Young children in five New England states—Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine—are more likely to succeed in school than children elsewhere in the country, according to a 50-state “school success” index published this month by Save the Children.
The index is the newest feature to be included in the Westport, Conn., organization’s annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report, which compares child-welfare trends in the United States and dozens of developing and industrialized nations. The school success index ranks states on a number of factors, including the percentage of 4th graders scoring at proficient levels on a national test, proportions of children under 5 who are read to at home or enrolled in preschool, and the percentage of young children with healthy mothers. The three lowest-ranked states are New Mexico, Nevada, and Mississippi.
The report also says that the United States is losing ground, compared with other wealthy nations, in educational attainment. Tied for first place in 1995 for the proportion of young adults who have a college degree, the country is now ranked 18th. Among developing nations, the report also notes, 40 percent of children, or more than 200 million, fail to reach their potential for cognitive development because of poverty, poor health, or inadequate care.
A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 2009 edition of Education Week