The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has issued its 23rd Report Card on American Education. They ranked and graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card released Thursday reveals Ohio ranks 27th with a C- based upon 2018 data.
ALEC grades education on six factors: state academic standards, charter schools, home-school regulation burden, private school choice, teacher quality and digital learning. Private school choice and charter schools receive double weight in the calculation.
When The Ohio Star asked why the double weight, Scott Kaufman, Education and Workforce Development Task Force Director said:
The one-size-fits-all educational system doesn’t work for everyone. It’s important to highlight and encourage states that are looking for alternatives that offer parents the opportunity to enroll their child in a school of their choice. The Report Card on American Education places more weight on reform in our rankings to reflect that.”
Ohio received the following grades:
- State Academic Standards: C+
- Charter Schools: C
- Homeschool Regulation Burden: C
- Private School Choice Programs: D-
- Teacher Quality and Policies: B-
- Digital Learning: D
The State Academic Standards grade is determined by, “…the difference in the percentage of students considered proficient by the state exam and the percentage of students in that state who scored as proficient on NAEP [national assessment of educational progress].” The Education Next report provides the data.
Charter School grades come from the Center for Education Reform and are based on multiple factors. Some of those factors include availability of independent authorizers (Ohio calls them “sponsors”), lack of growth caps, the amount of legal and/or regulatory red tape and funding equity.
The Homeschool Regulation Burden is assessed by the Home School Legal Defense Fund. They determine how difficult, or easy, states make it for parents to homeschool.
ALEC provides its own analysis of Private School Choice Programs. They consider the size and scope of the state’s offerings, a parent’s purchasing power, flexibility and freedom. Options like education savings accounts are considered more flexible than vouchers. Private school participation is also a key factor.
The National Council on Teacher Quality provided the analyses that ALEC used to grade Teacher Quality and Policies. The Council considers teacher preparation, licensure, evaluation, compensation structure, firing process and professional development.
The Digital Learning grade reflects the results of the annual Digital Learning Report Card from the Foundation for Excellence in Education. It includes factors such as personalized learning, student eligibility and access.
When compared with neighboring states, Ohio ranked higher than Kentucky and West Virginia, but all three received C- grades. Neither Kentucky nor West Virginia provide school choice options, which caused them to score substantially lower, but both outperform Ohio in State Academic Standards.
Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania are ranked 3rd, 13th and 16th respectively and earned a B+, C+ and C. Indiana out-scored Ohio in all six areas except State Academic Standards and Teacher Quality. Michigan has better academics and charter schools and has less burdensome homeschool laws while Pennsylvania has superior academics to Ohio.
Arizona earned the number one ranking and Nebraska finished last.
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Photo by the U.S. Department of Education.