.However, most full time online learning programs focuson serving older students and high schoolers. A 2008survey of school district administrators reported that anestimated 64 percent of students participating in full-time online learning programs were in high school, com-pared to 21 percent in elementary school and 15 percentin middle school (grades 6–8).31But online learning pro-grams can be tailored to serve specific student popula-tions of all ages.6. Why do schools offer digital or online learning pro-grams? Besides serving students of all ages, online learn-ing programs can be tailored to students of all levels,from students seeking coursework more advanced thanis provided at the local school to students who are at riskof dropping out and who need online-learning programsto catch up and recover missed credits. This diversity wasevident in a 2008 survey of school district administra-tors that found each of the following reasons for offer-ing online learning was important for their school sys-tem: “Offering courses not otherwise available at theschool;” “Meeting the needs of specific groups of stu-dents;” “Offering Advanced Placement or college-levelcourses;” and “Permitting students who failed a course totake it again.”32Frequently Asked Questions about Digital Learning
  • 108 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER Fiveallowing students to advance as they learn, andproviding teachers with ongoing and immediateopportunities to provide remediation by assistingstudents who are not passing their lessons.Second, customizing each child’s learning ex-perience can make a much more effective use oftime—using more hours of the school day and in-creasing the “time on task” for students learningat their own pace.Third, since blended-learning schools in-crease efficiency (educating students at lowercosts since they use computer technology to pro-vide a large portion of the instruction), schoolslike Rocketship charter schools and Carpe DiemAcademy are in the position to dramatically in-crease teacher quality by doing things like hiring“master teachers” and attracting more exception-ally talented people into the classroom. Educationresearchers have identified strengthening teacherquality as a key factor affecting student achieve-ment. School models designed to reduce costs byeffectively using technology while dramaticallyincreasing teacher pay to hire extremely effectiveinstructors surely holds promise for dramaticallyimproving teacher quality.33Digital Learning and EliminatingChildren’s Potential GapsWe education policy “wonks” get excited aboutreforms that offer promise for solving critical na-tional challenges, like the achievement gap, andcreating a more equitable society where all chil-dren get the opportunity to learn. But surely mostparents—and probably most voters—have morepractical considerations in their mind when theirthoughts turn to education and the condition ofschools in their communities. Thoughts like: Ismy daughter getting the education that she de-serves? Is her teacher doing a good job? Is she get-ting ahead, or is she at risk of falling behind? Howcan I do more to ensure that she has everythingshe needs to succeed in life?In short, parents are rightly concerned abouttheir children and whether or not they are beinggiven the opportunity to reach their potential. Dig-ital learning and the effective use of technology toimprove learning offers tremendous promise forbenefitting every child—and ensuring that all chil-dren have the opportunity to reach their potential.Consider just three reasons why this is the case.First, the various forms of digital learningoffers a more customized educational experi-ence—one tailored to a child’s knowledge leveland unique learning style. While the traditionalinstructional model requires a teacher to addressclassroom lessons to an audience of 15–20 stu-dents, digital-learning programs—from comput-er-based, blended-learning to home-based virtu-al courses—can provide lessons customized to anindividual student’s level and learning style. Com-puter-based instruction can also provide teacherswith more time to provide one-on-one instruc-tion, supplementing digital learning.Second, digital learning provides a more im-mediate monitoring system and safety-net to en-sure students stay on track and reach their po-tential in each class or grade level. In the past,standardized tests have been used on a semi-an-nual or annual basis to track students’ perfor-mance and ensure they remain on grade level.While valuable, standardized-tests often providefeedback too late for teachers to correct problemsin a child’s education. Digital learning programsare generally designed to provide much more fre-quent, and in some cases, real-time monitoringof a child’s progress. An immediate diagnosis ofa problem allows teachers and parents to workquickly to fix problems before they create real set-backs or roadblocks for a child’s future learning.Third, digital-learning programs remove theartificial limits that geography and calendars haveplaced on learning. Historically, the quality andscope of a child’s education has been largely dictat-ed by the quality and population of the teachers atthe school, which all too often has been decided bya child’s ZIP code and whether their parents had thefinancial means to enroll them in a good school.Thanks to digital learning, practical geo-graphical constraints will no longer artificial-ly limit students’ opportunities. Students will beable to learn essentially anything from anyoneanywhere. Teenagers attending high schools thatpreviously lacked a physics teacher will be able tolearn from the best physics teachers in the coun-try. Students wanting to learn a foreign languagewill no longer be limited by the choices offered atschool. You can imagine the many ways remov-ing these practical constraints will dramatically
  • www.alec.org 109Raising Academic Quality for All Students by Customizing Education with Digital Learningimprove students learning opportunities and al-low more children to reach their potential.Similarly, digital-learning programs end thetyranny of seat-time and the school calendar. Fortoo long, the process of American schooling hasbeen to move children from point A to point B,based on their age and grade-level. By ending thefocus on seat-time—potentially even grade-levelsas the markers tracking students’ progress—digi-tal-learning programs can allow students to chartand follow an educational journey based on indi-vidual progress. This progress can happen basical-ly anytime (including after the last school bell ofthe day rings, and after summer vacation begins).It is easy to envision how a more customized ed-ucational experience could provide students withgreater opportunities to progress and learn thanthe old-fashioned factory approach to schooling.Homework for Policymakers:Accelerating Digital LearningDespite the growing number of success stories,and growing popularity, digital learning remainsa relatively new phenomenon in American educa-tion. Fortunately, policymakers who wish to ac-celerate the arrival of the exciting digital learn-ing future of American education have a detailedroadmap to follow.In 2010, a bipartisan coalition of education re-formers—led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush andformer West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise—formed theDigital Learning Council, an advocacy organiza-tion with the mission of promoting high-qualitydigital learning programs across the country.Their white paper, Digital Learning Now, providesthe following policy guidelines for “10 Elementsof High-Quality Digital Learning.”34Expanding Access to Digital Learning: Grow-ing Supply, Creating DemandTo summarize the Digital Learning Now reformrecommendations, policymakers should push atwo-pronged approach to transform their states’education systems to facilitate high-quality digi-tal learning. First, they must work to expand thesupply of high-quality digital-learning programs.On the “Digital Learning Now” InitiativeWe share a vision for education in America.Our vision is an education that maximizes every child’spotential for learning, prepares every child with theknowledge and skills to succeed in college and careers,and launches every child into the world with the abilityto pursue his or her dreams.Digital learning can customize and personalize edu-cation so that all students learn in their own style attheir own pace, which maximizes their chances for suc-cess in school and beyond. With digital learning, everystudent—from rural communities to inner cities—canaccess high quality and rigorous courses in every sub-ject, including foreign languages, math, and science.­—Former Governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise, Decem-ber 1, 20101. Student Eligibility: All students are digital learners2. Student Access: All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.3. Personalized Learning: All students can customize their education using digital content through an approvedprovider.
4. Advancement: Students progress based on demonstrated competency.
5. Content: Digital content, instructional materials and online and blended learning courses are high quality.
6. Instruction: Digital instruction and teachers are high quality. 
7. Providers: All students have access to multiple high quality providers.
8.AssessmentandAccountability:Studentlearningisthemetricforevaluatingthequalityofcontentandinstruction.
