Florida is No. 1 in the Parent Power Index. Where does your state rank?

Published annually since 1999, the list ranks states on the organization's assessment of how much opportunity parents have "to make critical decisions affecting their children’s schooling."

Florida and Arizona took the top two spots on the annual Parent Power Index, which ranks “parental opportunities for involvement in their children’s education,” according to the Center for Education Reform, which promotes school choice and vouchers.

The Parent Power Index, published annually since 1999, ranks states on the organization’s assessment of how much opportunity parents have “to make critical decisions affecting their children’s schooling.” Key factors include the prevalence of choice programs and vouchers, support for charter schools, instructional innovation and transparency.

“Better schools come about when parents have power,” says Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform. “Parents have power when states are open and transparent about their policies and provide parents with the necessary information, authority and funding they need to exercise more control over their children’s schooling.”

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The Parent Power Index favors states where school choice programs are publicly supported through scholarships, vouchers, tax credits and education savings accounts. States get additional points if officials are funding charter schools equitably and giving charter leaders “maximum autonomy to thrive.”

The Center for Education Reform also promotes transparency around state education policies and curriculum choices and rewards states for making district and school test scores, graduation rates, and other data easily accessible.

Finally, the rankings stress personalized, blended, project-based and other 21st-century learning approaches, and measure progress by what students accomplish rather than by when and how they complete their assignments. State political and educational leaders must be willing to create and expand educational choice and individualized learning programs, the Center for Education Reform says.

“As the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress test results starkly reconfirmed, business as usual is a formula for failure,” adds Allen, referring to the historic drop in COVID-era math and reading performance revealed on this fall’s Nation’s Report Card. “Parents are fed up. They see their states and communities spending record amounts of money—more than $20,000 per year per student in many districts—and they’re not seeing commensurate results.”

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Allen pointed to a few developments in blue states that her group views as positive. Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker, during his reelection campaign, reversed his previous opposition to tax-credit scholarships that financially support students who want to attend private and parochial schools. Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro, also a Democrat, has endorsed giving parents and students more options and funding to pursue alternatives.

Parent Power Index grades the states

Here’s how each state ranked by points and letter grade (Note: only four states got As or Bs, while more than half got a D or lower):

  1. Florida: 94.6 (A)
  2. Arizona: 93.5 (A)
  3. Indiana: 87.1 (B+)
  4. Ohio: 80.5 (B)
  5. Wisconsin: 78.2 (C+)
  6. West Virginia: 77.8 (C+)
  7. Minnesota: 77.0 (C+)
  8. District of Columbia: 76.5 (C)
  9. Colorado: 76.5 (C)
  10. Utah: 75.5 (C)
  11. North Carolina: 74.6 (C)
  12. Georgia: 73.3 (C)
  13. Oklahoma: 72.9 (C)
  14. Pennsylvania: 72.7 (C)
  15. South Carolina: 72.5 (C)
  16. Nevada: 71.8 (C)
  17. Tennessee: 71.6 (C)
  18. Idaho: 71.2 (C)
  19. Missouri: 71.0 (C)
  20. Louisiana: 70.5 (C)
  21. Texas: 70.2 (C)
  22. New Hampshire: 70.2 (C)
  23. Michigan: 69.9 (D+)
  24. Arkansas: 69.3 (D+)
  25. Alabama: 68.2 (D+)
  26. Kentucky: 67.8 (D+)
  27. Delaware: 66.1 (D)
  28. Massachusetts: 65.2 (D)
  29. Illinois: 64.8 (D)
  30. New York: 64.2 (D)
  31. Vermont: 63.9 (D)
  32. Rhode Island: 63.6 (D)
  33. Maine: 63.5 (D)
  34. Maryland: 63.3 (D)
  35. Kansas: 63.3 (D)
  36. Hawaii: 62.9 (D)
  37. California: 62.1 (D)
  38. Oregon: 61.9 (D)
  39. Iowa: 61.8 (D)
  40. New Mexico: 61.6 (D)
  41. New Jersey: 61.2 (D)
  42. Mississippi: 61.0 (D)
  43. Montana: 60.9 (D)
  44. Connecticut: 60.1 (D)
  45. Virginia: 59.1 (F)
  46. South Dakota: 57.8 (F)
  47. Wyoming: 57.4 (F)
  48. Washington: 56.9 (F)
  49. Alaska: 56.3 (F)
  50. Nebraska: 55.9 (F)
  51. North Dakota: 53.8 (F)
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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