Schools in Minnesota are above average – but not by much.
Minnesota earned a C-plus (a score of 79.3) on this year's Quality Counts report card, which is a few points higher than the C national average (a score of 74.2).
This annual report card was published Wednesday by the Education Week Research Center. To grade each state, it looks at K-12 achievement, school finance, and students' chance-for-success (more on this below).
Minnesota ranks 11th out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Massachusetts came in at No. 1 again, with a score of 86.5, followed by New Jersey (85.6) and Vermont (83.8), while while New Mexico scored the lowest with 66.3 – a D.
Education Week says the nation's score has remained stable from 2016, when it scored 74.4. That's pretty much the case for Minnesota, too. Last year's score was just 0.3 points higher – Minnesota scored a 79.6 (a B-minus), ranking 10th in the country.
Here's a look at how Minnesota did in each category this year:
Minnesota got a B overall, ranking sixth in the nation. This ranking is based on how education at different ages affects a student's outcome later in life.
And a measurement that helped propel the state to its B grade is how well schools help children get off to a good start. Minnesota got an A (94.4), ranking third in the nation for "early foundations." State lawmakers – especially Gov. Mark Dayton – have stressed the importance of early childhood education and increasing opportunities for all 4-year-olds.
Minnesota got a B-plus in this category in 2016. Between last year and this year, Minnesota's rankings in all three measurements that make up the chance-for-success category went down slightly.
School finance: C
Minnesota got a C for school finance, ranking 18th in the nation. This ranking is based on how much schools spend and how money is distributed across districts within the state.
The state got a D in spending, while it got a B-plus in equity measures, averaging to a C for overall school finance.
Minnesota got a C grade in this category last year, too.
K-12 achievement: C
Minnesota got a C overall, ranking sixth in the nation. However, this ranking hasn't been updated from the 2016 report card because it relies on the National Assessment of Educational Progress report, which is released every other year.
To get a good grade on this, Education Week Research Center says a state must show strong academic performance (Minnesota got a B), improvements over time (the state got a D-plus) and progress toward narrowing poverty-based achievement gaps (Minnesota got a C-plus).
This is the latest report to highlight Minnesota's persistent achievement gaps, despite efforts from the state Department of Education to close it. The C-plus grade is one of the worst in the country, ranking 48th. The national average is a B.