9. Funding: Funding creates incentives for performance, options, and innovation.
10. Delivery: Infrastructure supports digital learning.10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning
  • 110 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER FiveSecond, they must create demand by giving fami-lies the power to choose the best education possi-ble, including digital learning options.The former can be accomplished by reform-ing state policies to facilitate more digital learn-ing programs. For example, every state shouldenact a statewide virtual school or digital learn-ing initiative to give students the opportunity totake advantage of online learning. FLVS, whichcurrently serves the most students in the coun-try, could be a model for other successful state-wide online-learning initiatives. Yet policymak-ers should think broader and work to eclipse theFLVS’ success by creating even better statewidevirtual-school initiatives with expansive courseoptions for students.In addition, every state should establish multi-district, full-time virtual-school options. Success-ful virtual schools, like PA Cyber, have proven tobe a very popular option for families. Policymak-ers in each state should reform their policies toensure that high-quality full-time virtual schoolsare an option for students across their states.Creating the supply of virtual learning, whilecritical, is only a part of the battle. To expeditethe transition to an American education systemwhere all students have the opportunity to ben-efit from a digital, customized education, policy-makers will need to empower parents to choosethe best learning environment for their children.Within the traditional framework of digital-learning policies, reforms focusing on the de-mand-side of the digital-learning equation shouldwork to expand access to digital learning or virtu-al school programs and break down artificial bar-riers that hinder students’ access.For example, state education funding formulasshould be reformed to ensure that students havethe option of enrolling in a virtual school. In toomany states, the decision regarding whether a childcan enroll in a virtual school is not in the hands ofparents. Instead, school and school district officialsmake these decisions. This must change.Looking to the future, policymakers shouldexplore new approaches to funding education,and consider how best to give parents the max-imum freedom and power to control and cus-tomize their children’s education to provide thebest learning environments. This can be donebytransferring real control over how a student’sshare of public education spending is spent onhis or her behalf, including by securing access tohigh-quality digital learning programs. Ultimate-ly, giving parents real power to choose their chil-dren’s learning environment is the key to creat-ing real demand and ensuring access to virtuallearning.Readers of this book are surely familiar withthe various student-centered funding mecha-nisms that can be used to give parents this power:such as, school vouchers or scholarship programsfor private schools, tuition or scholarship taxcredits for private schools, strong charter schoollaws, and “follow-the-child” school funding for-mulas to enable choice within the traditional pub-lic school system. We think all of these policiesoffer great promise for expanding choice and, ul-timately, facilitating real demand and widespreadaccess to high-quality digital learning.In our view, however, a new policy mecha-nism may offer an even better approach to giv-ing parents real control of their children’s pub-lic education dollars and create real demand forhigh-quality digital learning: state-funded educa-tion savings accounts (ESAs).In 2011, Arizona became the first state in thenation to offer a state-funded ESA program. Spe-cifically, Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law SB1553,legislation that will require the state to deposit90 percent of the state aid that would be spenton a child’s education in an “Arizona Empower-ment Account.”35To be eligible, students must beeligible for special education services and, to re-ceive an account, families must agree to not enrolltheir child in public school, therefore taking con-trol over the responsibility for their child’s educa-tion. Online education programs constitute oneof the allowable uses for the program, which alsoincludes private school tuition, tutoring, and sav-ing money for college as allowable uses. The goalof the ESA program is to give parents full controlover the education of their children—down to thelast penny.Creating widespread access to state-fund-ed ESAs could provide families with real con-trol over their children’s education and offervaluable flexibility to customize a learning pro-gram for their children. In essence, a system of
  • www.alec.org 111Raising Academic Quality for All Students by Customizing Education with Digital Learningstate-funded ESAs would let parents control theirchildren’s share of education funding (approx-imately $10,000 annually across the country)and allow the family to purchase the best possi-ble programs and learning environments to suit achild’s specific needs.State-funded ESAs would be particularly wellsuited to the quickly approaching world of digi-tal learning by providing families with an incen-tive to shop for competing education programsand enroll their children in those programs thatprovide the most value, since ESA programs allowfamilies to save unspent resources in their child’saccount for use in later years (or ultimately to payfor their children’s college tuition).36Why Online Learning is a Political WinnerHowever policymakers choose to move forward inproviding access to more high-quality digital learn-ing programs (by expanding supply and creatingdemand by empowering parents), they should beconfident they are pursuing a potentially game-changing reform that should appeal to a broad anddiverse coalition of parents and constituents.What supporters of digital learning are offer-ing, quite simply, is to modernize our system of ed-ucating children and bring it into the 21st- centu-ry where technology is being used to improve mostaspects of everyday life. While teachers unionsand other special interest groups have succeededin blocking other parent-centered reforms in thepast, the digital learning revolution will force themto try to prevent American schooling from benefit-ting from the technological innovations we see innearly every other aspect of our lives.By advocating for digital learning, reformerswill be championing progress, innovation, and ul-timately a better system of learning that, in wayslarge or small, are likely to improve ever child’s ed-ucational opportunities. History should judge ad-vocates of digital learning as the visionaries whodelivered a better future. We cannot imagine a bet-ter side of an education policy debate to be on.Conclusion: Once More to the Breach,Dear FriendsWhile the 2010–2011 legislative sessions markedthe most exciting period in the history of educa-tion reform, any triumphalism must be resisted.We must remember that the average low-incomestudent in America still sits in a school deter-mined by their ZIP code, and with teachers whoare neither rewarded for excellence nor dismissedfor ineffectiveness. The state “accountability” sys-tem overseeing the average child’s school is usinga test far below international benchmarks, andusing fuzzy labels to obscure academic reality.America still suffers appalling gaps and low lev-els of achievement despite spending levels whichare the envy of our European and Asian rivals. Farmore remains undone than has been done to date.The victories of 2010 and 2011 demonstratethat reformers can win, but hardly guarantee vic-tories in the future. The school reform movementhas nothing to offer you but toil, sweat, tears andnow the prospect of victory for students, parentsand taxpayers.With your help, we mean to hold our own.ENDNOTES1. Matthew Wicks, A National Primer on K–12 Online Learning, 2nd ed. (Vienna, VA: International Association for K-12Online Learning [iNACOL], October 2010), available at http://www.inacol.org/research/docs/iNCL_NationalPrim-erv22010-web.pdf.2. Clayton M . Christensen and Michael B. Horn, “How Do We Transform Our Schools?” Education Next 8, no. 3, (Summer2008), available at http://educationnext.org/how-do-we-transform- our-schools.3. Carpe Diem Academy website, “About Us,” available at http://www.cdayuma.com/about-online-schools.php.4. For an in-depth profile of Carpe Diem Collegiate High School, see Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker, “The Rise ofK–12 Blended Learning,” Innosight Institute, January 2011, available at http://www.innosightinstitute.org/innosight/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/The-Rise-of-K-12-Blended-Learning.pdf.
