The State of Wyoming gets a 'B' in overall education quality, according to Education Week's latest Quality Counts Report.

That gives the Cowboy State a seventh-place ranking nationally, immediately ahead of Pennsylvania, New York and Rhode Island, but just behind Connecticut and Maryland.

"The 2017 Quality Counts report serves as a reminder that we are doing great things for kids in our state," State Superintendent Jillian Balow says in a press release.

Massachusetts leads the pack overall for a third straight year with a score of 86.5, a solid B. Nevada is ranked last in the nation, scoring a D at 65.

The country as a whole got a C, slipping to 72.2 from 72.4 last year.

Each state's overall grade is based on three indices: chance for success, school finance and K-12 achievement.

Wyoming's best score is in the finance category at 89.5, which leads the nation again this year after slipping to second place in 2016. The nation overall earned a C in that category this year.

"Wyoming currently stands out as #1 in the nation when it comes to funding education equitably across all schools regardless of location or income levels," Balow adds.

"While Wyoming policymakers and educators rightly address our impending financial challenges, it's essential that we continue to improve student achievement," she says.

Balow notes that Wyoming is just above average in K-12 school achievement, with a score of 71.2. Only two states scored higher than a C+ in that category: Massachusetts at 85.2 and New Jersey at 81.

The nation earned a C- for K-12 achievement, a grade which Education Week says has remained steady over time.

That index measures public school performance against 18 indicators capturing current achievement levels, improvement over time, and poverty-based gaps.

"While we are seeing progress on many achievement indicators, average is simply not where we need to be," Balow says.

"Thankfully, we are beginning to see the convergence of multiple efforts and initiatives including a focus on career readiness; interventions for low-performing schools; a clearer connection between standards, assessments, and student success; and an overall shift from federal to state-led education."

The chance for success index gives Wyoming a B- at 80.3. The index itself is designed to capture the role of education in a person's life "from cradle to career," as Education Week puts it, and shows the nation earning a C+ in 2017.

Wyoming's score in that index puts it behind 18 other states and ties with that of New York.

"As this report shows, we have educators, students, families and communities across our state who are dedicated and willing to see all students ready for success in school and life," Balow concludes.

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