Utah came in at No. 11 in a new 50-state ranking on education freedom. The state did well in the rankings for keeping spending low relative to students’ test scores, but got dinged for policies like not providing more alternative pathways for potential teachers to get their certification to teach in the classroom.
The rankings were produced by the Heritage Foundation in its first ever “Education Freedom Report Card,” as the think tank tries to prod states to adopt more conservative education policies. Heritage based its rankings on factors like a state’s commitment to school choice, whether a state respects parental rights and if taxpayers get a good return on investment for public money spent on students.
The states receiving top marks were Florida, Arizona and Idaho, while New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia came in at the bottom of the rankings.
On its state “report card,” Utah was recognized for generally respecting “the autonomy of homeschoolers,” and for allowing parents some choice between district, charter, and private schools, but the study said Utah could do more to expand its private school choice options.
Utah should also give parents more information about what is being taught in schools, the study said.
Heritage is using the rankings to advocate for states to adopt policies that they say would advance educational freedom — like giving teachers alternative pathways to certification, rather than through traditional college education programs, and giving parents more control over where their children attend school, including the use of public dollars for private school tuition.
The think tank also wants states to prohibit the use of critical race theory-based teaching, and to cut back on the number of administrative positions in schools and districts, including diversity personnel.