The personal-finance website WalletHub just released a report on 2018’s Most and Least Educated States in America.
Tennessee is below average when it comes to education, ranked the eighth least educated state in the U.S.
“This is a study we do every year. When tax season starts to get underway, obviously when parents especially are filling out their taxes, they want to know, what am I getting back for this? What is my return on investment here? Specifically, when it comes to things like education,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.
The numbers are based on hard data pulled from a number of places, including the census, U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center for Educational Statistics.
Gonzalez said, “So basically, high school diploma numbers, college graduates, those with bachelors or masters degrees… We also look at the average university quality, public school K-12 quality, as well as those in the gender or racial gap.”
And geography could also play a role in the numbers.
“There certainly were some geographic trends here. I would say the northeast and the Midwest mostly dominated the top 10. Many southern states dominated the bottom ten. Louisiana, West Virginia, and Mississippi were the bottom three, as far as best three, they were Massachusetts, Maryland and Connecticut,” Gonzalez told News 2.
Tennessee has lower numbers, particularly when it comes to attainment levels.
“It starts, of course, with a share of adults, people 25 and up, with at least a high school diploma. Those numbers are a lot lower than average, and it really is a snowball effect. We’re seeing less people with some college experience or associate’s degrees, on to bachelors, to then graduate or professional degrees,” said Gonzalez.
There are several ways we can increase our rating so Tennessee doesn’t end up in the bottom 10 next year next year. Gonzalez said it’s not only about investing in education, but also how the money is being spent. She says some states have turned the number of low high school diplomas and college degrees around by offering alternate programs, at home or online.
She also said it’s important to make sure some of the money is being used to get to the root of the problem, so there’s a positive snowball effect.