The 20 States With the Best Public School Systems in America

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If you have or are planning to have kids, deciding where to settle down may require some research to learn about the quality of public schools in your area of choice. And since school quality involves a lot more than just high standardized test scores, this is one task that's easier said than done.

To help out parents and future parents, WalletHub ranked all 50 states (and Washington, D.C) from best to worst public school systems based on 32 factors. Some of them were test scores, including math and reading scores; Advanced Placement exam scores; and SAT and ACT median scores. But other factors focused more on resources, safety, and student experience.

Vermont, for example, has the lowest pupil-teacher ratio of any state, so kids there have the best chance of getting individual attention. And bullying is less of a problem in Washington, D.C. than anywhere else. Additional factors range from graduation rates and youth incarceration rates to digital learning plans and whether or not the school has a COVID safety plan in place.

In general, public school systems in New England and along the East Coast are pretty much unbeatable. Massachusetts came in first place with an overall score of about 73 points, and all but two of the top 10 are also in those regions, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, New Hampshire, Maryland, Delaware, and Vermont. If you’re not keen on living in that area, you might try the Midwest—Nebraska and Wisconsin came in eighth and ninth place, respectively.

Source: WalletHub

You can see the top 20 states below, and explore WalletHub’s full rundown here.

  1. Massachusetts // 73.14
  2. Connecticut // 67.50
  3. New Jersey // 64.36
  4. Virginia // 61.71
  5. New Hampshire // 61.57
  6. Maryland // 60.24
  7. Delaware // 58.07
  8. Nebraska // 57.81
  9. Wisconsin // 57.48
  10. Vermont // 57.43
  11. Rhode Island // 57.21
  12. Minnesota // 57.00
  13. Maine // 56.87
  14. New York // 56.42
  15. Illinois // 56.27
  16. Utah // 55.87
  17. North Dakota // 55.30
  18. Florida // 55.22
  19. Kentucky // 54.18
  20. Iowa // 53.71