Kentucky’s ranking in an annual grading of all states on key education indicators rose dramatically this year, placing the state 14th in the nation for its work on academic standards, the teaching profession and many other variables related to public education.

Each year, Education Week (a national publication that focuses on P-12 education) produces a special issue, “Quality Counts.” The report tracks key education indicators and grades states on their policy efforts and outcomes. Last year,Kentucky ranked 34th in the nation in this annual report.

“Kentuckians should take a great deal of pride in the Commonwealth’s standings related to P-12 education,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Kentucky continues to show measureable progress in education, and the rankings provided in ‘Quality Counts’ recognize the hard work of teachers, administrators, parents and community members.”

“Much of the impetus for Kentucky’s high ranking can be traced to 2009’s Senate Bill 1,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “That legislation set us on a course to become a leader nationwide, and with the support of Gov. Beshear, legislators, teachers, administrators and parents,Kentucky’s work in school accountability, teacher training, college/career readiness and stronger academic standards is moving us in the right direction.”

“Quality Counts” provides data and information about states’ efforts in six areas:

  • K-12 Achievement
  • Standards, Assessments & Accountability
  • Teaching Profession
  • School Finance
  • Transitions & Alignment
  • Chance for Success (an index that combines information from 13 indicators that cover state residents’ lives from cradle to career)

States were assigned overall letter grades based on the average of scores for the six categories. This year,Kentucky’s overall grade was C+, an improvement over last year’s grade and a higher grade than the national average, which was a C.

No states received a grade of A in the 2012 edition of “Quality Counts.” The highest-ranking state was Maryland, with a B+. Three states received B grades; five states received B- grades; and five states (including Kentucky) received C+ grades.

Quality Counts” also provides detailed scoring for each major area, and on a 100-point scale, Kentucky scored at 90 or above in three areas: School Accountability (Standards, Assessment & Accountability), Building & Supporting Capacity (Teaching Profession) and Equity (School Finance). The state’s lowest score was in the area of Spending (School Finance), in which Kentucky’s total was 52.2 points.

This is the 16th edition of the annual “Quality Counts” report, and the theme this year is American schooling from an international perspective. The issue examines the nation’s place among the world’s public education systems and provides a fresh look at the political, social and cultural challenges the United States faces in preparing its students for the workforce demands of an interconnected world economy.

This year’s state reports also highlight challenges posed by a difficult economic climate, as states continue to make cuts to policies and programs in attempt to balance their budgets.

The full report is available at