Quality Counts 2012: The Global Challenge

Be you a school-finance junkie, an accountability
hawk, or a teaching aficionado, Education
’s annual Quality Counts report—which scores states on dozens of
indicators in six buckets and offers overall grades for each jurisdiction—will
be of interest. Celebrating its sweet sixteen, this year’s QC offers updated
data in every category but one. The overall rankings? Thanks to Ed Week’s
persistent use of some silly indicators like “Chance for Success,” wealthy
states continue to float to the top. (More
on that here
.) Maryland’s B-plus is enough
for a four-peat as the nation’s lead scorer; perennial powerhouses Massachusetts, New
York, and Virginia follow close behind. Yet some
shake-up has occurred, with Florida and Pennsylvania dropping
from the top ten. Ohio
earns a C-plus across all metrics, buttressed by its A on the “standards,
assessment, and accountability” indicator and its B-plus for equity in school
finance. Probably most useful are the report’s state profiles, which, after
this heavy-reform year, further explain each one’s policies along QC’s six indicators.
(Of course, this is the only part of the online report that costs dollars to
view.) Worth mentioning too is the host of commentary and analysis of the
findings—including pieces by South Korea’s former education minister Byong-man
Ahn (famous
for pushing back against his nation’s entrenched testing culture
) and Sir
Michael Barber (the theme of this year’s QC is “global competitiveness”). Also
the original survey data on how state policymakers report utilizing information
from other nation’s policies and practices, in which twenty-nine states say they use international data when
making policy decisions. (We’re rather surprised that twenty-one states
admitted to not doing the same.) Steal some time at work and immerse yourself.

Education Week, Quality
Counts 2012: The Global Challenge
(Bethesda, MD:
Editorial Projects in Education, January 12, 2012).

Daniela Fairchild
Daniela Fairchild is a Development Manager and Policy Analyst at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute