Center for Education Reform Releases Parents Power Index

A new Parent Power Index released this week shows that there's a definite correlation between parental engagement and student achievement. States that made it into the Center for Education Reform's PPI Top Ten – which means they did the most to empower parents of their students – have also shown substantial improvements in academic outcomes over the same period.

The Parent Power Index maintained by The Center for Education Reform is a web-based tool that ranks states based on how much of a voice they give to parents in their children's education. This year's top ten includes number one-ranked Indiana along with Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Louisiana. The metrics used to determine each states ranking include parental empowerment, along with school choice options and how well legislation supports parent involvement.

How free the states are with the data they collect is also a factor, as greater transparency is an important part of increasing parental engagement.

States found on the list have also reported increased student growth, especially among students from weaker socio-economic backgrounds.

While there is a growing body of data and information available to parents, policymakers, educators and the general public, the PPI is the first and only comprehensive evaluation of state education policy that is geared towards parents, continuously updated in real-time, and now, provides an arsenal of state and local resources.

The Top Ten States list accompanies the release of the 14th annual Charter School Laws Across the States Ranking and Scorecard 2013. The report notes that this fall Washington became the 43rd state in the country to approve charter schools.

Although CER draws on a large amount of data to put together both its report and the PPI – including analysis from The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and The National Council on Teacher Quality – it is unclear if they also take actual student performance data into account, and if they do, what group is the source of such information.

"All across America, parents are demanding more power over their children's education, but the task of sorting through all the information out there is daunting," said Jeanne Allen, president of CER. "There are a variety of resources available to evaluate how students are achieving, but there is widespread disagreement about what constitutes sound education reform policy." Allen continued: "As the mother of college students, I liken the PPI to a cumulative GPA, which is a composite of grades from varying professors. In this case, these professors are among the nation's leading authorities and critical evaluators of education policy."

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