by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Florida ranks highest among the states in education freedom, while the District of Columbia trails behind all of them, according to a new “report card” from The Heritage Foundation.
The leading think tank’s 2022 Education Freedom Report Card, released Thursday, measures all 50 states and the District based on four broad categories: school choice, transparency, regulatory freedom, and spending. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
Rounding out the top five states after Florida in overall education freedom are Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota.
The bottom five states, coming in just before the District in descending order, are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.
The authors write:
“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.”
The first of what will be a series of annual report cards from Heritage further divides categories into discrete factors that together determine the level of education freedom in each state.
Arizona ranks first in school choice as well as second in overall education freedom in Heritage’s analysis.
In July, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed into law a bill extending education savings accounts to all K-12 students. Eligible students may use these accounts to pay for almost any schooling option — including private and charter school tuition as well as homeschooling expenses.
Florida and Indiana are among 13 states that also expanded existing school choice programs. Other states passed new school choice policies.
A Real Clear Opinion poll found in June that 71% of Americans surveyed, an all-time high, said they support school choice.