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Website ranks ND 7th, Minnesota 8th for best school systems

FARGO - If you want smart kids, North Dakota and Minnesota are good places to raise them.

FARGO – If you want smart kids, North Dakota and Minnesota are good places to raise them.

The public school systems in the two states are seventh and eighth, respectively, in a ranking by Internet site WalletHub.

Massachusetts has the No. 1-ranked school system in the U.S., followed by Colorado, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Vermont. Connecticut and Illinois were ranked ninth and 10th, WalletHub reported Tuesday.

"I am very pleased by that. It's good news; It affirms what I know to be true," said Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota's superintendent of public instruction. "We really do have quality teachers and quality schools. I'm very happy to see that ranking for North Dakota."

While North Dakota's school system "quality" ranking was at No. 3, it's safety ranking was at 46, WalletHub said. Minnesota's safety rank was much higher at 16.

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Baesler said her department will be working with school districts in the coming biennium to help them improve the safety of their buildings.

Alaska's school system was ranked the lowest, followed by the District of Columbia at 50, Nevada at 49, Arizona at 48 and Louisiana at 47, WalletHub reported.

WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia by analyzing 13 metrics, such as pupil-teacher ratio, dropout rates, standardized test scores and the rates of bullying incidents.

For example, North Dakota's average SAT test score was tops in the survey and 40 percent higher than the average in the District of Columbia, WalletHub reported.

North Dakota had an average SAT score of 605.33, WalletHub reported, while Minnesota's average was 595.33, putting it in fifth place in that category.

North Dakota's high school dropout rate was 9.85 percent in 2013-14, according to DPI. WalletHub said it is one of the lowest dropout rates in the nation. That left North Dakota in a tie with Nebraska, Texas, New Jersey and Wisconsin at No. 2, WalletHub said. Topping that category was Iowa.

North Dakota had the second-lowest pupil-to-teacher ratio at 11.65-to-1, just behind Vermont, WalletHub reported. Minnesota had a 15.78-to-1 pupil-to-teacher ratio.

Minnesota was ranked third for highest math test scores and seventh in reading scores, while North Dakota ranked seventh in math scores and 19th in reading in WalletHub's rankings.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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