FILE - School library

Minnesota has the seventh best public school system in the country, according to a 2018 Best and Worst Public Schools ranking by the financial consumer website, WalletHub.

The report ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on scores across 25 key metrics within two main categories it identifies as “quality of education” and “school safety.”

Minnesota ranked 6th in “quality of education” and 27th in “school safety.”

"The state ranked second best for math test scores and fourth best for median SAT scores," Wallethub's Jill Gonzalez said. “These results speak to the high quality of public schools throughout the state."

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said she was proud of the state's educators.

“Every student in every school – from pre-K to graduation – deserves an excellent education," Cassellius said. "We continue to work towards that goal.”

WalletHub financial writer Adam McCann notes that, “unlike other research that focuses primarily on academic outcomes or school finance, WalletHub’s analysis takes a more comprehensive approach.” The report evaluates academic performance, funding, safety, class size and instructor credentials.

Tom Allison, deputy director of Policy and Research at Young Invincibles, a Washington D.C. public policy advocacy group, told Watchdog.org that, despute Minnesota's solid ranking, the state still shows wide performance gaps for its black and Latino students compared to its white residents "21 and 26 points respectively."

"What's worse, those gaps have grown by 9 points for African Americans and 4 points for Latinos in the last decade," Allison said. "So while these K-12 indicators may rank Minnesota near the top, there is more to the story. The state is actually heading in the wrong direction when it comes to postsecondary equity."

Amy Susman-Stillman, research associate for the Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota, points to strong communities as a key factor to educational success. She mentions that for the past 25 years, children in St. Louis Park have benefited from Children First, an initiative designed to build developmental assets. She notes that a “strong community can support families, create opportunities for children, and provide support to whoever needs it.”

The Caring for Kids initiative in Wayzata is another she points to through which a west suburban community is partnering with the Wayzata school district to help low-income families’ child care needs.