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TheStreet Open House

The 10 Worst States for Getting an Education

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Grade school education in the United States has some well documented problems. Of 21 industrialized countries, the U.S.'s 12th graders rank 19th in math, 16th in science and last in advanced physics.

The gulf between what is expected by college-level faculty and high school teachers is indicated by the fact that 44% of college faculty say that incoming freshman aren't ready for college level writing, while 90% of high school teachers say graduating seniors are well prepared.

The gulf between the reading and math proficiency standards of the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the states' own standards are quite wide in some cases, leading to matriculating students who aren't necessarily ready for the next level.

In the U.S., an average of only 55.5% of college students graduate within six years, while just 69% of students earn their high school diploma.

Despite these grim numbers, a report released by the America's Promise Alliance said the country is on the right track, estimating that by 2020 the high schools in the country will be able to achieve a 90% graduation rate.

The American Legislative Exchange Council recently published the 18th edition of its state education rankings the Report Card on American Education

The Report Card "is a comprehensive overview of educational achievement levels, focusing on performance and gains for low-income students" and ranks states based on several criteria including state academic standards, private school choice programs, charter schools, teacher quality and online learning opportunities.

Just because a state has a low overall education grade doesn't necessarily mean that their education policy is not on the right track. Oklahoma is ranked as the 9th worst state on this list, but its overall education grade of "B+" indicates that its policy is on the right track, according to the ALEC.

Here is a list of the 10 states ranked last in the report.

10. Nebraska

Education Policy Grade: 
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: D-
Per Pupil Expenditure: $10,825 (ranked 20th)

In Nebraska, 91.87% of 8th graders in 2010 were proficient in math according to the state test. According to NAEP standards, only 34.6% of students were proficient, leaving a standards gap of 57.23%. Nebraska ranks 25th in country with 55.1% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree within six years. Of the students who graduate high school and go on to college, 77.8% of Nebraska's college freshman go on to their sophomore year, ranking the state 20th in the country for college retention rates.

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