  • 112 Report Card on American EducationCHAPTER Five5. Ibid.6. U.S. News and World Report, “Best High Schools: Carpe Diem Academy,” available at http://education.usnews.ranking-sandreviews.com/listings/high-schools/arizona/carpe_diem_academy.7. See this report for an in-depth profile of Carpe Diem Collegiate High School: Michael Horn and Heather Staker, “TheRise of K-12 Blended Learning,” Innosight Institute, January 2011, at: http://www.innosightinstitute.org/innosight/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/The-Rise-of-K-12-Blended-Learning.pdf.8. Thompson, Clive. 2011. How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education. Available online at http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/07/ff_khan/all/19. Florida Virtual School website, available at http://www.flvs.net.10. Florida Virtual School, “Quick Facts,” available at http://www.flvs.net/areas/aboutus/Pages/QuickFactsaboutFLVS.aspx(accessed December 26, 2010).11. For more information on FLVS, see Katherine Mackey and Michael B. Horn, “Florida Virtual School: Building the FirstStatewide, Internet-Based Public High School,” Innosight Institute, October 2009; and Bill Tucker, “Florida’s OnlineOption,” Education Next, Summer 2009.12. Bill Tucker, “Florida’s Online Option.”13. John Watson, et all, “Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice,” EvergreenEducation Group, 2011.14. Ibid.15. Ibid.16. Ibid.17. Ibid.18. Michael Horn and Heather Staker, “The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning,” Innosight Institute, January 2011, at: http://www.innosightinstitute.org/innosight/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/The-Rise-of-K-12-Blended-Learning.pdf.19. Heather Clayton Staker, “Defining blended learning,” Innosight Institute, January 27, 2011.20. Matthew Wicks, A National Primer on K–12 Online Learning, 2nd ed.21. Ibid.22. Ibid.23. The total participation in district-led online-learning programs is unknown since school districts are not required toreport this information. However, the available evidence indicates that at least a majority of districts offer some onlinelearning option. In 2009, the Sloan Consortium reported that 75 percent of districts had one or more students partici-pating in some form of online learning. See John Watson, Butch Gemin, Jennifer Ryan, and Matthew Weeks, KeepingPace with K–12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of State-Level Policy and Practice, Evergreen Education Group,November 2009.24. Barbara Means, Yukie Toyama, Robert Murphy, Marianne Bakia, and Karla Jones, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practicein Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, (Washington, D.C., U.S. Department ofEducation, September 2010), available at http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf.25. Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson, “Rethinking Student Motivation: Why Understandingthe ‘Job’ Is Crucial for Improving Education,” Innosight Institute, September 2010.26. Ibid.27. Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb, Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education (SanFrancisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009).28. Ibid.29. Ibid.30. Florida Tax Watch, Center for Educational Performance and Accountability, “Final Report: A Comprehensive Assess-ment of Florida Virtual School,” November 5, 2007.31. Anthony G. Piccianno and Jeff Seaman, “K–12 Online Learning: A 2008 Follow-Up of the Survey of U.S. School DistrictAdministrators,” Sloan Consortium, Hunter College, and Babson Survey Research Group, January 2009, available athttp://www.sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/pdf/k-12online200832. Ibid.33. See Matthew Ladner, “New Millennium Schools: Delivering Six-Figure Teacher Salaries in Return for Outstanding Stu-dent Learning Gains,” The Goldwater Institute Policy Brief, April 28, 2009, available at http://goldwaterinstitute.org/article/3172.
  • www.alec.org 113Raising Academic Quality for All Students by Customizing Education with Digital Learning34. Digital Learning Now, “The 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning,” available at http://www.digitallearningnow.com/?page_id=20.35. Arizona State Legislature, SB1553, “Education Arizona Empowerment Accounts,” available at http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=SB1553&Session_ID=102 (accessed April 18, 2011).36. See Matthew Ladner and Nick Dranias, “Education Savings Accounts: Giving Parents Control of Their Children’s Educa-tion,” The Goldwater Institute Policy Brief, January 28, 2011, available at http://goldwaterinstitute.org/article/5643. Ibid.
  • 114 Report Card on American EducationAPPENDIX A | METHODOLOGY FOR RANKING THE STATESRank Jurisdiction1 Massachusetts2 Vermont3 New Jersey4 Colorado5 Pennsylvania6 Rhode Island7 North Carolina8 Kansas9 New Hampshire10 New York11 Texas12 Florida13 Hawaii14 Maine15 Nevada16 Montana17 Indiana18 Minnesota19 Wisconsin20 Maryland21 Ohio22 Delaware23 Wyoming24 District of Columbia25 Washington26 Virginia27 Georgia28 Illinois29 Idaho30 California31 Iowa32 Alaska33 North Dakota34 Alabama35 New Mexico36 Arizona37 Kentucky38 South Dakota39 Connecticut40 Oregon41 Utah42 Nebraska43 Oklahoma44 Tennessee45 Arkansas46 Michigan47 Missouri48 Mississippi49 Louisiana50 South Carolina51 West VirginiaTABLE 5 | Ranking States by Achievement and Gainsof Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible GeneralPopulation Students on the NAEP 4th- and 8th-Grade Reading and Math Exams, 2003-2011 TABLE 6 | State Education Policy GradesGrade Jurisdiction Numeric ScoreA- Missouri 3.500B+ Florida 3.250B+ Minnesota 3.167B Arizona 2.917B California 3.083B Colorado 3.000B District of Columbia 2.917B Georgia 2.833B Indiana 3.000B New Mexico 2.833B Ohio 2.833B Oklahoma 2.917B Utah 2.917B- Alaska 2.500B- Idaho 2.500B- Louisiana 2.583B- Massachusetts 2.583B- Michigan 2.667B- New Jersey 2.583B- Wisconsin 2.750C+ Connecticut 2.333C+ Delaware 2.167C+ Hawaii 2.417C+ Illinois 2.333C+ Nevada 2.167C+ New Hampshire 2.250C+ Pennsylvania 2.250C+ South Carolina 2.333C+ Texas 2.417C+ Wyoming 2.167C Arkansas 2.083C Kentucky 1.833C Mississippi 1.833C Montana 2.000C North Carolina 2.083C Oregon 2.083C Rhode Island 2.000C Tennessee 1.917C Washington 1.917C- Iowa 1.667C- Kansas 1.583C- Maine 1.750C- Maryland 1.583C- New York 1.583C- South Dakota 1.500C- Virginia 1.500D+ Alabama 1.417D+ Nebraska 1.167D+ North Dakota 1.167D+ Vermont 1.333D+ West Virginia 1.417
  • www.alec.org 115APPENDIX A |METHODOLOGY FOR RANKING THE STATESTABLE 7 | 2011 NAEP Scores for Low-Income Students(Non-IEP, Non-ELL) Average scores (0-500) and rank (1-51)Jurisdiction4th-GradeReading Score Rank4th-GradeMath Score Rank8th-GradeReading Score Rank8th-GradeMath Score RankAlabama 214 35 226 49 254 46 262 50Alaska 213 40 235 33 259 33 283 14Arizona 213 39 234 37 255 43 273 38Arkansas 215 34 234 35 257 39 275 33California 212 42 234 39 256 41 272 41Colorado 222 7 241 8 264 11 283 12Connecticut 216 31 230 44 263 13 271 43Delaware 219 16 236 27 262 20 277 25District of Columbia 199 51 218 51 244 51 260 51Florida 223 4 237 22 260 27 273 39Georgia 213 38 231 41 256 42 271 42Hawaii 212 44 238 21 257 38 279 18Idaho 220 15 237 24 265 7 282 16Illinois 213 41 230 45 261 26 276 30Indiana 219 19 238 17 261 23 278 22Iowa 218 24 240 9 264 10 279 19Kansas 222 8 243 5 263 15 284 9Kentucky 217 25 235 32 262 18 274 35Louisiana 210 47 228 46 252 49 270 45Maine 220 10 243 4 267 5 286 5Maryland 217 27 235 34 255 44 270 47Massachusetts 226 1 247 2 267 4 290 1Michigan 211 45 227 48 258 35 270 44Minnesota 218 23 243 6 265 6 285 8Mississippi 206 50 225 50 249 50 262 49Missouri 214 37 234 40 262 19 274 37Montana 220 14 239 11 269 2 289 2National Public 216 235 259 276Nebraska 219 17 234 38 263 16 275 34Nevada 214 36 235 30 257 36 275 31New Hampshire 225 2 247 1 265 8 286 7New Jersey 220 12 239 15 261 22 284 10New Mexico 210 46 234 36 257 37 275 32New York 222 6 237 25 264 9 278 24North Carolina 218 21 239 13 259 30 280 17North Dakota 220 9 239 16 261 24 283 11Ohio 216 32 238 19 260 29 279 21Oklahoma 217 26 235 31 261 25 274 36Oregon 219 18 236 28 262 17 279 20Pennsylvania 220 13 237 23 259 31 276 29Rhode Island 220 11 238 18 260 28 277 28South Carolina 210 48 231 42 253 48 272 40South Dakota 216 30 236 26 264 12 283 13Tennessee 209 49 228 47 253 47 266 48Texas 215 33 239 12 258 34 286 4Utah 218 20 239 10 261 21 277 26Vermont 224 3 245 3 271 1 288 3Virginia 216 29 235 29 257 40 277 27Washington 218 22 239 14 263 14 283 15West Virginia 212 43 231 43 255 45 270 46Wisconsin 216 28 238 20 259 32 278 23Wyoming 222 5 242 7 267 3 286 6
