Our Data & Methodology
PPI Rubric Explanation:
Choice Programs: 42.5%
The choice category grade is based on the depth of the reach of the program(s) in terms of students and location, the value of the voucher, tax credit scholarship, ESA etc (i.e. the closer to the full per pupil amount the more equitable), and eligibility constraints. States are analyzed and evaluated on their potential to reach all children across a state and for the degree to which the program’s value can actually support the full choice of parent, as opposed to only providing a modest amount of financial support. Programs where a significant population of parents can obtain scholarships or vouchers to send their children to the school of their choice score higher than those that have limitations based on geography, income, and student eligibility constraints. States also can gain points for having a liberal, statewide public school choice program.
The PPI analyses utilizes original research and data from the states, in addition to considering the work of other national groups – plus into consideration ALEC’s most recent Report Card on American Education, data from the American Federation of Children School Choice Guidebook, and EdChoice’s State Rankings. PPI strongly emphasizes not only whether policies are “on the books”, but also how they are implemented.
Charter Schools: 42.5%
The National Charter School Ranking and Scorecard which is a flagship publication and effort of the Center for Education Reform is the basis for the grades for all charter school laws. The Scorecard and Ranking draw a detailed read of every charter law and regulation, the way those laws impact actual practice and whether or not the law does what it sets out to do – namely create a healthy, flourishing environment for charter schools to open and deliver great options for students. For more information about the 30 different metrics that make up the scorecard click here.
Opportunity Fuel Tanks:
States are primarily evaluated on whether or not they have a Blaine amendment and the strength of that constitutional provision in barring parental freedoms. In addition, some states have other constitutional provisions that impact their ability to have certain kinds of programs, and that is evaluated here as well. PPI relied on a number of sources, CER legal analysis and the Institute for Justice’s research. States receive an empty opportunity fuel tank for example, if their constitution is interpreted specifically to prohibit all forms of school choice programs, and are full when there are no constitutional provisions standing in the way of enacting a program.
COVID-19 Response (2021)
When COVID-19 hit, states that were encouraging, set expectations, and demanded that schools figure out whatever they could to keep moving students forward scored higher than states who dragged their feet, or in some cases outright discouraged schooling to continue. States are evaluated by reviewing official notices and declarations, as well as a broad array of surveys and data many groups have been maintaining. The fuel tank was determined by the answers to these six questions:
- Did the state provide resources quickly and effectively to students, parents, and teachers?
- How and when did they communicate?
- Did they move quickly to encourage districts to continue instruction?
- Did they ensure students had access to devices and the internet?
- Did they get rules and regulations out of the way?
- Did they encourage and motivate school leaders to provide continuity of learning?
Teacher Quality (2020): While a critical factor in school quality, the PPI 2022 no longer factors in Teacher Quality as a measure of Parent Power.
In 2020 and prior, the scores for how well states provide for and manage teacher quality elements were developed based on several data points found in the National Council on Teacher Quality State Teacher Policy Database, and measured by 10 policy goals broken down into four key areas most impacted by state policy decisions regarding: Training and Recruitment, Staffing and Support, Teacher Evaluation, and Compensation. 2020 PPI grades and prior were calculated by translating NCTQ rankings into letter grades from A+ to F, and averaging the four selected areas.