State Highlights Reports

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About These Reports

For the past decade, Editorial Projects in Education’s annual Quality Counts report has tracked state policies for improving K-12 education. But children’s chances for success don’t just rest on what happens from kindergarten through high school. They are also shaped by experiences during the preschool years and opportunities for continued education and training beyond high school. Yet the historical splits between different levels of education in the United States have made coordination difficult, with early-childhood education, elementary and secondary schooling, and postsecondary and training institutions often operating in separate silos, with different rules, different financial structures, different accountability systems, and different expectations for success.

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As always, Quality Counts 2007 examines the state of state educational policymaking using a unique combination of original state data and in-depth journalism, to which we have added commentaries by leading experts in the field. But this 11th edition – From Cradle to Career: Connecting American Education From Birth Through Adulthood – begins to track state efforts to create a more seamless education system by looking at performance across the various sectors, and at state attempts to define students’ “readiness” to succeed from one stage to the next.

The new Chance-for-Success Index, developed for the report by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, provides a state-focused perspective on the importance of education throughout a person’s lifetime. The index is based on 13 indicators that highlight whether young children get off to a good start, succeed in elementary and secondary school, and hit crucial educational and economic benchmarks as adults.

This year’s report is very much a transitional document as we move from an exclusive focus on K-12 education to a broader perspective on the connections between K-12 education and other systems with which it intersects. As we make that transition, we are taking the opportunity to rethink our K-12 indicators. While this year’s report continues to track state policy in the area of standards, assessments, and accountability systems, it does not include indicators on school climate, efforts to improve teacher quality, or school finance, as it has in past years. However, this year’s report introduces a new K-12 Achievement Index that evaluates states based on their levels of performance and improvements over time.

The State Highlights Reports assemble important findings in an accessible format that allows readers to examine a particular state’s performance on this year’s indicators. For most indicators, national results are also provided as a benchmark against which state performance can be gauged.

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Quality Counts is produced with support from the Pew Center on the States.

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