  • 116 Report Card on American EducationAPPENDIX A | METHODOLOGY FOR RANKING THE STATESTABLE 8 | Change in NAEP Scores for Low-Income Students from 2003 to 2011(Non-IEP, Non-ELL) Average scores (0-500) and rank (1-51)JurisdictionChange in 4th-GradeReading ScoresImprovementRankChange in 4th-GradeMath ScoresImprovementRankAlabama 14.4 3 8.8 25Alaska 5.7 26 5.3 43Arizona 8.7 15 9.7 18Arkansas 4.7 32 8.8 27California 11.2 7 9.9 17Colorado 5.2 29 13.9 5Connecticut 5.3 28 7.1 35Delaware 5.5 27 7.6 33District of Columbia 12.6 5 14.8 4Florida 10.2 8 9.7 20Georgia 9.1 13 8.9 23Hawaii 6.0 25 15.6 3Idaho 2.8 42 4.2 45Illinois 6.7 23 8.8 24Indiana 8.5 16 9.9 16Iowa 2.1 44 6.2 39Kansas 9.7 10 8.3 30Kentucky 5.0 31 11.3 12Louisiana 8.4 17 4.4 44Maine 1.4 46 9.7 19Maryland 14.7 2 16.9 1Massachusetts 9.6 11 15.9 2Michigan 7.3 20 6.1 40Minnesota 1.1 48 10.5 15Mississippi 8.4 18 8.6 28Missouri 2.3 43 7.1 34Montana 4.4 35 6.3 38National public 7.9 9.0Nebraska 4.3 36 5.4 42Nevada 12.7 4 12.3 8New Hampshire 7.0 21 10.9 14New Jersey 12.3 6 12.4 7New Mexico 3.6 40 9.0 21New York 10.1 9 7.6 32North Carolina 7.9 19 7.9 31North Dakota 3.3 41 3.7 47Ohio 5.2 30 11.6 11Oklahoma 4.2 38 8.6 29Oregon 4.6 34 1.2 51Pennsylvania 15.3 1 13.6 6Rhode Island 9.3 12 12.3 9South Carolina 4.2 37 2.7 49South Dakota -1.5 50 3.2 48Tennessee 6.8 22 8.9 22Texas 4.6 33 6.0 41Utah -0.7 49 6.4 37Vermont 6.1 24 11.9 10Virginia 9.1 14 8.8 26Washington 1.7 45 7.1 36West Virginia -2.3 51 1.8 50Wisconsin 3.9 39 10.9 13Wyoming 1.3 47 3.8 46
  • www.alec.org 117JurisdictionChange in 8th-GradeReading ScoresImprovementRankChange in 8th-GradeMath ScoresImprovementRankAlabama 5.6 22 7.6 31Alaska 6.7 9 9.7 23Arizona 3.4 32 7.5 32Arkansas 0.4 48 8.8 26California 3.6 30 9.7 22Colorado 6.6 10 13.5 9Connecticut 11.1 2 4.0 44Delaware 5.4 23 10.1 21District of Columbia 7.4 7 19.7 2Florida 6.2 19 8.1 29Georgia 6.1 20 13.9 6Hawaii 6.2 18 16.6 4Idaho 1.6 44 5.3 41Illinois 6.5 11 12.0 15Indiana 5.1 24 5.8 39Iowa 3.2 33 2.9 47Kansas 3.0 36 7.7 30Kentucky 1.7 43 7.0 35Louisiana 3.1 34 8.6 27Maine 2.3 38 12.0 13Maryland 6.3 16 9.0 24Massachusetts 6.7 8 20.5 1Michigan 7.5 6 7.5 33Minnesota 8.2 4 3.7 45Mississippi 1.3 45 10.4 19Missouri 3.7 29 4.4 42Montana 4.5 25 7.4 34National public 4.9 10.1Nebraska 2.3 39 3.1 46Nevada 7.9 5 12.6 10New Hampshire 0.6 46 8.1 28New Jersey 5.7 21 18.7 3New Mexico 6.3 15 11.8 16New York 6.4 12 6.7 36North Carolina 8.3 3 11.0 17North Dakota -4.9 50 -0.4 51Ohio 4.3 26 10.6 18Oklahoma 1.8 41 6.5 37Oregon 0.5 47 4.2 43Pennsylvania 4.0 27 12.0 14Rhode Island 6.3 14 13.8 7South Carolina 2.9 37 6.2 38South Dakota -4.9 51 2.7 48Tennessee 3.7 28 10.3 20Texas 6.3 17 15.5 5Utah 1.9 40 1.9 49Vermont 11.5 1 13.6 8Virginia 1.8 42 12.1 12Washington 3.6 31 8.8 25West Virginia -1.9 49 1.3 50Wisconsin 6.4 13 12.6 11Wyoming 3.0 35 5.6 40APPENDIX A | METHODOLOGY FOR RANKING THE STATES
  • 118 Report Card on American EducationJurisdictionStateAcademicStandardsChange inState AcademicStandardsCharterSchoolLawCharterSchool GradeHome-schoolRegulationBurdenPrivateSchoolChoice"A" GradeorMultipleProgramsAlabama F Lowered No BAlaska C Raised Yes D AArizona D+ Lowered Yes B B Yes YesArkansas C- Lowered Yes D CCalifornia C Lowered Yes A BColorado B- Raised Yes B C YesConnecticut C Raised Yes D ADelaware C- Lowered Yes C BDistrict of Columbia C Raised Yes A C YesFlorida C Lowered Yes B C Yes YesGeorgia C- Raised Yes C C Yes YesHawaii A Raised Yes D CIdaho D+ Raised Yes C AIllinois D Lowered Yes D A YesIndiana C Raised Yes B A YesIowa C- Raised Yes F C YesKansas C- Lowered Yes F BKentucky C Lowered No BLouisiana C- Lowered Yes C C Yes YesMaine B Lowered No C YesMaryland D+ Lowered Yes D CMassachusetts A Raised Yes C DMichigan D Lowered Yes B AMinnesota B (New) Yes A C YesMississippi C Lowered Yes F BMissouri A Raised Yes B AMontana B Raised No ANebraska F Lowered No BNevada C Raised Yes C BNew Hampshire B+ (New) Yes D CNew Jersey B Raised Yes C ANew Mexico A Raised Yes C BNew York D Lowered Yes B DNorth Carolina C Raised Yes D C YesNorth Dakota C Lowered No DOhio C Lowered Yes C C YesOklahoma C Raised Yes C A Yes YesOregon C- Lowered Yes C CPennsylvania C Lowered Yes B D YesRhode Island B Raised Yes D D YesSouth Carolina C- Lowered Yes C CSouth Dakota C Raised No CTennessee F Lowered Yes C CTexas D Raised Yes D AUtah C+ Raised Yes B B YesVermont B+ Raised No DVirginia D+ Raised Yes F CWashington A Raised No CWest Virginia C Raised No CWisconsin C Raised Yes C B YesWyoming C Lowered Yes D BAPPENDIX B | METHODOLOGY FOR Grading THE STATESTABLE 9 | Education Policy Grade Components
  • www.alec.org 119APPENDIX B | METHODOLOGY FOR Grading THE STATESJurisdictionOverallTeacherQualityand Poli-cies GradeDeliver-ing WellPreparedTeachersExpand-ing theTeachingPoolIdenti-fyingEffectiveTeachersRetainingEffectiveTeachersExitingInef-fectiveTeachersStateVirtual Schoolor StateOnline Learn-ing InitiativeMulti-DistrictFull-TimeOnlineSchoolAlabama C- C- C+ D C- C- Yes NoAlaska D F C- D- C D+ Yes YesArizona D+ D C- D D+ C- No YesArkansas C- C- B D C C- Yes YesCalifornia D+ C D+ D- C+ D- Yes YesColorado D+ D- D+ D- C- B- Yes YesConnecticut D+ C B- D+ F C- Yes NoDelaware D F C+ D C- D No NoDistrict of Columbia D- D D+ F D- D+ Yes YesFlorida C C B- C- C C Yes YesGeorgia C- C B- D+ D C Yes YesHawaii D- D- F D D D Yes YesIdaho D- D D D- D+ F Yes YesIllinois D+ D D+ D D B Yes NoIndiana D D D+ D D+ F No YesIowa D D D D C- D+ Yes NoKansas D- D+ F D C- F No YesKentucky D+ D+ C D+ C- F Yes NoLouisiana C- C+ C D+ C C- Yes YesMaine F F F F C- F Yes NoMaryland D D- C+ D- C- F Yes NoMassachusetts D+ C+ C D- D+ D Yes YesMichigan D- D F D- C- D Yes YesMinnesota D- D D- D C- F Yes YesMississippi D+ C C D D C Yes NoMissouri D C- D- D+ D D- Yes YesMontana F D- D- F D F Yes NoNebraska D- D F D C- F Yes NoNevada D- D- D- D- D D+ No YesNew Hampshire D- D D F D- D- Yes YesNew Jersey D+ D B- D+ C- D+ No NoNew Mexico D+ D+ D C- D B- Yes NoNew York D+ D+ C D- C- D No NoNorth Carolina D+ D D+ C- C D Yes NoNorth Dakota D- D F D- D D+ Yes NoOhio D+ D D C- C D Yes YesOklahoma D- D+ F F D+ D- No YesOregon D- D+ F F D+ D- Yes YesPennsylvania D D+ C- D D F No YesRhode Island D D C D D F Yes NoSouth Carolina C- D+ D C C C+ Yes YesSouth Dakota D D C- F C F Yes NoTennessee C- C- C C C F Yes YesTexas C- C B- D C- D Yes YesUtah D D- D D C D- Yes YesVermont F D D- F D F Yes NoVirginia D+ C C D- C D+ Yes YesWashington D+ D+ C- D C D+ Yes NoWest Virginia D+ C- C D D C Yes NoWisconsin D D- D- D- C D Yes YesWyoming D- D- D D D D- Yes Yes
