Quality Counts: Sample 20 Years of the Flagship Report on American Education

For the annual report's 20th edition, Education Week took a retrospective look at developments, milestones, and trends in American public education chronicled along the way.

Quality Counts: Sample 20 Years of the Flagship Education Report

When the inaugural Quality Counts report was launched in 1997, states were in the process of adopting education initiatives formulated in the early years of the standards-based reform movement. As that movement evolved and matured, the report adapted to the shifting education landscape. Throughout its history, the annual report card has tracked states' progress on key education indicators analyzed by the Education Week Research Center. And each year, Education Week's journalists, in partnership with their Research Center colleagues, delve into a timely theme exploring the forces shaping the environment for educators and policymakers. For this 20th edition of Quality Counts, Education Week took a retrospective look at the developments, milestones, and trends the report has chronicled.

  • 1997 Introduction of Quality Counts Report Card

    To serve the needs of state policymakers seeking information to implement standards-based reform, Education Week's Research Center develops the first Quality Counts report card, grading state policy efforts and identifying 21 vital indicators for which data were unavailable.

  • 1998

  • 1999 School Accountability

    This year's report examines efforts to hold schools accountable for student achievement. An original survey finds that 48 states had implemented statewide tests and 19 rated schools on their performance for the 1998-99 school year. Sixteen states had put penalties in place for chronically failing schools.

  • 2000

  • 2001 Content Standards

    Education Week commissions a survey of a national sample of teachers that found 84 percent had modified their curricula to reflect state standards. Most respondents also indicate they had devised modules or lesson plans and instructed students in test-taking skills.

  • 2002

  • 2003

  • 2004 Special Education

    A survey connected with this year's report on special education programs finds that more than 8 in 10 teachers said special education students should not be expected to meet the same standards as their peers. The finding underscores tension between educators' views and some advocates' calls to raise expectations.

  • 2005

  • 2006 Retrospective on Standards-Based Reform

    The 10th edition of the annual report finds a positive relationship between states' adoption of standards, assessments, and school accountability policies and improvements on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading and math.

  • 2007 Cradle-to-Career Pipeline

    The Research Center launches its Chance-for-Success Index, spotlighting ways in which K-12 education intersects with other sectors, including the early-childhood, postsecondary, and workforce systems. A survey of policymakers finds that most states had not yet taken major steps to align K-12 policies with the expectations students face following high school.

  • 2008 Teaching Profession

    As part of an in-depth look at the teaching profession, a Research Center analysis finds that public school teachers nationwide make 88 cents for every dollar earned in 16 comparable occupations. The report also unveils a new grading framework reflecting a shift to evaluating states on student outcomes in addition to policy efforts.

  • 2009 English-Language Learners

    In examining the rapid growth of this diverse population, the report finds that nationwide enrollment of English-learners increased by 57 percent over a decade, from 3.2 million in the 1995-96 school year to 5.1 million in 2005-06. In 20 states, the ELL population at least doubled over that period.

  • 2010 Common-Core Standards

    As most states jump on the Common Core State Standards bandwagon, Education Week's journalists and researchers explore the heated standards debate. A survey of state policymakers finds that communication with stakeholders and lack of adequate information to make plans are the most frequently identified concerns.

  • 2011 Fiscal Crisis

    Education Week investigates how K-12 policymakers coped with the Great Recession. The report finds that 21 states broadened the eligible uses of education funds initially targeted to a specific purpose, and 11 relaxed class-size mandates. In all, 29 states provided some form of policy flexibility to help local school systems.

  • 2012

  • 2013 School Climate and Safety

    A survey of Education Week's audience asks teachers and administrators to share their perspectives on school climate, discipline, and safety. Administrators are more positive than teachers—77 percent of administrators—but fewer than half of teachers—"strongly agree" that their schools' climate is conducive to learning.

  • 2014 District Governance

    A far-ranging report looks at how local school districts nationwide are evolving in response to economic, demographic, and educational pressures. A Research Center survey of more than 450 district administrators gauges their views on a range of management challenges and school reform options.

  • 2015 Early-Childhood Education

    To shed light on states' success in providing educational services to their younger learners, the Education Week Research Center develops the Early Education Index. The index incorporates a range of metrics on preschool and kindergarten participation. The nation earns a grade of D-plus, while 29 states receive a D-plus or lower.

Source: Education Week | Design & Visualization: Vanessa Solis and Sumi Bannerjee