Iowa ranks toward the top in a new study that ranks states that are doing the best job of providing young people with opportunities for success in school and in their careers. The Quality Counts 2007 survey ranks Iowa 11th among the 50 states, based on factors including family income, test scores, graduation rates and employment figures.

Virginia Edwards, editor and publisher of Quality Counts and Education Week, says the rankings are based on a “chance-for-success index. “Edwards says “Our hope is that by collecting data across these now-fragmented sectors of education and workforce development and by providing a clear framework for the indicators that we include, that the policy debate can be changed in ways that will ultimately benefit states’ and our nation’s young people.”

Iowa ranked the highest in the category “linguistic integration,” or children whose parents are fluent English speakers. Iowa also ranked well in categories like high school graduation rates and parental employment. Iowa’s lowest scores were in test scores — for 4th grade reading and 8th grade math — and in the category of adults with two- or four-year college degrees.

Lyn Olsen, Quality Counts’ executive editor, says the study aims to track a wide array of elements that impact a child’s life. Olsen says “Children’s chances for success don’t just rest on what happens from kindergarten through high school. They’re also shaped by experiences during the pre-school years and by opportunities for continued education and training beyond high school.”

Even before a child enters school, Olsen says the conditions in their homes and communities shape their prospects for success — and failure. Olsen says “Young children from low-income families perform significantly lower on tests of literacy and math achievement even before they begin kindergarten. Similarly, we know that children who come to school malnourished, having a mother with less than a high school education, or a parent whose primary language is not English, are much more likely than classmates without those factors to face academic and behavioral problems later on.”

The study comes from the Maryland-based Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. For more information, surf to “www.edweek.org”.

Related web sites:
Quality Counts survey