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    Inside Classrooms in Three States: Quality Counts 2018

    by Charles Borst posted January 18, 2018
    Jake Ruhl, (left) Easton Bigham and Zahraa Almohanna eat lunch together at Starkville Early Learning Collaborative on in Starkville, Miss. Mississippi is one of the five lowest-performing states in Education Week's Quality Counts rankings, but one of the places where they rank relatively high is on early childhood education. --Andrea Morales for Education Week

    Jake Ruhl, left, Easton Bigham and Zahraa Almohanna eat lunch together at Starkville Early Learning Collaborative in Starkville, Miss. –Andrea Morales for Education Week

    The 22nd edition of Quality Counts 2018: Report and Rankings focuses on state-by state assessment of public education. The report aims to illuminate what the high-performing states did well, how low-performers are approaching improvement, and lessons for boosting the quality of k-12 education overall. The nation received a grade of C overall with a score of 74.5, about the same as last year, when it posted a 74.2, also a C grade.

    Photographers on assignment for Education Week visited schools in three of the states.

    Starkville Early Learning Collaborative- Starkville, Miss.
    Though Mississippi scored 49th in the nation overall, the state ranked relatively high on indicators for preschool and kindergarten enrollments.

    Lola Robertson (left) and Emily Outlaw play together during their preschool class at Starkville Early Learning Collaborative in Starkville, Miss. A few years ago the state started collaboratives, which bring together numerous community partners to help bolster Head Start and other preschool programs. --Andrea Morales for Education Week

    Lola Robertson, left, and Emily Outlaw play together during their preschool class at Starkville Early Learning Collaborative. –Andrea Morales for Education Week

    Shameela Dewage plays on the swings with her classmates during recess with their preschool class at Starkville Early Learning Collaborative in Starkville, Miss. --Andrea Morales for Education Week

    Shameela Dewage plays on the swings with her classmates during recess with their preschool class at Starkville. –Andrea Morales for Education Week

    Robin Malone calls for her preschool students to come in from recess at Starkville Early Learning Collaborative. --Andrea Morales for Education Week

    Robin Malone calls for her preschool students to come in from recess at Starkville Early Learning Collaborative. –Andrea Morales for Education Week

    East Allegheny High School- North Versailles, Pa.
    Eighth-ranked Pennsylvania was a leader in getting larger portions of its student body into and through college. 

    Emilia Peiffer, center, talks to East Allegheny seniors Savannah Crooks, left 18, and Shayna Smith, 17. --Jeff Swensen for Education Week

    East Allegheny High School Guidance Counselor Emilia Peiffer, center, talks to East Allegheny seniors Savannah Crooks, left 18, and Shayna Smith, 17. –Jeff Swensen for Education Week

    East Allegheny High School Guidance Counselor Emilia Peiffer talks to senior Amani Johnson, 18, in her office in North Versailles, Pa. --Jeff Swensen for Education Week

    Emilia Peiffer talks to a senior in her office in North Versailles, Pa. –Jeff Swensen for Education Week

    Washington Elementary School–Valley City, N.D.
    North Dakota, which ranked 15th in this year’s report, has wrestled with budget issues, but is credited with maintaining funding for programs such as arts instruction, personalized technology, physical education, and nutrition.

    Chad Lueck, Principal at Washington Elementary School in Valley City, N.D. visits with students outside his office before school. Lueck says students visit him in his office every day before school. Washington Elementary has been recognized for maintaining funding for programs such as arts instruction, personalized technology, physical education and nutrition. --Dan Koeck for Education Week

    Chad Lueck, principal at Washington Elementary School in Valley City, N.D., visits with students outside his office before school. Lueck says students visit him every day. –Dan Koeck for Education Week

    A water-filled balloon is used to demonstrate blood pressure to 4th graders at Washington Elementary School in Valley City, N.D. --Dan Koeck for Education Week

    A water-filled balloon is used to demonstrate blood pressure to 4th graders at Washington Elementary School. –Dan Koeck for Education Week

    A fifth-grade music class at Washington Elementary School in Valley City, N.D. --Dan Koeck for Education Week

    Students work with rhythm sticks during a 5th-grade music class at Washington Elementary School. –Dan Koeck for Education Week

    Mrs. Boe teaches multiplication in her 4th-grade math class at Washington Elementary School in Valley City, N.D. --Dan Koeck for Education Week

    Natalie Boe teaches multiplication in her 4th-grade math class at Washington Elementary School. –Dan Koeck for Education Week

    Aubrey Langemo, (left) Jayla Vaughn, Brayden Sund, and Joel Strang in Mrs. Lentz's 5th-grade biology class during a lesson on cell structure. --Dan Koeck for Education Week

    Aubrey Langemo, left, Jayla Vaughn, Brayden Sund, and Joel Strang participate in a lesson on cell structure in Kathy Lentz’s 5th-grade biology class at Washington Elementary School. –Dan Koeck for Education Week

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