Polk County ranked state’s best at helping kids succeed in, out of classroom

A statewide report has ranked Polk County as the best county in North Carolina for helping children and youth succeed in and out of the classroom.

The 2023 Roadmap of Need, published by the Public School Forum of North Carolina, uses 20 indicators of wellness across five areas – economic development, physical health, mental health and safety, education inputs and education outcomes. The report notes that the five areas “capture the interconnected conditions and resources that are necessary for a child to succeed, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Polk County ranked third in the state in education inputs (reflecting per-pupil spending and teacher vacancy rate), fifth in mental health and safety and eighth in education outcomes (reflecting test scores and graduation rate). The county was 14th in physical health and 20th in economic development.

“The Roadmap continues to highlight disparities across the state that influence a child’s ability to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Public School Forum Policy & Research Manager Elizbeth Paul.

“It is our hope that local advocates and lawmakers can use this resource to address the needs specific to each community.”

Following Polk County in the top five were Orange, Union, Watuaga and Wake counties.

The full 2023 Roadmap of Need can be accessed online.

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