Document Type


Publication Date



nation's report card, quality counts, educating

Series Title

Office for Education Policy

Series Number

Volume 10 Issue 03


Media outlets, as well as many leaders across the state, have recently been trumpeting the Natural State’s fifth-place ranking in the latest release of Education Week’s Quality Counts, which assigns letter grades to every state on a menu of education measures, to suggest that Arkansas schools “rank fifth in the country.” On the other hand, the state received a D on the Student Achievement category of Quality Counts and many Arkansans are accustomed to seeing Arkansas ranked at or near the bottom among all states on measures related to education and economic well-being. For example, on measures of college degree attainment, Arkansas regularly ranks 49th among the 50 states. So, which is it? Does the Natural State rank 5th or 49th? We believe that, while Arkansas performs admirably given the state’s level of poverty and adult education levels, the quality of our public K-12 schools falls somewhere between these two extremes.