  • 120 Report Card on American EducationFigure Page TitleFigure 1 7 States Expanding or Creating New Private School Choice Programs, 2011(Blue = New States with Private-School Choice Programs)Figure 2 12 States Using A-F Lables to Grade School PerformanceFigure 3 18 19-Year-Old Dropouts by 3rd-Grade Reading Scores(Source: Casey Foundation Longitudinal StudyFigure 4 19 Middle- and High-Income Students Scoring "Proficient or Better" on the2011 NAEP 4th-Grade Reading ExamFigure 5 20 Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible Students Scoring "Proficient or Better" on the2011 NAEP 4th-Grade Reading ExamFigure 6 21 Students with Disabilities Scoring "Proficient or Better" on the2011 NAEP 4th-Grade Reading ExamFigure 7 21 Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible General Education Students Scoring"Proficient or Better" on the 2011 NAEP 4th-Grade Reading ExamFigure 8 28 PISA Combined Literacy Scores for 15-year-olds American income subgroups (percentage ofschool eligible for FRL) vs. the highest and lowest OECD scores (OECD Average = 493)Figure 9 29 PISA Combined Literacy Scores for 15-year-olds American racial subgroups vs.the highest and lowest OECD scores (OECD Average = 493)Figure 10 29 National Public School NAEP Reading and Math Scores, 2003 and 2011Table 1 31 States Failing to Meet the NAEP 95 Percent Overall-Inclusion Goals, 2011, by ExamFigure 11 31 Kentuckys Point Gain on NAEP 4th-Grade Reading Exam, 2003-2011,by Student Disability ClassificationFigure 12 32 Size of Gains for Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible Students onthe Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-Grade Reading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Figure 13 33 Size of Gains for Black Students on the Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-GradeReading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Figure 14 34 Size of Gains for White Students on the Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-GradeReading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Figure 15 34 Size of Gains for Hispanic Students on the Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-GradeReading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Figure 16 35 Size of Gains for Students with Disabilities on the Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-GradeReading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Figure 17 36 Size of Gains for Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible General Education Students on theCombined NAEP 4th- and 8th-Grade Reading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Figure 18 38 Public School Students Combined NAEP 4th- and 8th-Grade Reading and Math Exams Scores,2003 and 2011Table 2 43 Letter Grade keyTable 3 44 State Education Policy GradesTable 4 47 Ranking States by Achievement and Gains of Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible GeneralPopulation Students on the NAEP 4th- and 8th-Grade Reading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Table 5 114 Ranking States by Achievement and Gains of Free and Reduced-Price Lunch-Eligible GeneralPopulation Students on the NAEP 4th- and 8th-Grade Reading and Math Exams, 2003-2011Table 6 114 State Education Policy GradesTable 7 115 2011 NAEP Scores for Low-Income Students(Non-IEP, Non-ELL) Average scores (0-500) and rank (1-51)Table 8 116 Change in NAEP Scores for Low-Income Students from 2003 to 2011(Non-IEP, Non-ELL) Average scores (0-500) and rank (1-51)Table 9 118 Education Policy Grade ComponentsAPPENDIX C | INDEX OF FIGURES
  • www.alec.org 121Listed below are summaries for relevant pieces of ALEC model legislation.For more information on these or other bills, or for the full text of thesebills, contact a staff member for ALEC’s Education Task Force.A-Plus Literacy ActThe A-Plus Literacy Act is inspired by a comprehensive set of K–12 reforms implemented by Floridalawmakers in 1999, and supplemented over the next decade. The chapters of this bill are: School andDistrict Report Cards and Grades; School Recognition Program; Opportunity Scholarship Program;Special Needs Scholarship Program Act; Great Schools Tax Credit Program Act; Alternative TeacherCertification Act; Student Promotion to a Higher Grade; and School and Teacher Bonuses for AdvancedPlacement Exam Success.Alternative Certification ActTeacher quality is crucial to the improvement of instruction and student performance. However, cer-tification requirements that correspond to state-approved education programs in most states preventmany individuals from entering the teaching profession. To obtain an education degree, students mustoften complete requirements in educational methods, theory, and style rather than in-depth study ina chosen subject area. Comprehensive alternative certification programs improve teacher quality byopening up the profession to well-educated, qualified, and mature individuals. States should enact al-ternative teacher certification programs to prepare persons with subject area expertise and life expe-rience to become teachers through a demonstration of competency and a comprehensive mentoringprogram.Autism Scholarship ActThe Autism Scholarship Program Act would create a scholarship program that provides students with au-tism the option to attend the public or private elementary or secondary school of their parents’ choice.Career Ladder Opportunities ActThe Career Ladder Opportunity Act requires school districts to adopt extraordinary performance payplans for elementary and secondary public school teachers who demonstrate success in the classroom.The local school district must design the plan in consultation with teachers and administrators. Be-cause reward systems in the past have often failed because of premature abandonment, the districtmust keep the plan for three years and make improvements on it when necessary.Charter School Growth with Quality ActThe Charter School Growth with Quality Act intends to expand quality public education opportunities forall children by establishing a state public charter school commission to serve as an independent state-wide charter authorizer.APPENDIX D | MODEL LEGISLATION FOR K-12 EDUCATION
  • 122 Report Card on American EducationEducation Savings Account ActThe Education Savings Account Act allows parents to use the funds that would have been allocated totheir child at their resident school district for an education program of the parents’ choosing.Family Education Tax Credit Program ActThe Family Education Tax Credit Program Act would create a family education tax credit for payment oftuition, fees, and certain other educational expenses and a tax credit for individual and corporate con-tributions to organizations that provide educational scholarships to eligible students so they can attendthe public or private schools of their parents’ choice.Foster Child Scholarship Program ActThe Foster Child Scholarship Program Act would create a scholarship program that provides childrenwho have been placed in foster care the option to attend the public or private elementary or secondaryschool of their guardians’ choice.Great Schools Tax Credit ActThe Great Schools Tax Credit Act would authorize a tax credit for individual and corporate contributionsto organizations that provide educational scholarships to eligible students so they can attend qualify-ing public or private schools of their parents’ choice.Great Teachers and Leaders ActThe Great Teachers and Leaders Act reforms the practice of tenure, known as nonprobationary status insome states. Teachers can earn tenure after 3 years of sufficient student academic growth; tenure is re-vocable following 2 consecutive years of insufficient growth. The Act requires principals to be evaluat-ed annually with 50 percent of the evaluation based on student achievement and their