- Florida has been ranked as the state with the highest level of “educational freedom” in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Index of State Education Freedom report.
- The ALEC Index evaluates education policies using metrics including funding and financing programs, charter schools, homeschooling, virtual schooling, and open enrollment.
- The state received the highest overall cumulative score among all states in the country.
Florida was ranked as the state with the highest level of ‘educational freedom’ in the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Index of State Education Freedom report released last week.
The ALEC Index, an evaluation of state education policies, measures five metrics: funding and financing programs, charter schools, homeschooling, virtual schooling, and open enrollment. Through these metrics, Florida earned an “A” overall score, placing ahead of Arkansas and Indiana, the second and third-ranked states.
“This new ranking further proves that Florida is the national leader in education,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a prepared statement. “By focusing on academic achievement, expanding school choice, and empowering parents, Florida continues to see unprecedented success in our classrooms.”
Florida was also placed at the top of the ‘Funding and Financing Programs’ and ‘Virtual Schooling’ categories. In scoring the state, the index pointed to the Family Empowerment Scholarship for Educational Options Program, the Hope Scholarship Program, and the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program as a basis for its scoring.
The state also garnered praise for its open enrollment initiatives, denoting policies that grant students the opportunity to attend schools beyond their designated school districts. In other scoring categories, Florida ranked 13th (charter schools) and 12th (homeschooling)
“Florida’s commitment to education shines through ALEC’s ranking, which has Florida leading the country in education freedom,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Florida’s dedication to universal school choice and protection of parental rights is the reason why Florida stands ahead of the rest.”
Florida’s placement comes on the heels of a Legislative Session that placed a heavy emphasis on education, during which lawmakers ushered in school choice legislation and an expansion of a previously enacted parental rights bill.
In an op-ed piece for The Captiolist, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo emphasizes the importance of traditional public schools and reflects new legislation aims to reduce what she refers to as unnecessary regulations on these schools to allow them to compete more effectively with other school choice options.
Some of the changes brought about by the legislation include simplifying teacher certification requirements, eliminating the mandatory online course for high school graduation, and providing more flexibility in facility costs and student transportation.