NEW JERSEY -- New Jersey schools ranked second in the country behind only Massachusetts in personal-finance website WalletHub's new report on the states with the Best & Worst School Systems for 2019. To determine the rankings, WalletHub compared the 50 states and Washington, DC, across 29 measures of quality and safety. The data set ranges from pupil-teacher ratio to dropout rate to median standardized-test scores.

Quality & Safety of Schools in New Jersey (1=Best, 51=Worst)

2nd – Dropout Rate
2nd – Reading Test Scores
3rd – Math Test Scores
3rd – Pupil-Teacher Ratio
4th – Median ACT Score
11th – % of Threatened/Injured High School Students
14th – % of Licensed/Certified Public K–12 Teachers
25th – Bullying Incidence Rate
26th – Median SAT Score

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WalletHub’s analysis factors in performance, funding, safety, class size and instructor credentials. The company examined the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 29 key metrics to determine the country's top-performing school systems.

"New Jersey has the third-highest expenditures for public elementary and secondary day schools per student. This could be one of the reasons why the state ranks first in terms of school quality," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. "The top five indicators in evaluating school systems would include dropout rate, test scores, school safety, graduation rate and the percentage of licensed or certified teachers."

"There are several aspects that contributed to New Jersey's overall ranking. For example, 8.6 percent of public schools in the state are in the "Top 700 Best U.S. Schools," the third largest share," added Gonzalez. "New Jersey also has an 84 percent high school graduation rate among low income students, one of the largest in the country, and the second lowest dropout rate, at 9.5 percent."

"The state's students have some of the highest math, reading and ACT scores, as well as one of the largest shares of public high school students in the class of 2018 who scored at least "3" on advanced placement exams, 29 percent. On top of this, New Jersey has the third largest pupil-teacher ratio," Gonzalez said.

In terms of safety, the state registered some of the smallest shares of high school students not attending school due to safety concerns, less than 6 percent, and armed high school students, less than 3 percent. It also has some of the lowest disciplinary incidence and youth incarceration rates, and a requirement for school safety plans, according to Gonzalez.

Massachusetts Rates No. 1

Massachusetts has a large percentage of schools present among the top 700 nationwide, some of the highest math, reading and ACT scores, as well as a third of high school students in the class of 2018 who scored at least "3" on advanced placement exams, the largest percentage in the country.

Overall Rank
(1 = Best)


Total Score

‘Quality’ Rank

‘Safety’ Rank

1 Massachusetts 67.85 2 1
2 New Jersey 64.78 1 11
3 Connecticut 62.36 3 12
4 Virginia 61.42 7 2
5 Vermont 60.71 6 4 is a member of the New Jersey Press Association and is a hyperlocal news site that serves residents, organizations and business owners of Denville, New Jersey.

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