ability to devel-op teachers in their buildings and increase their effectiveness. The Act eliminates the practice of forcedteacher placement and replaces it with mutual consent hiring. The Act allows school districts to makereduction in force decisions based on teacher performance rather than on seniority.Indiana Comprehensive Reform PackageThe Indiana Education Reform Package is inspired by their comprehensive set of K–12 education reformsadopted by the Indiana Legislature in the spring of 2011 and signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels. This actincorporates several of the key reforms the Indiana Legislature passed, including Charter Schools Act,School Scholarships Act, Teacher Evaluations and Licensing Act, Teacher Collective Bargaining Act,Turnaround Academies Act, Early Graduation Scholarship Act, and Textbooks and Other CurricularMaterial Act.Longitudinal Student Growth ActThe Longitudinal Student Growth Act would require the state department of education to implementa state data management system for collecting and reporting student assessment data and identifiesthe duties and responsibilities of the state department of education and the school districts in imple-menting the data management system. The legislation instructs the state board of education to adopta mixed-effects statistical model to diagnostically calculate students’ annual academic growth over theperiods between the administration of the statewide assessments, based on the students’ assessmentscores. The legislation next requires the department to provide to each school district and each charterschool an academic growth information report for each student enrolled in the school district or char-ter school, and requires the school district or charter school to adopt a policy for using the informationin the report and communicating the information in the report to students and their parents.APPENDIX D | MODEL LEGISLATION FOR K-12 EDUCATION
  • www.alec.org 123Next Generation Charter Schools ActThe Next Generation Charter Schools Act recognizes charters schools are a necessity to improve the op-portunities of all families and that charter schools serve a distinct purpose in supporting innovationsand best practices that can be adopted among all public schools. Further, this act recognizes that theremust be a variety of public institutions that can authorize the establishment of charter schools as de-fined by law, and recognizes that independent but publicly accountable multiple authorizing uthor-ities, such as independent state commissions or universities, contribute to the health and growth ofstrong public charter schools. This act establishes that existing or new public entities may be created toapprove and monitor charter schools in addition to public school district boards. This act also removesprocedural and funding barriers to charter school success.Online Learning Clearinghouse ActThe Online Learning Clearinghouse Act creates a clearinghouse through which school districts may offertheir computer-based courses to students of other school districts.Open Enrollment ActThe Open Enrollment Act stipulates that a student may, with the assistance of the state, attend any pub-lic school in the state. The legislation allows the parents of the student to apply for attendance in anynonresident school. The nonresident school district would advise the parent within an established timewhether the application was accepted or rejected. The nonresident school district would be obligated toadopt standards for consideration of such applications. State aid follows the transferring student fromthe resident to the nonresident district. State funds are thus used to facilitate the expansion of educa-tional choice available to the student and the parent.Parent Trigger ActThe Parent Trigger Act places democratic control into the hands of parents at school level. Parents can,with a simple majority, opt to usher in one of three choice-based options of reform: (1) transformingtheir school into a charter school, (2) supplying students from that school with a 75 percent per pupilcost voucher, or (3) closing the school.Parental Choice Scholarship Program ActThe Parental Choice Scholarship Program Act creates a scholarship program that provides all children theoption to attend the public or private elementary or secondary school of their parents’ choice.Public School Financial Transparency ActThe Public School Financial Transparency Act would require each local education provider in the stateto create and maintain a searchable expenditure and revenue Web site database that includes detaileddata of revenues and expenditures. It also would require each local education provider to maintain thedata in a format that is easily accessible, searchable, and downloadable.Resolution Adopting the 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning for K-12This resolution adopts the Digital Learning Council’s 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning.This states the 10 Elements should be incorporated as necessary through future legislation as well asimmediate state regulation, strategic planning, guidelines and/or procedures on the part of the state ed-ucation agency, local education agencies, and any other relevant public or private bodies.Special Needs Scholarship Program ActThe Special Needs Scholarship Program Act creates a scholarship program that provides students withspecial needs the option to attend the public or private elementary or secondary school of their par-ents’ choice.APPENDIX D | MODEL LEGISLATION FOR K-12 EDUCATION
  • 124 Report Card on American EducationAPPENDIX D | MODEL LEGISLATION FOR K-12 EDUCATIONStudent-Centered Funding ActThe Student-Centered Funding Act would create a student-centered finance model based on a weightedstudent formula in which money “follows” a child to his or her school. Funds follow students to which-ever public school they attend, both district and charter, which better ensures that funding can be moreaccurately adjusted to meet the real costs to schools of all sizes and locations of educating various stu-dents based on their unique characteristics. Parents, regardless of income or address, have a greater ar-ray of education options for their children based on their unique, individual needs.Teacher Choice Compensation ActThe Teacher Choice Compensation Act would create a program where by teachers may be eligible for per-formance-based salary stipends if they opt out of their permanent contract and meet measurable stu-dent performance goals based on a value-added test instrument developed by the state department ofeducation.Teacher Quality and Recognition Demonstration ActThe need for quality teachers in improving student achievement is generally recognized as one of themost crucial elements of state reform efforts. A primary concern in the quality of the performance ofteachers is the forecast for an increasing need for more teachers. This bill is directed toward creat-ing a new structure of the current teaching system that will promote the retention and reward of goodteachers and attract new talent to the profession. This bill establishes teacher quality demonstrationprojects wherein local education agencies are exempt from education rules and regulations regardingteacher certification, tenure, recruitment, and compensation, and are granted funding for the purposeof creating new models of teacher hiring, professional growth and development, compensation andrecruitment.Virtual Public Schools ActThe Virtual Public Schools Act would allow the use of computer- and Internet-based instruction for stu-dents in a virtual or remote setting.
