Education Week released today its annual “Quality Counts” report, with a focus on early education. While the report does its due diligence and is incredibly comprehensive, it unfortunately misses the mark in terms of criteria, focusing on some not-so-important inputs that don’t ultimately determine student success.
This is the very reason CER created the Parent Power Index (PPI), a report card based on qualitative and proven state policies. The higher a state’s grade on the PPI, the more parents are afforded access and information about education options that can deliver successful outcomes for their children.
Low On Inputs, High on Parent Power
Aside from considering NAEP scores, the “Quality Counts” rankings focus on educational inputs, downplaying the progress made by states through meaningful reforms.
One such input is funding, which is why states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia, find themselves in the top tier of the “Quality Counts” report.
States such as the District of Columbia, Arizona, Idaho and Louisiana, which lead the pack on PPI, find themselves towards the bottom of the “Quality Counts” rankings.
For example, the District of Columbia places 38 on this year’s Quality Counts, but ranks 4 in Parent Power. The #4 PPI ranking is due to a policy environment that prioritizes school choice, teacher quality and data transparency. And judging by significant improvements on state assessments in recent years, students have been the primary beneficiaries of this policy environment.
By contrast, Maryland places third on “Quality Counts”, but drops a whopping 40 spots on the PPI. The Old Line State offers little in the way of public or private choices, and its charter school law is essentially one in name only. In 2014, Maryland test scores dropped to their lowest point in seven years.
If state officials are fortunate enough to see