The annual chance-for-success index from Education Week was released Tuesday with Alabama schools ranking near the bottom. This index looks at criteria around early foundations, school years, and adult outcomes for students and is the first of three measures Education Week uses to create their annual Quality Counts rankings.
While the average grade for a state is a C, Alabama schools received a C minus, giving them a ranking of 45 of 51, which is in keeping with US News & World Report’s ranking of 47. In early foundations, the state received a B minus (ranked 39th), a D plus for school years (45th), and a C for adult outcomes (42nd). With a score of 73.4, the state is up 3.2 points over last year, when Alabama received a score of 70.2 (also a C minus).
Statewide, things are looking better. District-level grades for the 2017-18 school year were up over those of 2016-17, bringing Alabama schools to an overall B grade, up from a C plus the previous year.
Alabama Superintendent Eric Mackey stated in a prepared release, “Overall, we are pleased with the academic growth that we see across the state. It is a testament to the dedication of our teachers, principals, and all those who support their work that student performance continues to rise. As state superintendent, I am grateful for these hardworking individuals in our local schools who improve the trajectory of children’s lives every day. We believe that our best days and highest levels of achievement lie ahead of us, not behind, and we look forward to working with our state policymakers and lawmakers in 2019 to make sure that we are providing ever better resources and supports for our schools.”
Five years ago, Alabama introduced the Alabama Accountability Act, a tax-credit scholarship program that serves low-income students and those from failing schools. While data shows that test results are similar for students taking advantage of this program and students in district schools, there is not a continuity of data between public and private schools, making comparison difficult. AL.com reports that suggestions to make these comparisons more useful would require legislative action.