We can’t overemphasize the importance of quality education at all levels. It opens the door to opportunities and increases the chances of success in life. The US has the best education system in the world, with top-class schools and sound learning environments.
However, all states in the US don’t have the same education quality. Some have a better education standard than the rest. If you study in any of these states with the best education, your chance of success increases.
Others that fall at the bottom of the ladder aren’t necessarily substandard but are below the US standard.
This article will rank the states with the worst education. You’ll know the metric used in the rankings and why each states deserves to be on the list.
|States||Percentage Of Adults With A High School Diploma or Higher (Position among US States)||Percentage Of Adults With At Least A Bachelor’s Degree (Position among US States)||Percentages of Adults With An Advanced Degree (Position among US States)||Quality of Education (Position In States in the US)||Student Safety (Position in States in the US)|
|West Virginia||88.82% (40)||24.12% (52)||9.94% (44)||47||32|
|Mississippi||86.49% (49)||24.78% (51)||9.35% (51)||45||9|
|Louisiana||86.68% (48)||26.45% (49)||9.65% (46)||43||48|
|Arkansas||88.67% (42)||25.27% (50)||9.37% (50)||27||40|
|Alabama||87.93% (45)||27.43% (47)||10.85% (39)||39||33|
|Oklahoma||88.71% (41)||27.92% (45)||9.62% (48)||42||10|
|Nevada||87.16% (47)||27.57% (46)||9.64% (47)||23||50|
|Kentucky||87.99% (44)||26.98% (48)||11.11% (37)||19||30|
|New Mexico||87.48% (46)||30.05% (41)||14.08% (15)||38||44|
|Texas||85.39% (50)||33.12% (28)||11.90% (34)||17||25|
1. West Virginia
West Virginia is arguably the state with the worst education in the US. Its percentage of adults with a Diploma and Bachelor’s degree is the lowest in the US. The state’s education, or specifically, university education, is sub-par.
The low poverty rate in the state is the main contributing factor to poor education quality. People would rather get gainful employment immediately after high school than further their education. The quality of education they get in the lower schools is subpar, and its students are among the poorest in reading and maths.
Mississippi is another state that sits at the bottom of the “least educated states rankings.” The state’s misfortune is also directly attributed to its low percentage of adults with at least a high school diploma. Although its 86.49% might seem low, it’s the second lowest in the US.
Less than 25% of adults in the state also boast a bachelor’s degree, the second lowest in the US. Mississippi’s subpar performance is heavily due to the state’s low academic investment. It has one of the smallest budgets for education in the US. Despite the state’s shortcomings, it ranks high in student safety, among the ten best.
Louisiana is another state with one of the lowest educational attainment in the US. Only 86.64% of its students graduate with at least a high school diploma, the fourth lowest in the US.
Louisiana’s adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher is a below-average 26.45%–among the lowest four in the country. Unfortunately, it isn’t also the best place to get educated as it ranks third to last in students safety.
Arkansas has an 88.68% of adults with at least a high school diploma. Although this number is higher than most other states on this list, it’s still one of the lowest in the US. However, the state performs very poorly in the number of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher at 25.27%, putting it ahead of just two states.
Arkansas’s poor performance can be linked to its relatively low standard of living and parents’ literacy level. Only around 39.9% of kids have at least one parent with a post-secondary degree. The states invest a lot in education, but the results don’t reflect it.
Alabama’s educational failure stems from its public high schools. Less than 26.5% of fourth graders and 17.2% of 8 graders in the course are proficient in Maths. The result? They end up having one of the lowest graduation rates in the country.
Alabama’s fortune doesn’t improve much in high school and college. Only around 87.93% of its adults have a high school diploma or lower, making it one of the lowest in the country. The state’s rate of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher is 27.43 percent, the 47th best in the US.
Oklahoma is another state where its education quality isn’t at the best it can be. It ranks 42 among the US states with the best education quality. Therefore, only around 88.72% of its adults have at least a high school diploma, one of the lowest in the US. Oklahoma also has one of the lowest percentages of its adult with a bachelor’s degree or higher, at 27.92%.
It does rank high in students safety, coming up at a modest 10th. However, its education quality doesn’t match the security it provides for students.
Part of the reason the state has a bad education is the low maths proficiency of its fourth graders and poor student demographics.
Avoid Nevada if you prioritize quality education in a secure environment. It’s 47th on the list of the US state with the highest percentages of students with at least a bachelor’s degree. The state is one number higher in the adults with at least a bachelor’s degree category. Nevada is also one of the most insecure states to study, as it has a high rate of school violence.
The state’s low education funding influences all of these poor stats. It spends one of the smallest amounts on its pupils and gets a return on investment to match. Nevada’s overall quality of education is 46th among all US states.
Roughly 87.99% of Kentucky adults over 25 have at least a high school diploma. This number, as expected, is much higher than those with a bachelor’s degree, which sits at 26.98%–in the bottom five.
The government spends considerably less than the national average on education, which explains why the state has one of the worst education in the country. Kentucky also has one of the highest poverty rates in the US, which barely helps matters.
9. New Mexico
New Mexico is one of the worst places to school in the US. Poor public schools and low academic funding are at the forefront of the problems. It’s also one of the worst states for teachers in the country.
The state has an 87.48% of adults with at least a high school diploma and 30.05% of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. It ranks in the bottom ten of US rankings in both categories. Not to mention that it’s considered one of the most insecure places for students.
Texas has a low rate of adults with at least a high school diploma, at 85.39%. It puts it at number 50th in the ranking. However, the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher is high, around 33.12%.
Texas is also fairly safe for students, and it’s ranked 25th in the category among US states. The reason it’s on this list is its poor funding for public education. Its yearly budget per student is way lower than the country’s average and affects academic output. Texas is ranked 17th in education quality in the US.
The Methodology Used in the Ranking
The states in this list are ranked using some key metrics, and here is a brief explanation of these ranking criteria.
1. Percentage Of Adults With High School Diplomas
This metric is the number of people over 25 with at least a high school diploma. It takes the entire adult population that has at least a high school diploma and converts the number into the percentage of the total adult population.
For instance, if the number of adults in Alabama is 3 million and 2.9 million have at least a high school diploma, it will have a 97% score. Therefore, the lower the percentage, the poorer the state. The study entails all the US states, and the position indicated is how it performs against them.
2. Percentage of Adults With At Least A Bachelor’s Degree
This metric is the percentage of adults over 25 with at least a Bachelor’s degree. Its calculation is similar to “the percentage of adults with at least a high school diploma.”
The lower the percentages, the poorer the states. Also, the position indicated is among all the states in the US.
3. Percentage of Adults With And Advanced Degree
This metric is the percentage of adults with a postgraduate master’s or doctorate program. It also has a similar calculation method as the first two metrics. The lower the percentage, the poorer.
This metric considers the safety of the students studying in the state. It ranks the US states and gives the result in a positional format. States that rank at the top are the safest, while the bottom-ranked ones are relatively unsafe.
5. Quality of Education
This metric measures the general educational quality at all levels in each state. It entails the teachers’ competency, quality of teaching, learning infrastructures, and other essential factors.
Those are the states with the worst education in the US. West Virginia has the worst education in the US, while others follow as arranged serially. If you can, it’s best to avoid schooling in any of these states if you prioritize quality education.
The ranking doesn’t mean that all the schools in the states are below average, but most of them are. You could find high-standard schools in some of these states with proper research.
Sam is a brilliant young Nigerian biochemistry student and an aspiring entrepreneur. Despite facing many challenges, he has never lost his passion for learning and drive to make a difference in the world. Read more about him here.