File - Classroom

(The Center Square) – The Ohio General Assembly recently overhauled how the state funds its public schools, but that might not be enough to lift Ohio into the top half of public schools across the country.

Ohio ranked 30th in the nation overall, according to a report from WalletHub, behind neighbors Kentucky (19), Indiana (22), and Pennsylvania (24). It finished ahead of Michigan (34) and West Virginia (44).

WalletHub, a personal finance website, recently ranked state’s public schools based on a wide variety of criteria, including performance and funding, and examined safety, class size, and teacher credentials. In all, the report used 32 key metrics to develop the overall rankings.

Ohio’s graduation rate among low-income students was the fifth-lowest in the nation at 71%. It also has one of the highest numbers of school shootings, while the state’s disciplinary incidence rate is also among the highest in the country.

“On the upside, the state has high reading test scores and the fourth-largest share of licensed public K-12 teachers – 99.5%,” Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst, said. “Other positive factors include state guidance on accessible technologies for providing instructional content, the lowest share of high school students not attending school due to safety concerns – 5.1%, and the fifth-lowest share of high school students with access to illegal drugs – 14.7%.”

Ohio also showed a low share of high school students participating in violence at 6.2% and a low bullying incidence rate.

The state ranks nearly in the middle at 26th when it comes to education spending but falls below the middle in overall ranking. Only eight states that rank in the top 25 in spending rank in the bottom half of standings. By contrast, 16 of the top spending states also rank top 20 for public schools.

Massachusetts ranked as the state with the best public schools, followed by Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia and New Hampshire. New Mexico ranked with the worst schools, followed by Louisiana, Arizona, Alaska, Alabama and Oklahoma.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.