EdWeek: Oregon Earns a B on Early Years, C+ for Overall Education Quality

What We're Reading

by Helen Shum



Education Week’s latest report on education quality gives Oregon a C+ and a ranking of 32nd in the country. When broken down into three stages of a student’s life, (early foundations, school years, and adult outcomes) the analysis finds that Oregon does slightly better on indicators of school readiness.

The Quality Counts 2020 report card uses federal data to compare states across 13 indicators it refers to collectively as a “Chance-for-Success Index.” Taken together, they are meant to offer a more holistic view of educational opportunity. In addition to metrics like elementary reading scores and high school graduation rates, the analysis is informed by a number of non-academic early indicators that predict school readiness. These include the percentage of children in families earning at least 200 percent of the federal poverty level, parents’ educational attainment level, and the percentage of parents who are fluent English speakers.

Most states, including Oregon, fared best on the early foundations category, but struggled in later years. Education Week also notes the lack of improvement overall among states. Oregon’s worst performing early indicator was preschool access—with just 46 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool, slightly below the national average.


What’s the difference between Oregon and top performing states?

  • In Massachusetts, the top-ranking state on the report card, 60 percent of 3- and 4- year-olds are enrolled in preschool, 14 percentage points higher than Oregon. And 64 percent of children in that state have at least one parent with a post-secondary degree vs. 52.5 percent in Oregon.
  • All states with an overall score of B+ or higher on the index reported top-tier parent incomes. Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Minnesota, and New Hampshire all reported that more than 70 percent of dependent children lived in households earning at least 200 percent of the federal poverty level vs. 63.1 percent in Oregon.

Education Week’s full report is here. It also plans to issue a second installment in June on school finance and a K–12 achievement index in September.



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