ALEC Education Freedom Index: Florida is first, Alaska is 33rd

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American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has released The 2023 ALEC Index of State Education Freedom: A 50-State Guide to Parental Empowerment.

The report evaluates each state on essential policies that maximize parental empowerment, education freedom, and student achievement, and the release coincides with an historic education freedom movement of 2023, with eight states passing universal school choice policies this year alone.

Florida ranked No. 1, followed by Arkansas, and Indiana. They all were given A grades. Arizona and Iowa rounded out the top five, but got B grades.

Alaska ranked 33, with a score of 37 out of 100, for a D grade. Alaska tied with Wyoming on the ranking in the lower end of the states for overall education freedom.

The ALEC Index of Education Freedom focuses on five categories of state education policy: funding and financing programs, charter schools, homeschooling, virtual schooling, and open enrollment. States are increasingly recognizing that each student has his or her own unique needs, background, and learning style, and these new rankings focus on state-level policies that maximize educational opportunity for all students.

“Parents across the country have made their voices clear: the status quo in American education isn’t working, and they are demanding access to more educational options for their students,” said ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson. “Whether a public school, virtual school, charter school, home school, or some other educational environment, states are leading the way by making all of these a possibility for families to choose from.”

In the category of funding and financing programs, Alaska scored an F because the state does not make it easy for families to access other educational choice options like virtual schools, home schools, charter schools, and more, according to the ALEC report.

“States need to make sure that dollars follow these students to whatever educational environment is best for them. This category looks at education scholarship account (ESA) programs, vouchers, and tax-credit scholarship programs that enable students to attend their school of choice, with an emphasis on universal programs that all students can utilize. These rankings are based on program data from EdChoice,” the report said.

Alaska did better in the Charter School ranking category, scoring 12th, earning a B grade.

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that operate without the same regulations given to traditional public schools. In exchange for this freedom to innovate, charter schools commit to obtaining specific learning goals. So long as these goals are met, the charter school can continue to operate.

“A state earns top marks in this category when the growth of charters is not capped, when a universal and/or non-district authorizer is available, and when charter schools receive similar funding to their traditional public-school counterparts. These rankings are based on data from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ Charter Law Database,” the report said.

In terms of homeschooling, however, Alaska earned an A and was No. 1, tying with 10 other states.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Do Anchorage Taxpayers think their getting their money’s worth? Given the low ALEC ranking // score, is that 7.17 mill rate worth it? … I think ‘NOT’ and wholeheartedly encourage Taxpayers to vote for more conservative responsible leadership. Don’t expect things to get better until we vote-in better leadership and set higher expectations and hold people personally accountable!!!

  2. Alaska will forever be poorly ranked regarding education freedom and will never provide truly freedom-based school choice policies (where the money follows the student no matter the education institution) because of Article VII of the Alaska Constitution, Paragraph 1: “…. No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.”

    • Note the key words, “direct funding”, in the AK Constitution. The AK Constitution does not address “indirect” funding where the parent receives the funding and then makes the decision regarding a child’s education. However, the NEA is the most powerful government union in the State and controls the legislature. So, Alaska will continue to dwell in the backwaters of the K12 education swamp while its children, especially low income/minority students, lose.

  3. We’re low on this freedom index because we freely allow kids to read whatever they want including books that are inappropriate while allowing teachers and students to freely refer to each other by any new names and genders they choose.

    We can create more free schools by restricting children from reading books that are unsuitable for them and restricting teachers and students from referring to children by anything other than the name and gender on their birth certificate.

  4. I believe there are two possible scenarios to this data.
    Possibility #1:
    All of the smart people in the Anchorage School District
    have pulled their kids out of Public Schools, opting for private, home or charter schools. Leaving only inferior children to be educated in the public school. (No fault of ASD or the School Board)
    OR
    Possibility #2:
    Anchorage School District higherd Dr. Jharrett Bryantt as Superintendent, for a job he is not-qualified for. Pay him his salary and someone to teach him to do his job. This is the same Dr. Bryantt who did not let renowned brain surgeon Dr. Ben Carson speak (for free) at a Mtn. View School.
    And while the Anchorage School board is more focused on pushing Gender Queer and other pedophilia books and ideas on students rather than giving a crap about education. With student enrolment dropping like a lead weight on a crab pot, ASD has found a way not to sell the three schools it was suggested to sell and repurposed them so they could keep your taxes up.
    So what do you think Possibility #1 or #2?

  5. Our American schools and public libraries have Everything it needs to give a quality education. Problem is its personnel. We been hiring the wrong type of people as teachers, office support, principals, special education, and paraeducators. People the districts been hiring I wouldn’t even hire them as a babysitter for my child, and be reluctant to leave them with them.

    But also I was talking to coworker about their experience with Florida and here how there kids have spelling lists while kids here don’t do spelling lists. The teacher here gave the excuse we don’t want to pressure the kids. I quickly thought I wonder how kids are in Florida cause I know Alaskan kids here get too much pressure at home and they go through too much stuff that kids shouldn’t be going through since adults here on Alaska have problem with domestic abuse in the forms: of verbal, intimidation, bullying, controlling, ridiculing, poor humor, sarcasm, addictions, mental health issues, emotional abuse in all family members. However not wanting to put more stress on a student by not giving them work isn’t the way to go for a teacher. If I was a teacher, I think giving a spelling list to each child is a good idea. For those who easily get overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, I’d do give them 4-6 words to spell depending on grade level and for kids who can handle more their spelling lists be more challenging. I think Alaska has a personnel issue but it’s not just education. I think managers or leadership here hire wrong. You hire based on your preferences (race, status, family background, political affiliations) not on temperament, qualities, commitment, loyalty, incentive of the applicants will their work output cause you the leader to shine because of their performance and work ethic.

  6. Moreover- while gradually increasing the difficulty of the spelling words or work assignments as the student is making progress by the teacher’s encouragement, help, and patience. Trying to encourage the child to get to the next levels. I think a lot of millennials and genX professionals don’t know how to work. I remember when our generation were college age. During those years, our job history would be seen as job hoppers because of school or we just wanted to move. never somewhere long enough always looking for the next job that paid more than the current. I think employees in our states districts struggle with emotional physical stress and too much work. The two stresses that we only learn how to get through it when we developed endurance, determination, patience, kindness, and commitment from our previous work that was longer than three months (summer work before college started)

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