Heritage Foundation Launches Education Freedom Report Card, Ranks Florida as Top State for Education Freedom

Heritage Foundation Launches Education Freedom Report Card, Ranks Florida as Top State for Education Freedom

Sep 9, 2022 2 min read

ORLANDO, Florida—The Heritage Foundation today released its first-ever Education Freedom Report Card, with Florida taking the top spot for empowering parents in their children’s education and supporting education freedom.

This new comprehensive report factored in dozens of education criteria and ranked states on how well they supported education freedom, specifically on issues of education choice, regulatory freedom, academic transparency, and real return on investment for education spending.

Florida claimed first place, followed by Arizona and Idaho as the top states for education freedom in the country. On the other end of the spectrum, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia came in the bottom three for low scores on transparency, high spending per pupil despite low student outcomes, less regulatory freedom, and few education choice opportunities.

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts praised Florida state lawmakers for advancing priorities that offer parents more educational options and provide them with more autonomy and academic transparency.

“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. Florida has led the way in expanding education choice, cutting red tape, and holding schools accountable to parents with academic transparency.

“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. 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.”

Lindsey Burke, director of Heritage’s Center for Education Policy, added:

“Florida lawmakers set a high standard for academic transparency and rejecting critical race theory’s pernicious ideas. An impressive 42% of Florida teachers are alternatively certified, making their way to K–12 classrooms through means other than a traditional, university-based college education.

“And Florida does exceptionally well in allowing parents to choose among private, charter, and district schools. If you’re looking for a state that supports families when it comes to directing the education of their children while keeping red tape and spending low, look no further than Florida.”

Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, also commented:

“Education freedom is one of the most important issues of our generation. States like Florida exemplify how school choice policies, regulatory freedom, and academic transparency benefit students and restore parental rights. By putting the needs of students ahead of the interests of failing school systems, Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have delivered on their promises to Florida’s families and done their part to set the next generation up for success.

“As record numbers of parents flip school boards and stand up to woke teachers’ unions, it is clear the parental rights and school choice movement is not slowing down. Heritage Action looks forward to continuing our state and federal lobbying efforts to promote education freedom across the country and give all our students and families the best opportunities possible.”

Learn more and view each state’s ranking on the Education Freedom Report Card.