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NEPC Review: 2010 State School Report Card (October 2010)

This review examines the Heartland Institute's report ranking states on student achievement, education expenditures, and adherence to learning standards, as well as a ranking based on an average of the first three. The rankings are based on indices created by the report's authors, and the report highlights the top- and lowest-performing states for each of the indices. The report assigns letter grades to each of the states (plus DC), with a forced distribution: 10 states are assigned A's, B's, C's, and D's, and 11 states must get F's. The report explains how the indices were devised but does not cite any research or provide rationales to support the methodological approach used in their creation. The report acknowledges that it does not control for state variations in demographic or other factors. It nevertheless presents conclusions concerning quality, and it recommends school choice as a remedy. The report's policy recommendations are undermined by the flaws in the report's methodological approaches, its limited and partisan selection of research references, and a clear disconnect between the recommendations and the report's findings.

Document Reviewed:

2010 State School Report Card

Herbert J. Walberg and Marc Oestreich
Heartland Institute