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Study: Arizona among states with worst school systems

PHOENIX — With the school year about to kick off or underway for students, Arizona parents are seeking the best school districts to provide their children with the best education.

A study, conducted by personal finance website WalletHub, ranked states based on 13 key metrics, including pupil-teacher ratio, dropout rates, standardized-test scores and bullying incident rates. Arizona ended up near the bottom of the list, ranking No. 48.

When it came to some metrics, Arizona placed a lowly 48th in quality and 40th in safety.

Though Arizona climbed up the list to a close-to-average 27th in average SAT score, it once again found itself in the cellar in pupil-teacher ratio, ranking at 49.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas recently finished a “listening” tour of the state, during which she received about 3,000 comments either at events or via social media. Education Department Spokesman Charles Tack said the top issue was a lack of funding earmarked for schools.

“It’s impacting particularly our teachers, particularly our students, and all of our schools and districts are feeling the pinch,” he said. “That’s something that we heard everywhere we went.”

Douglas is planning to address more concerns during a second statewide tour in October.

WalletHub said the states with the best school systems were Massachusetts, Colorado, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Kentucky made up the top five.

Louisiana, Nevada, the District of Columbia and Alaska joined Arizona among the worst school systems in the nation.

KTAR’s Bob McClay contributed to this report.

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