Study: D.C. ranks near bottom of U.S. school systems

WASHINGTON — D.C. has the second to worst public school system in the United States, according to a new study from WalletHub, which analyzed dropout rates, math, reading and SAT scores, among other metrics.

The city has the lowest math, reading and SAT scores of any school system in the U.S. It has the highest dropout rate and ranks last in school safety, according to the study.

“Comparing D.C. to other states in these sorts of lists is misleading,” says Michelle Lerner, a spokeswoman for D.C. public schools. “What we and Secretary Arne Duncan have consistently said is that D.C. public schools is the fastest improving urban school district in the country.”

Lerner says the school system showed greater growth in student outcomes than any other district on the national Trial Urban District Assessment exam. The district has shown steady increases in student enrollment, student satisfaction, and graduation rates, she says.

In June, a 10-member committee found that while the city’s public and charter schools showed improvement in student performance, achievement was low and wide disparities remained among student groups and wards.

The city’s graduation rate is disturbingly low, committee members reported: In 2014, the rate was 59 percent for public schools and 69 percent for charter schools. In the findings, the committee discovered low proficiency rates on math and science exams, and inadequate monitoring of English language learners and students with disabilities.

While Alaska — with more than 50,000 students — has the worst school system in the nation, it ranks 35th in safety, the data show. Virginia and Maryland placed 11th and 16th in overall rank. While Maryland tied for second in highest reading scores, it ranked 31st in school safety.

Massachusetts has the best public school system, WalletHub found. They have the safest schools, and the highest reading and math scores.

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