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Top 15 states for education
Education
According to the Institute of Education Services, there are about 100,000 public schools in the United States as of the 2010-2011 school year, which is a jump from the 85,000 seen in 1980. - photo by istockphoto.com

It’s already September. Time to go back to school.

According to the Institute of Education Services, there are about 100,000 public schools in the United States as of the 2010-2011 school year, which is a jump from the 85,000 seen in 1980.

The Institute also found that there are 3.7 million full-time teachers in the United States, as of fall 2012. This is up from the reported 3.4 million American teachers as reported in 2002, the Institute explained.

With all these schools and all these teachers, it’s easy for some to get lost in the shuffle. Not all can stand out and impress the minds of America. So which states have the best educational systems?

Earlier this month, WalletHub released its findings that analyzed student-teacher ratios, dropout rates and overall testing scores, among other factors.

The two main factors that determined the results in the study were school system and educational/safety output, which looked at how states spend on education and how the schools handle bullying and overall safety, respectively.

The spending aspect of the study is especially important. As seen in the two maps below, the areas of the country with a higher percentage of people stuck in poverty are also mostly the areas where the educational systems were not ranked as high.

Here is a list of the top 15 states for education based on WalletHub’s findings:

1. New Jersey

The Garden State has high marks for its school system, ranking as the top school overall in that category. The state also ranked second in terms of safety and education scores in the WalletHub study.

2. Massachusetts

The Bay State is home to many top educational programs -- like Harvard, MIT and Boston College. Though its safety ranking is 12th best in the nation, the school system it has (second best in the nation) was high enough to lift it to the second overall spot on WalletHub’s rankings. These kids are wicked smaht.

3. Vermont

Vermont may be packed with verdant forests and sappy trees, but it knows how to do education right, according to the study. It’s schooling system is third best in the nation, with its safety rating and educational output ranking at the 11th spot.

4. New Hampshire

Good education travels close by. New Hampshire, the state right next to Vermont, is right below on the WalletHub rankings, with the fourth best educational system quality ranking and the 15th best safety ranking.

5. Kansas

Thought all the top school systems were in the Northeast? Wrong. Kansas ranks at the fifth spot in the WalletHub list. It has a decent school system rank -- eighth best in the country -- but what it provides educationally for its students, as well as its safety ranking, is third best in the country.

6. Colorado

No schools are safer or better for education than Colorado, according to the WalletHub study. The state has the top schools for safety and education output, and ranks 13th in overall quality.

7. Virginia

Being right next to Washington, D.C., it’s no surprise Virginia has some brainiacs in its state. The schools in Virginia rank 10th in terms of system quality, but the education and safety standards are fourth best in the nation.

8. Minnesota

Back out West we go. Minnesota has one of the best school systems in the U.S., ranking at the sixth spot on the list. But it’s educational and safety standards are a bit low, coming in at 31st in the country.

9. Wisconsin

Wisconsin seems to be taking a few cues from its neighbor, Minnesota. The home of the cheeseheads ranks seventh best in terms of its school system quality, while it has a lower ranking (20th) for safety and education.

10. Pennsylvania

Having the fifth best school system in the country will definitely shoot you up the WalletHub list. But Pennsylvania schools are unsafe and don’t offer the best education, ranking at No. 43 for those two factors.

11. Iowa

The education in the Midwest plain state is a little lower at No. 19, but the state’s school system ranks ninth in the nation.

12. Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, and it seems to be working in terms of safety and schooling. The Lone Star State offers the fifth best safety and educational output in the country, with its schooling system being ranked at No. 24 in the country.

13. Connecticut

Though it’s just to the south of the second-ranked Massachusetts, Connecticut fails to completely measure up. It’s got the 11th best school system in the country, but ranks at 38th in terms of safety and education output.

14. Maryland

Much like Virginia, Maryland is close to the nation’s capital. It is ranked 16th in the nation for school system quality, but its 27th ranking in terms of safety and educational output knocks it down the list a bit.

15. Washington

The Pacific Northwest may not have a lot of representation in the top 15 of WalletHub’s list, but Washington is leading the charge with the 14th best school system in the country. Its safety and educational output rankings though are incredibly low, coming in at 50th on a list of 51 schools.

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @herbscribner