(January 22, 2013 – Washington, DC) Despite being home to the former president of the United States, the nation’s leading foundation for reform, AND the incubator of great school choice research, this state (Arkansas) misses the mark by a mile on giving parents the power to make fundamental decisions about how their children are educated. Very few options are available to parents who nonetheless are active in petitioning their legislators. Teacher quality measures and options for digital learning scored slightly higher, but altogether the picture is gloomy here and not very parent power friendly
The nation’s “Top Ten” states that provide more expansive opportunities for parents also tend to yield higher growth rates in student achievement, according to the most recent national rankings on the Parent Power Index© (PPI) released today by The Center for Education Reform (CER). Indiana ranks No. 1, followed by Florida, Ohio, Arizona, D.C., Louisiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Utah, in enacting policies that allow for more parental empowerment, expansive educational choices, sound teacher quality measures, wider access to digital learning and more transparent data. These states’ policies correlate highly with increased student growth, particularly among lower socio-economic students, over time.
The PPI is an interactive, web-based tool that ranks the United States based on how much power a parent has over their children’s education. While there is a growing body of data and information available to parents, policymakers, educators and the general public, the PPI is the first and only comprehensive evaluation of state education policy that is geared towards parents, continuously updated in real-time, and now, provides an arsenal of state and local resources.
“All across America, parents are demanding more power over their children’s education, but the task of sorting through all the information out there is daunting,” said Jeanne Allen, president of CER.“There are a variety of resources available to evaluate how students are achieving, but there is widespread disagreement about what constitutes sound education reform policy.”Allen continued: “As the mother of college students, I liken the PPI to a cumulative GPA, which is a composite of grades from varying professors. In this case, these professors are among the nation’s leading authorities and critical evaluators of education policy.”
The latest rankings on the Parent Power Index© are a resulte of the release of CER’s 14th annual Charter School Laws Across the States Ranking and Scorecard 2013. Washington became the 43rd state to allow charter schools and only four other states made improvements to their charter laws last year.
In addition to charter schools, the Index evaluates states on school choice using data and analysis provided by the The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, The National Council on Teacher Quality’s detailed analysis in its annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook, Digital Learning Now’s evaluation of state policies based on 72 metrics, transparency of data, school board elections and Parent Revolution’s analysis of parent trigger laws. It also looks at local media reliability on education issues and if state executives are reform-minded. Further evaluation across all of these Elements of Power is ongoing and continuously updated at http://www.edreform.com/in-the-states/parent-power-index/.
The Parent Power Index© also reveals that a majority of states are barely making the grade when it comes to policies that allow parents to exercise choices, engage with local school boards and have a voice in the education systems that surround their children.
“The Index’s ‘Top Ten’ prove that when parents have access to options and good information all children can succeed,” Allen said. “Lawmakers need to look to these exemplars and the policies that have afforded parents greater power elsewhere and act fast to bring real education reform to their respective states. Parents and voters have declared that mediocrity is no longer acceptable, and our elected officials have a mandate to fix oureducational and economic problems for good.”