The 10 Worst States for Getting an Education

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- 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. Kentucky



Education Policy Grade: C-
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade:
C
Per Pupil Expenditure:
$10,555

Kentucky ranks 35th in country with 47.8% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree within six years. Of the students who graduate high school and go on to college, 71.8% of Kentucky's college freshman go on to their sophomore year, ranking the state 38th in the country for college retention rates.


9. Mississippi



Education Policy Grade:
C-
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: 
C
Per Pupil Expenditure:
$9,190

According to the NAEP, only 16% of students are proficient in 8th grade math. Mississippi ranks 33rd in the nation with 51.5% of college students earning a bachelor's degree in six years. The states freshman retention rate of 75.9% ranks it 24th in the country.


8. Alabama



Education Policy Grade: 
D+
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade:
C-
Per Pupil Expenditure: 
$9,874

72.1% of Alabama's freshman college students continue onto their sophomore year, with 46.9% of those students earning a bachelors degree in 6 years.  


7. Arkansas



Education Policy Grade: D+
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: C-
Per Pupil Expenditure: $9,874

Arkansas ranks 46th in the nation with 41.2% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree withing six years. The state's 69.9% retention rate ranks 44th in the country.


6. Missouri



Education Policy Grade: B-
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: C-
Per Pupil Expenditure: $10,977

Missouri has a graduation rate of 83.7% and ranks 23rd in the nation with a 55.8% of students graduating with a college degree within six years. The state's college freshman retention rate of 73.9% ranks 29th in the country.


5. Arizona



Education Policy Grade: B-
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: C-
Per Pupil Expenditure: $8,806 

Arizona ranks 28th in the nation with 54.1% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree within six years. Only 70% of Arizona college freshman continue through to their sophomore years, meaning that the state ranks 43rd in the country when it comes to retention rates.


4. Louisiana 



Education Policy Grade: B-
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: B
Per Pupil Expenditure: $12,054 

According to the NAEP standards test, 16% of 8th grade students in Louisiana are proficient at math.  Louisiana ranks 47th in the nation with 40.7% of college students graduating with a bachelor's degree within six years. The state's college freshman retention rate of 72.9% ranks 36th in the country.


3. South Dakota



Education Policy Grade: D+
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade: D-
Per Pupil Expenditure: $10,311

44.8% of college students in South Dakota graduate within six years, and its 68.2% retention rate ranks 49th in the nation.


2. West Virginia



Education Policy Grade: C-
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade:
C-
Per Pupil Expenditure:
$12,280 

The NAEP test rates that 17% of 8th grade students in West Virginia are proficient in math. West Virginia ranks 43rd in the country with 43.8% of college students getting a bachelor's degree within six years. West Virginia's 68.3% retention rate ranks 48th in the country.


1. South Carolina



Education Policy Grade: C+
Teacher Quality and Policies Grade:
C
Per Pupil Expenditure:
$10,878

South Carolina ranks 19th in the country with 57.6% of students earning their bachelor's degree within six years. The gamecock state's 73.9% freshman retention rate ranks 28th in the country.

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