Heritage Foundation releases education freedom report card: Florida, 3 other states rise to top

The Heritage Foundation released an inaugural Education Freedom Report Card assessing education freedom by state and the rankings served as further validation of the policies being pushed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

In what may come as little surprise for those who’ve been paying attention, Florida came out on top for education freedom, with New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. bringing up the rear. Heritage said the latter group did “little to provide transparency, accountability, and choice to families.”

The assessment evaluated four “broad categories” when ranking education freedom: education choice, regulatory freedom, academic transparency, and education spending return on investment.

Wall Street Journal assistant editor James Freeman penned an editorial on the “impeccable timing” of the Heritage Foundation ranking of educational freedom.

“Heritage’s inaugural report card, due out on Friday, finds that Florida, Arizona, Idaho and Indiana are America’s most parent-friendly jurisdictions across a number of measurements. Taxpayers may also find these states appealing,” he wrote.

“As for the losers, parents and taxpayers in New Jersey and New York will probably not be surprised to learn that their states finished 49th and 50th, respectively,” Freeman said. “Perhaps the new report card can serve as a relocation guide.”

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts explained to Fox News Digital how Florida came out on top.

“If sunlight is the best disinfectant, it’s no wonder why the Sunshine State is one of the freest states for teachers and children to pursue an education that is largely devoid of red tape,” Roberts said. “Florida has led the way in expanding education choice, cutting red tape, and holding schools accountable to parents with academic transparency.”

More from Heritage:

In this inaugural 2022 edition of the Education Freedom Report Card, Florida is the top-ranked state across the board. Families looking for a state that embraces education freedom, respects parents’ rights, and provides a decent ROI for taxpayers should look no further than The Sunshine State.

In second place overall this year in our report card is Arizona, a state that will certainly give Florida a run for its money next year in light of its recently expanded, now-universal ESA program. Idaho takes third place overall, thanks in large part to a strong ROI for taxpayer dollars and high levels of transparency to parents.

At the other end of the spectrum, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia came in 49th, 50th, and 51st, respectively, doing little to provide transparency, accountability, and choice to families. This report card sets a high bar for achieving and maintaining education freedom in the states. Our goal is that this annual ranking of states will not only inform parents and policymakers of what their states do well and where they need improvement, but that it will spur necessary and lasting reform.


Florida, which was among 13 states that expanded existing school choice programs, was joined in the top five in overall education freedom by Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota. The bottom five states, coming in just before DC are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, in descending order.

Gov. DeSantis will be speaking at the Heritage Foundation Education Freedom Report Card launch event in Orlando on Friday.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:



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