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Organizations Vie for Parent Attention with 'Report Cards'

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Back in September 2012, the Parent Power Index—a ranking of states on pre-defined issues of "parent power" based on parent choice—was first released, and already it's been updated by its founder, the Center for Education Reform (CER).

In a release, the Center says the newest findings are "a result of changing conditions in states, including grades released for digital learning." In the final analysis, Indiana remains No. 1, with Louisiana rising to third place for "adopting leading parent empowerment measures."

My colleague Andrew Ujifusa, in his State EdWatch blog, compares the CER's rankings of states with similar report cards from StudentsFirst, Michele Rhee's advocacy organization, and the American Legislative Exchange Council. All of these organizations favor policy changes in American education and gauge the states' performance against that backdrop.

For CER, the so-called "elements of power" are charter schools, school choice, teacher quality, transparency and online learning.

In its 18th "Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform." the American Legislative Exchange Council bases its rankings on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, state education policies, charter school regulations and other benchmarks.
The StudentsFirst rating system relies on a variety of factors, including "empowering parents with data and choice; spending wisely and well; and elevating the teaching profession."

As Ujifusa writes, "Each group differs in the methodology it creates for the rankings. But there are undeniable similarities between the lists near the top. It's also worth pondering whether groups and individuals like these pushing for major policy changes can sustain the same recent rate of change, given how the 2010 gubernatorial elections aided some of their efforts. I've heard some sentiment from the school choice community that 2013 isn't shaping up to be a banner year like 2011 and 2012 were, although of course 2014 could turn out to be a great year for choice advocates once again."

What do you think of these report cards, and the organizations generating them?

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