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New Education Week ‘Chance for Success’ index gives Kentucky a ‘C’ in educational success

By Mary Kuhlman
Public News Service

New research underlines areas Kentucky could improve to help better prepare kids for the future.

The annual “Chance-for-Success” index released by Education Week grades states based on 13 distinct factors that affect a person’s opportunities from cradle to career.

Kentucky was given a grade of “C” overall, and Sterling Lloyd – assistant director of the Research Center at Education Week – says the state showed some improvements in the areas of fourth-grade reading, eighth-grade math and high school graduation rates. However, the Commonwealth ranked 42nd for pre-school enrollment and lagged in other early childhood measures.

A new education report suggests Kentucky needs better investments in early learning. (Photo from ponch_photography/Pixabay via PNS)

“We can see that Kentucky is 36th in terms of the early foundations,” says Lloyd. “So, it really kind of struggles in those metrics related to family income, parental education levels, things that help children get off to a good start before they even enter school.”

Kentucky ranked 38th among states, and its “C” grade is slightly lower than the national average of “C-plus.”

Lloyd notes that compared to data from 2008, the national score has risen by less than one point, now at 79 percent.

“With the grade of ‘C-plus’ for the nation, and with 24 states getting between a ‘C-minus’ and a ‘C-plus,’ there’s a sense of mediocrity,” says Lloyd. “And given that the results have not improved much over time, there’s a feeling the results are fairly stagnant. And so, new strategies, new approaches are worth trying.”

The report found persistent regional disparities, with states faring better in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The largest barriers to success were found in the South and Southwest.

Lloyd says the data should be a chance for policymakers and educators in each state to compare their state’s performance with others – and decide how to improve it.

“We’re talking about a global economy these days, and every state now, every governor, is looking to attract companies really from around the world and trying to point out that their state has the top workforce,” says Lloyd. “That their residents have the skills that these companies need.”

The highest grade awarded, an “A-minus,” was given to Massachusetts.

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