In its first-ever “Education Freedom Report Card,” the Heritage Foundation released their inaugural rankings of the 50 states and Washington DC in regards to school choice and educational outcomes for young people.
In one surprising statistic, it was revealed that since 1950, public school enrollment is up 100%, teacher jobs are up 243%, but administration jobs are up 709%.
The Education Freedom Report Card evaluates categories such as school choice policy, availability of alternative teacher certification, efficient use of taxpayer dollars, and access to curricula among parents. As an opinion column from The Wall Street Journal revealed yesterday, Florida earned first place in the conservative think tank’s index.
As reported in The Daily Wire, “If sunlight is the best disinfectant, it’s no wonder why the Sunshine State is one of the freest states for teachers and children to pursue an education that is largely devoid of red tape,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire. “Florida has led the way in expanding education choice, cutting red tape, and holding schools accountable to parents with academic transparency.”
In second place was Arizona, which recently approved tuition vouchers worth $6,500 per child that parents can apply to private schools, homeschools, or learning pods. Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota rounded out the top five.
States that fell at the bottom of the ranking included New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, with Washington, D.C., placing last overall.
It may or may not be a coincidence that many of the states with the lowest education freedom rankings are also seeing an outflow of population to other states, such as Florida in particular.
“As a fifth-generation educator, I know firsthand the importance of giving parents more choice in their children’s education, and how much of an advantage a quality education gives to those fortunate enough to receive it,” Roberts continued. “Lawmakers in every state capital — and here in D.C. — should be focused on empowering families and making sure that every child in this country has access to the highest-quality education, one that works best for them.”
The Old Dominion came in near the middle of the pack, at #20 overall, but among sub-scores near the end at #42 in School Choice ranking, #10 in Transparency, #26 in Regulatory Freedom, and #24 in Spending Rank.
The Commonwealth ranked considerably behind three of our close neighboring states to Southwest Virginia. West Virginia earned an impressive #7, Tennessee #10, and North Carolina #15.
Just across the Potomac River came the polar opposite of the spectrum. Maryland was #48 and Washington DC dead last, at #51.
The Heritage Foundation concluded in their statement, “This report card sets a high bar for achieving and maintaining education freedom in the states. Our goal is that this annual ranking of states will not only inform parents and policymakers of what their states do well and where they need improvement, but that it will spur necessary and lasting reform.”