‘Parent Power’ Measured by Center for Education Reform Index

The Center for Education Reform (CER) has revealed its annual Education Report Card for states' school systems measuring the autonomy and influence of parents on the education system.

The Parent Power Index (PPI) evaluates and ranks states based on qualitative and proven state education policies. The higher the state's grade, the more parents are given access and information about learning choices that can deliver successful educational outcomes for their children.

Only six states earned ratings above 80% in the area of allowing parents central power over their child's education, as stated in the fifth edition of Parent Power Index.

"While it's true some states have made progress, it's not nearly enough to meet demand. Simply put, we need more learning options available to more families, and we need them fast," said Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Education Reform.

A median score of 67.4% for Delaware shows what a poor job most states have done in increasing charter schools, allowing school choice through vouchers or tax credits, teaching quality, transparency, and online learning — the five main components that make up the state PPI scores. A ranking of 20 for Mississippi earned the honor of being the state that has made the most progress, moving up 21 positions and making it into the top 20 states after being in the bottom 11 states on previous ranking analyses.

"Out of the over 54 million K-12 students nationwide, only an estimated 6.5 million students are taking advantage of charter schools, school choice programs such as vouchers or tax credits, and digital or blended learning models," said Kerwin. "With the United States' school-aged population expected to grow at unprecedented rates in the next 15 years, how will our school system be able to meet demand when we already have wait lists for charter schools and oversubscribed scholarship programs?"

There are 36 gubernatorial races this November, making this a time for enacting parent-empowering policies. Only when states enact good policy to speed up education reform and expand meaningful choices for parent will America's future be protected, according to the CER .

When parents discover whether or not their state gives them power, they can either rest easy or find out what they can do to get power. The Center for Education Reform site has an interactive page devoted to assisting parents in learning their states' PPI.

Other factors that help determine a state's Parent Power include Parent Trigger Laws. These laws provide parents and educators the opportunity to "turn around" failing schools, and seven states that have these laws saw a boost in their PPI (see more at Parent Revolution for more about trigger states).

Parent Power can be closely connected to whether a state's governor is pro-reform or not. Although a governor's stand on education is not directly factored into the state's PPI, having a governor or candidate who is pro-reform will allow the state to have policies in place that will result in greater Parent Power.

The media is very important for informing policymakers and parents on education matters. Media reliability is not factored into states' Parent Power Index, but the CER's Media Bullpen provides a critical eye to help parents understand what can sometimes be very complex and complicated issues and also gives parents tools so that they can have a stronger voice in education reporting.

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