  • www.alec.org 125Alliance for School Choicewww.allianceforschoolchoice.orgThe Alliance for School Choice is a national lead-er in promoting school vouchers and scholarshiptax credit programs. The Alliance works to im-prove K-12 education by advancing public policythat empowers parents, particularly those in low-income families, to choose the education they de-termine is best for their children.American Board for Certificationof Teacher Excellencewww.abcte.orgThe American Board for Certification of TeacherExcellence recruits, prepares, certifies, and sup-ports dedicated professionals to improve studentachievement through quality teaching.American Enterprise Institutewww.aei.orgThe American Enterprise Institute for Public Poli-cy Research is a private, nonpartisan, not-forprof-it institution dedicated to research and educationon issues of government, politics, economics, andsocial welfare.Black Alliance for Educational Optionswww.baeo.orgThe Black Alliance for Educational Options worksto increase access to high-quality educational op-tions for Black children by actively supporting pa-rental choice policies and programs that empow-er low-income and working-class Black families.Cato Institutewww.cato.orgThe Cato Institute’s education research is found-ed on the principle that parents are best suitedto make important decisions regarding the careand education of their children. Cato’s research-ers seek to shift the terms of public debate in favorof the fundamental right of parents.Center for Digital Educationwww.centerdigitaled.comThe Center for Digital Education is a resourceon K-12 and higher education technologies. TheCenter provides dynamic and diverse opportuni-ties for private- and public-sector leaders to suc-ceed in 21st century education.Center for Education Reformwww.edreform.comThe Center for Education Reform drives the cre-ation of better educational opportunities for allchildren by leading parents, policymakers andthe media in boldly advocating for school choice,advancing the charter school movement, andchallenging the education establishment.Center on Reinventing Public Educationwww.crpe.orgThe Center on Reinventing Public Education en-gages in independent research and policy analysison a range of K-12 public education reform issues,including choice and charters, finance and pro-ductivity, teachers, urban district reform, leader-ship, and state and federal reform.Connections Academywww.connectionsacademy.comConnections Academy provides a new form offree public school that students attend fromhome. Connections’ unique program combinesstrong parental involvement of homeschooling;expertise and accountability of public funded ed-ucation; and flexibility of online classes.Education|Evolvingwww.educationevolving.orgEducation|Evolving is a kind of “design shop”working to help public education with the dif-ficult process of change. Education|Evolving isinvolved with the architecture and redesign ofschooling.Evergreen Education Groupwww.evergreenedgroup.comThe Evergreen Education Group seeks to under-stand the national landscape of K-12 online learn-ing and apply its understanding to the challengesthat schools, agencies, legislators, and others face.Foundation for Excellence in Educationwww.excelined.orgThe mission of the Foundation for Excellence inEducation is answer the pivotal questions of whatmotivates students to exceed expectations, whatare the secrets to successful teaching, and how dowe replicate academic achievement?APPENDIX E | EDUCATION REFORM ORGANIZATIONS
  • 126 Report Card on American EducationThe Freedom Foundationwww.myfreedomfoundation.comThe Freedom Foundation’s mission is to advanceindividual liberty, free enterprise, and limited,accountable government. Its primary research ar-eas are budget and taxes, education, labor, elec-tions, and citizenship and governance.Friedman Foundation for Educational Choicewww.edchoice.orgThe Friedman Foundation for Educational Choiceplays a critical and unique role in the schoolchoice movement. As the only national organi-zation dedicated solely to advancing Milton andRose Friedman’s vision of an education systemwhere all parents are free to choose, the Founda-tion brings an unsurpassed clarity of purpose tothe education reform debate.Goldwater Institutewww.goldwaterinstitute.orgThe Goldwater Institute is an independent gov-ernment watchdog supported by people who arecommitted to expanding free enterprise and lib-erty. The Institute develops innovative, princi-pled solutions to pressing issues facing the statesand enforces constitutionally limited governmentthrough litigation.Heartland Institutewww.heartland.orgHeartland’s mission is to discover, develop, andpromote free-market solutions to social and eco-nomic problems. Such solutions include parentalchoice in education, choice and personal respon-sibility in health care, privatization of public ser-vices, and deregulation in areas where propertyrights and markets do a better job than govern-ment bureaucracies.Heritage Foundationwww.heritage.orgThe Heritage Foundation is the nation’s mostbroadly supported public policy research insti-tute. Heritage works to formulate and promoteconservative public policies based on the princi-ples of free enterprise, limited government, indi-vidual freedom, traditional American values, anda strong national defense.Hispanic Council for Reformand Educational Optionswww.hcreo.comThe Hispanic Council for Reform and Educa-tional Options works to improve educationaloutcomes for Hispanic children by empoweringfamilies through parental choice. It achieves thisby providing parents with free information andresources.Home School Legal Defense Associationwww.hslda.orgThe Home School Legal Defense Association isa nonprofit advocacy organization established todefend and advance the constitutional right ofparents to direct the education of their childrenand to protect family freedoms.Hoover Institutionwww.hoover.orgThe Hoover Institution seeks to secure and safe-guard peace, improve the human condition, andlimit government intrusion into the lives of in-dividuals by collecting knowledge, generatingideas, and disseminating both.Insight Schoolswww.insightschools.netInsight Schools works to ensure online learningis delivering significant improvements in our ed-ucational system: helping to reduce the nation’shigh school dropout rate; bringing students backinto public schools; providing new opportunitiesfor students; and helping prepare them for collegeand life after high school.Independence Institutewww.i2i.orgThe Independence Institute is established uponthe eternal truths of the Declaration of Indepen-dence dedicated to providing timely informationto concerned citizens, government officials, andpublic opinion leaders.APPENDIX E | EDUCATION REFORM ORGANIZATIONS
  • www.alec.org 127Institute for Justicewww.ij.orgThe Institute for Justice challenges the govern-ment when it stands in the way of people tryingto earn an honest living, when it unconstitution-ally takes away individuals’ property, when bu-reaucrats instead of parents dictate the educationof children, and when government stifles speech.International Association forK-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)www.inacol.orgThe International Association for K-12 OnlineLearning works to ensure all students have accessto world-class education and quality online learn-ing opportunities that prepare them for a lifetimeof success.Innosight Institutewww.innosightinstitute.orgInnosight Institute is a not-for-profit, non-parti-san think tank whose mission is to apply Har-vard Business School Professor Clayton M. Chris-tensen’s theories of disruptive innovation todevelop and promote solutions to the most vexingproblems in the social sector.John Locke Foundationwww.johnlocke.orgThe John Locke Foundation employs research,journalism, and outreach programs to transformgovernment through competition, innovation,personal freedom, and personal responsibility.The Foundation seeks a better balance betweenthe public sector and private institutions of fami-ly, faith, community, and enterprise.K12, Inc.www.k12.comK¹², Inc.’s mission is to provide any child access toexceptional curriculum and tools that enable himor her to maximize his or her success in