Florida earns top education choice rankings in national report

The Center for Education Reform in its annual education choice report has ranked Florida as the country’s No. 1 state for parent empowerment in education.

The center’s Parent Power! Index gave Florida its overall top ranking, also rating the Sunshine State No. 1 for digital and personalized learning and education choice programs. The state received a No. 2 ranking for charter schools, second only to top-ranked Arizona, and ranked third for teacher quality.

Other high spots for the state: leadership, COVID-19 response, and transparency.

The annual Parent Power! Index debuted in 1999 and measures the extent to which states have policies in place that put students first, value the unique needs of every family, and empower parents to oversee their child’s education. Each state was ranked using three criteria: choice programs, charter schools, and innovation.

Overall, Florida scored 94.6%, leading all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For more on the index and its methodology, click here.

“Parental involvement is important to a child’s success both in school and in life, and in Florida we are proud to protect parents’ right to be involved in a child’s education,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news release. “This recognition continues to show that Florida is a national leader in school choice, parent empowerment, and education as a whole.”

State Department of Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said Florida will always be committed to protecting parents’ rights to raise their children as they see fit.

“We are proud to offer a variety of educational options for parents without limitations due to location or income,” he said. “As the rest of the nation follows the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, the Department of Education will continue to support initiatives that uphold parental rights and expand school choice.”

For the full 2022 Parent Power! Index Report, click here.

In addition to today’s recognition, Florida ranked No. 1 in the nation on the Heritage Foundation Education Freedom report card, which analyzes both the quantity and quality of a state’s school choice offerings. You can see the full report here.

Nearly half of Florida students have chosen an educational option outside of their zoned traditional public school, such as open enrollment, Family Empowerment Scholarships, charter schools, virtual education, education savings accounts, and more.

Avatar photo

BY Lisa Buie

Lisa Buie is senior reporter for NextSteps. The daughter of a public school superintendent, she spent more than a dozen years as a reporter and bureau chief at the Tampa Bay Times before joining Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa, where she served for nearly five years as marketing and communications manager. She lives with her husband and their teenage son, who has benefited from education choice.