Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has dubbed Florida the “free state,” and promised that if re-elected, he will keep it that way.
A conservative group has agreed, especially when it comes to schools.
The Heritage Foundation released its first-ever “Education Freedom Report Card,” which is intended to show parents how schools in their state stack up on education choice.
“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,” Heritage explained of its analysis.
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Heritage’s report included analysis of four broad areas: education choice, regulatory freedom, transparency, and return on investment for education spending.
Florida, under Gov. DeSantis, came out on top.
“The Sunshine State embraces education freedom across the board. Florida does exceptionally well in allowing parents to choose among private, charter, and district schools, is home to a strong ESA [education savings account] program, and ranks third overall for education choice,” Heritage said in its report.
“Florida ranks first among states for academic transparency. Among other protections, state lawmakers set a high standard for academic transparency, and reject critical race theory’s pernicious ideas,” the report continued.
“The Sunshine State ranks second in regulatory freedom, making it one of the freest states for teachers and students to pursue education largely devoid of red tape. Although there is room for improvement, Florida ranks a respectable seventh overall in ROI for education spending,” Heritage added.
“Families looking for a state that embraces education freedom, respects parents’ rights, and provides a decent ROI for taxpayers should look no further than Florida.”
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The rest of the top 10 included red states: Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, West Virginia, Montana, Louisiana, and Tennessee. On the other hand, the bottom five included all blue states: Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C.