PA Ranks in Top 10 in Elementary, Secondary Performance

HARRISBURG – Education Week’s “Quality Counts” report has ranked Pennsylvania 10th in the nation for elementary and secondary performance.

The magazine’s annual report card, “From Cradle to Career,” examines states’ efforts to connect education and training from birth to adulthood and provides a perspective on the importance of education throughout a person’s lifetime. The Elementary and Secondary Index is based equally on current performance and improvement, or changes over time, and uses 15 individual indicators relating to reading and math performance, graduation rates and the results of advanced placement exams.

In addition to being ranked 10th, Pennsylvania was consistently above the national average for 4th and 8th grade math and reading achievement levels and high school graduation rates.

“Governor Rendell’s historic investments in public education are starting to pay off,” Secretary of Education Gerald L. Zahorchak said. “We can, and must, do better, but the 2007 Quality Counts report reinforces what we know to be true: smart investment combined with strong educational systems is the key to success.”
Since taking office, Governor Rendell has invested $1.8 billion in new money into Pennsylvania’s public education system. As a result, over 62,500 elementary students have benefited from smaller classes and 167,900 struggling students have had access to tutoring since 2004.

Another highlight of the 2007 edition of Quality Counts is that Pennsylvania’s children have a greater chance of success compared to other states, according to the “Chance-for-Success” index, which is based on 13 indicators that highlight whether young children get a good start, succeed in elementary and secondary school, and hit key educational and income benchmarks as adults.

Nationally, Pennsylvania ranked 15th in the “Chance-for-Success” index.

The Quality Counts 2007 report also identifies the challenges faced by Pennsylvania as it seeks to prepare all students for post education success. Governor Rendell is confronting these challenges head on and remains committed to all students having access to early childhood opportunities, continual support throughout K-12 and the tools necessary to succeed in college or the workforce.

“Pennsylvania is making major strides in every area that the 2007 Quality Counts report studied and I am proud of the progress our students are making,” Zahorchak said. “I am confident Pennsylvania will look even better next year as our initiatives we’ve launched to benefit students, teachers and the commonwealth have more time to mature.”

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