life, re-gardless of geographic, financial, or demograph-ic circumstance.Mackinac Center for Public Policywww.mackinac.orgThe Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a non-partisan research and educational institute thatpromotes sound solutions to Michigan’s state andlocal policy questions. The Center assists policy-makers, business people, the media, and the pub-lic by providing objective analysis of Michiganissues.Maine Heritage Policy Centerwww.mainepolicy.orgThe Maine Heritage Policy Center is a researchand educational organization whose mission is toformulate and promote conservative public pol-icies based on the principles of free enterprise;limited, constitutional government; individualfreedom; and traditional American values.National Alliance for Public Charter Schoolswww.publiccharters.orgThe National Alliance for Public Charter Schoolsworks to increase the number of high-qualitycharter schools available to all families, particu-larly in disadvantaged communities that lack ac-cess to quality public schools.National Association ofCharter School Authorizerswww.qualitycharters.orgThe National Association of Charter School Au-thorizers works with local experts to create theconditions needed for quality charter schools tothrive. The Association pushes for high standardsfor authorizers and the environments in whichthey work.APPENDIX E | EDUCATION REFORM ORGANIZATIONS
  • 128 Report Card on American EducationAPPENDIX E | EDUCATION REFORM ORGANIZATIONSNational Board for ProfessionalTeaching Standardswww.nbpts.orgNational Board for Professional Teaching Stan-dards is an independent, nonprofit, nonparti-san and nongovernmental organization. It wasformed in 1987 to advance the quality of teach-ing and learning by developing professional stan-dards for accomplished teaching, creating a vol-untary system to certify teachers who meet thosestandards and integrating certified teachers intoeducational reform efforts.National Coalition for Public School Optionswww.publicschooloptions.orgThe National Coalition for Public School Optionsis an alliance of parents that supports and defendsparents’ rights to access the best public school op-tions for their children. The Coalition supportscharter schools, online schools, magnet schools,open enrollment policies, and other innovativeeducation programs.National Council on Teacher Qualitywww.nctq.orgThe National Council on Teacher Quality is a non-partisan research and advocacy group committedto restructuring the teaching profession, led by itsvision that every child deserves effective teachers.National Heritage Academieswww.heritageacademies.comNational Heritage Academies works with schoolboards that are looking to bring parents in theircommunity another educational option for theirchildren. NHA invests resources into its schoolsto ensure that in every classroom, in every school,it is challenging each child to achieve.Oklahoma Council of Public Affairswww.ocpathink.orgOklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA) wasfounded in 1993 as a public policy research orga-nization focused primarily on state-level issues.OCPA has been part of an emerging, national trendof free-market, state-based think tanks. Through-out its 16 years of existence, OCPA has conductedresearch and analysis of public issues in Oklahomafrom a perspective of limited government, individ-ual liberty and a free-market economy.Pacific Research Institutewww.pacificresearch.orgThe Pacific Research Institute champions free-dom, opportunity, and personal responsibility forall individuals by advancing free-market policysolutions. The Institute’s activities include publi-cations, legislative testimony, and communityoutreach.State Policy Networkwww.spn.orgThe State Policy Network is dedicated solely toimproving the practical effectiveness of indepen-dent, nonprofit, market-oriented, state-focusedthink tanks. SPN’s programs enable these orga-nizations to better educate local citizens, policymakers and opinion leaders about market-orient-ed alternatives to state and local policy challenges.Texas Public Policy Foundationwww.texaspolicy.comThe Texas Public Policy Foundation’s mission isto promote and defend liberty, personal respon-sibility, and free enterprise in Texas by educatingand affecting policymakers and the Texas publicpolicy debate with academically sound researchand outreach.Thomas B. Fordham Institutewww.edexcellence.netThe Thomas B. Fordham Institute believes allchildren deserve a high quality K-12 education atthe school of their choice. The Institute strives toclose America’s vexing achievement gaps by rais-ing standards, strengthening accountability, andexpanding education options for parents andfamilies.Washington Policy Centerwww.washingtonpolicy.orgWashington Policy Center improves the livesof Washington citizens by providing accurate,highquality research for policymakers, the media,and the public. The Center provides innovativerecommendations for improving education.
  • CIVIL JUSTICETo promote systematic fairness in the courts bydiscouraging frivolous lawsuits, fairly balancingjudicial and legislative authority, treating defen-dants and plaintiffs in a consistent manner, andinstalling transparency and accountability in thetrial system.COMMERCE, INSURANCE,AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTTo enhance economic competitiveness, to pro-mote employment and economic prosperity, toencourage innovation, and to limit governmentregulation imposed upon business.EDUCATIONTo promote excellence in the nation’s education-al system, to advance reforms through parentalchoice, to support efficiency, accountability, andtransparency in all educational institutions, andto ensure America’s youth are given the opportu-nity to succeed.ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, AND AGRICULTURETo operate under the principles of free-marketenvironmentalism, that is to promote the mu-tually beneficial link between a robust economyand a healthy environment, to unleash the cre-ative powers of the free market for environmentalstewardship, and to enhance the quality and useof our natural and agricultural resources for thebenefit of human health and well-being.HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICESTo reduce governmental involvement in healthcare, to support a consumer-driven health caresystem, and to promote free-market, pro-patienthealth care reforms at the state level.INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSTo promote the core ALEC principles of free mar-kets and limited government beyond our shores,to support final ratification of free trade agree-ments that create American jobs and grow oureconomy, and to protect the intellectual propertyrights of U.S. companies doing business overseas.PUBLIC SAFETY AND ELECTIONSTo develop model policies that reduce crimeand violence in our cities and neighborhoods,while also developing policies to ensure integri-ty and efficiency in our elections and systems ofgovernment.TAX AND FISCAL POLICYTo reduce excessive government spending, tolower the overall tax burden, to enhance trans-parency of government operations, and to devel-op sound, free-market tax and fiscal policy.TELECOMMUNICATIONSAND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGYTo advance consumer choice in the dynamic andconverging areas of telecommunications and in-formation technology by furthering public poli-cies that preserve free-market principles, promotecompetitive federalism, uphold deregulation ef-forts, and keep industries free from new burden-some regulations.About the American Legislative Exchange CouncilThe American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation’s largest, nonpartisan, individualmembership association of state legislators. With 2,000 members, ALEC’s mission is to advance theJeffersonian principles of limited government, federalism, and individual liberty through a nonparti-san public-private partnership of state legislators, the business community, the federal government,and the general public.Founded in 1973, ALEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes free-market principlesthrough model legislation, developed by its public- and private-sector members in nine Task Forces:
  • 130 Report Card on American Education