WalletHub Ranks Kansas 15th in the Nation on Public School Systems

WalletHub Ranks Kansas 15th in the Nation on Public School Systems

WalletHub, a personal finance website launched in 2013, does
an annual review of State Public School Systems, ranking them on 21 measures
that cover performance, funding, safety, class size, and instructor
credentials. 
This year, Kansas ranked 15th overall.  This represents a notable improvement over
2016, when Kansas was ranked 20th. 
Kansas ranked 23rd in quality, which is based on measures of
graduation, dropouts, state test scores, ACT and SAT scores, and similar
measures.  In 2016, Kansas ranked 20th
in quality.  For safety, Kansas ranked 16th
this year, compared to 14th last year.  The safety rank is based on measures of
weapons, discipline incidents, bullying, incarceration, and similar measures.
It seems odd that Kansas’ ranks on both quality and safety
decreased from 2016 to 2017, yet the overall ranking increased from 20th
to 15th.  However, WalletHub changed
its methodology from 2016 to 2017, and does not recommend direct comparison of
the results from one year to the next. In particular, there were seven new
measures used for the 2017 ranking, and two measures from 2016 that were
eliminated.
The table below shows the result and ranks for Kansas for
the 2016 and 2017 rankings.
Measure
2016
2017
Results
Ranks
Results
Ranks
Presence of Public Schools in “Top 700 Best U.S.
Schools”
0.00%
42
0.95%
37
Remote-Learning Opportunities from Online Public Schools
3
14
High School Graduation Rate Among Low-Income
Students
76.9%
22
77.3%
19
Dropout Rate
14.3%
21
14.3%
20
Math Test Scores
.
22
.
22
Reading Test Scores
.
29
.
29
Share of 2016 High School Class Scoring “3” or
Higher on Advanced Placement Exams
17.30%
45
10.7%
47
Median SAT Score
582.7
11
593.33
9
Median ACT Score
21.9
21
22
14
Share of High School Graduates Who Completed ACT
and/or SAT
79.27%
48
77.69%
50
Division of SAT Results by Percentile
.
9
Division of ACT Results by Percentile
.
20
Pupil-Teacher Ratio
13.0
8
13.20
9
Share of Licensed/Certified Public K–12 Teachers
98.9%
25
98.87%
25
“Bookworms” Rank
.
7
Share of Threatened/Injured High School Students
5.3%
4
5.34%
10
Share of High School Students Not Attending School
Due to Safety Concerns
3.8%
1
Share of High School Students with Access to
Illegal Drugs
19.4%
14
Share of High School Students Participating in
Violence
7.2%
19
Share of Armed High School Students
5.2%
23
Bullying Incidence Rate
.
29
Disciplinary Incidence Rate per 100,000 Students
2237
21
2418
24
Youth Incarceration Rate per 100,000 population
aged 20 and younger
278
46
177
34
Overall Score
54.13
56.24
Overall Rank
20
15

As the table shows, the change in Kansas results and ranks
from 2016 to 2017 was a mixed bag. 
Kansas had schools appearing on the U.S. News and World Report’s top
schools in 2017, but not in 2016.  High
school graduation rates increased, but the dropout rate and math and reading
test scores remained the same.  AP scores
decreased.  ACT and SAT scores
increased.  The number of students per
teacher increased.  The number of
discipline incidents increased, but the youth incarceration rate decreased.

However, perhaps one of the most telling items in the report
was the following graph:
Kansas is shown as a “Low Spending & Strong”
state, ranking 34th in spending but 15th in quality.  These findings are consistent with what KASB
has found in our Report Card and other similar publications in the past several
years.  This means Kansas continues to
spend less than other states on public school education, yet performs much
better than would be expected based on the amount we spend.
KASB’s annual Kansas Report Card, which compares Kansas to
other states based on student attainment and achievement measures, paying
particular attention to states that are similar to Kansas on a variety of
demographic variables an also to states that seem to outperform Kansas, will be
released later this summer.
You can see WalletHub’s report here.