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Study gives Illinois’ school systems high marks

Stevenson High School is closed today in Lincolnshire, Ill., Friday, March 13, 2020. After closing in March, school districts across the state are now making plans for instruction this fall.

(The Center Square) – A new study ranking school systems across the country put Illinois among the best in the nation.

The website WalletHub analyzed 33 metrics – including test scores, dropout rate, pupil to teacher ratio, and statewide school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois ranked 13th in the nation, boosted by median ACT scores, which were tied for 4th best in the country. Illinois scored poorly in the category of threatened or injured high school students and incidents of bullying.

The rankings also took into account the number of Illinois schools appearing in U.S. News and World Report’s “Top 700 U.S. Schools” list. Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago was ranked at the top in the state and ninth in the country.

The report said the quality of public school systems varies widely from state to state and is often the question of funding.

Analyst Jill Gonzalez said if a state establishes a preschool program without using taxpayer dollars, it will lead to better school systems.

“Illinois does have one in place, but I think that making sure that is getting not necessarily getting more funding, but funding that is particularly paid attention to without raising taxes,” said Gonzalez.

The top three states with the best school systems were Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. The bottom three were Arizona, Louisiana and New Mexico.

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