Sunday, February 25, 2024

Florida Ranks High on Education Freedom Report Card, But is Your State Struggling?

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has another reason to brag about the Sunshine State.

Staff at the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation this week published a report that ranks states by their level of freedom in public education, factoring school choice, transparency, regulatory freedom, and spending.

Florida ranked No. 1.

“Parents are rightly upset when schools indoctrinate their kids with woke racial and gender ideologies that do not reflect their values and contradict the ideals that make our republic great. School lockdowns contributed to greater mental health problems among students and forced masking disrupted learning,” according to an email that Heritage staff sent followers on Friday as they announced the report. 

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“Parents are fed up with these oppressive and divisive policies coupled with lower achievement. The [COVID-19] pandemic made it abundantly clear that families need more education options than our rigid district school systems offer or education elitists allow.” 

Heritage’s rankings (from best to worst) include:

  1. Florida
  2. Arizona 
  3. Idaho 
  4. Indiana 
  5. South Dakota 
  6. Mississippi 
  7. West Virginia 
  8. Montana 
  9. Louisiana 
  10. Tennessee 
  11. Utah 
  12. Texas
  13. Arkansas 
  14. Georgia 
  15. North Carolina 
  16. Alabama 
  17. Missouri 
  18. Oklahoma 
  19. New Hampshire 
  20. Virginia 
  21. Wyoming 
  22. Iowa 
  23. South Carolina 
  24. Vermont 
  25. Nevada 
  26. Maine 
  27. Michigan 
  28. Nebraska 
  29. California 
  30. Kentucky 
  31. Delaware 
  32. Wisconsin 
  33. Colorado 
  34. Ohio 
  35. North Dakota 
  36. Kansas 
  37. Pennsylvania 
  38. New Mexico 
  39. Minnesota 
  40. Oregon 
  41. Hawaii 
  42. Illinois 
  43. Washington State
  44. Rhode Island 
  45. Alaska 
  46. Connecticut 
  47. Massachusetts 
  48. Maryland 
  49. New Jersey 
  50. New York State 
  51. District of Columbia 

Heritage ranked Florida as “a state that embraces education freedom, respects parents’ rights, and provides a decent return on investment for taxpayers.” Heritage credited Arizona for its recently expanded education savings account (ESA) program. 

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But Heritage also said New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia do little to provide transparency, accountability, and choice to families.

Heritage staff members said on their website that they formulate and promote public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

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