Elements of Power
The degree to which states offer or provide for a significant number of charter school opportunities to families is another important piece of Parent Power!
States that have stronger laws ensure greater access to quality charter school options. CER’s National Charter School Laws Ranking & Scorecard was used to determine this element’s score on the Parent Power! Index.
Private School Choice
Programs which provide parents the opportunity to enroll their children in private schools with scholarships, vouchers and the like are evaluated on their potential to reach all children across a state.
Programs where significant numbers of parents throughout the state can obtain scholarships and other forms of state support to send their kids to schools of their choice score higher than those that have limitations based on geography, appropriations, categories of need or appropriations. For this, we have drawn heavily from the evaluations of programs from our colleagues at the American Legislative Exchange Council and EdChoice‘s School Choice in America Dashboard.
Teacher Quality is an equally important facet of the Parent Power! Index. States that ensure high-quality individuals can teach without barriers to entry score higher. States where teacher effectiveness is judged on objective data fair better than states with very little focus on attracting, retaining and rewarding teachers.
In assessing the degree to which states provide parents understanding about Teacher Quality in their state, we draw heavily from the National Council on Teacher Quality’s detailed analysis in its annual State Teacher Policy Yearbook.
States are judged based on the transparency and accessibility of data for the average person.
States that provide comprehensive and user-friendly report cards, share information about school options and explain how well their schools perform can gain points in their overall PPI score. Similarly, states where parents are able to vote in school board races during the general election cycle, as opposed to off times of the year when turnout is low, tend to afford parents more power in their decision-making.
Personalized learning describes an approach to education that puts the individual at the center of the learning experience. It is relevant to learners’ diverse contexts and experiences and, when executed well, can have lasting impacts on educational outcomes and the attitudes that students form toward lifelong learning. States that empower schools and teachers to personalize learning empower parents. Policies that encourage personalization foster innovative schools that meet diverse needs. To earn points for personalized learning on the Parent Power Index, states have to promote personalized learning with laws and regulations, offer incentives for districts to experiment with different approaches to personalized learning, and put diverse learners and their needs at the center of their plans to execute the Every Student Succeeds (ESSA) Act.
The data and analysis for this element is attributed to Digital Learning Now!’s evaluation of state policies and their alignment to the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning.
The increasingly popular Parent Trigger Laws provide parents and educators the opportunity for parents to turn around failing schools.
As this is a significant lever for change, the seven states that afford parents this kind of power earned a boost on the Index.
Whether state executives are pro-reform or not is important in ensuring parents have power.
While governor or candidate positions are not factored into a state’s overall PPI score, it’s clear that states with more reform-minded leaders have policies in place that result in greater parent power. Check out CER’s Education Fifty.