A college education is now more important than ever, with even manager positions at McDonalds now requiring degrees in business. But the best hope for getting into a good college is getting a good education as a child – and with the path to college remaining the traditional route to professional and financial success for many Americans, getting them into a decent school system at a young age is vital.
Individuals with a bachelor’s degree earned 68 percent more than those with only a high school diploma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chances of employment and higher income increase with more education.
Where in the US should you live to get your kids the best chance at a quality education? Of course, schools in the same state, city, or even districts can vary wildly in terms of quality, but this can give you a rough idea of which states seem to promote a good early education, have decent high schools, and lead to the most students graduating and attending college.
With school going back in session, many parents might be wondering how they’ve done at choosing the best school districts for their children’s academic success. Others ask how one can really know what the measurements mean… is quality a question of available public funding? Test scores? Safety?
Available financial resources do help. According to an Economic Policy Institute report, income is higher in states where the workforce is well educated, as they are more productive – and those higher earning workers turn around and contribute more to the local schools in taxes. But is this the main criteria?
The good folks over at WalletHub compared the quality of education in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. They used 17 key metrics, ranging from “student-teacher ratio” to “average SAT and ACT scores” to “dropout rate.” A few states stand out in certain areas, but lag in others. However, it’s clear that some states should be on your “I wonder if my company has an office there?” list.
The Northeast holds the top ten rankings for “school system quality”.
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
However, when it comes to “school system safety”, the Midwest and the South pop up:
- New Jersey
At the bottom of the listings fall impoverished Southern States like Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi as well as Southwestern States like New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona.
Planning a move? The states at the top of the lists may be attractive, but cost of living is also higher and you can plan to pay top dollar for, say, real estate in Florida over real estate in North Dakota.