For the second year in a row, Education Week says New Jersey’s public schools are top in the country, although they fall short of a “A” grade. The publication looked at 39 key statistics to compile a numerical score; New Jersey’s was 87.3, good enough for a B+. Massachusetts also got a B+ with a score of 86.7. New Jersey is in the top 10 in 24 of the 39 metrics, doing well in the areas of the amount of money it spends per pupil and how its students perform in the classroom and after graduation.

New Jersey devotes 5.1 percent of its total taxable resources to education, the third-highest share in the nation. The fact that we are among the top spenders on education will come as no surprise to New Jersey property tax spenders, but at least it looks like we are getting a bang for our buck. It ranks sixth for per-pupil expenditures at $17,707 once figures are adjusted for regional cost differences and 99.9 percent of its students are in districts spending at or above the U.S. average.

New Jersey finishes second for indicators measuring student achievement in the K-12 years and fifth for success in adulthood but 17th on metrics gauging the degree to which children are prepared to start school. By the way, the data was gleaned from 2017-19, well before the coronavirus forced schools into remote learning. The rest of the top 5, following New Jersey are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and Wyoming. The bottom 5 are Louisiana, Alabama, Nevada, Oklahoma, and in dead last, New Mexico. The nation as a whole earned a C grade for its public education system, the report said.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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