A first-person perspective on what it felt like to be without K-12 options

By Christina Grattan

During a high school rally, my cross country team participated in a dance-off against the volleyball team. I tried my best to dance the moves we rehearsed, but even hours of practice could not make us escape an onslaught of “boos” from the crowd. Embarrassment loomed over me, and I stood there thinking, “What is the point of high school? Popularity? Trying to fit in and be someone I was not?” …

To Any And All State Lawmakers Who Are Willing To Listen:

Last August, I attended my very first open schools rally, and it made me want to do more. In October, my Girls Scout sister Olivia committed suicide due to the isolation from school shutdowns. Olivia’s death lit a fire inside me because I knew exactly how she felt. I was dealing with my own issues of depression and suicidal thoughts and attempts caused by isolation from shutdowns. Olivia’s death gave me a purpose again, and that was to bring awareness to the mental crisis students are facing due to…

By Jennifer Wagner


Vacation, sick and flex time. Medical, dental, vision and life insurance. Retirement savings accounts. Tuition or childcare reimbursement. Gym memberships and wellness programs. Relocation assistance.


On-site hybrid learning space? Employer-funded education savings accounts Tutoring services?

Over the past year, work as we knew it changed. School as we knew it changed. Our lives as we knew them changed.

As states and localities lift restrictions and more Americans are able to access the vaccine, our minds naturally shift to what comes next: Which changes will…

By Jennifer Wagner

After almost five years working in the school choice movement, the subhed on this story about the potential cost of Indiana’s proposed voucher expansion and special needs ESA wasn’t really a surprise:

An Indiana House bill could boost by 40% the number of students, many from middle-class families, receiving state subsidies for private schooling

Goodness gracious, not the middle class!

Heaven forbid we help out those families who’ve worked hard to get a leg up, maybe even gotten themselves out of a lower income bracket, and want to utilize their tax dollars to send their kids to…

By Jennifer Wagner

Four decades ago, Nobel laureate Milton Friedman sat down with talk show host Phil Donahue to discuss his bestselling book, Free to Choose. You can watch the interviews here and here.

If you don’t have time for the clips, here’s a quick summary: Friedman and Donahue clashed. A lot. Suffice it to say that Friedman, a Libertarian, had a very different take on capitalism and free markets than the left-leaning Donahue, who seemed to support more government oversight and regulation as he sparred with Friedman about what he’d written.

In perhaps their most famous exchange, Donahue pressed…

By Gwen Samuel

Dear Dr. Cardona,

Congratulations on your nomination to become the next U.S. Secretary of Education.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that we were sitting in your office here in Meriden discussing a bullying issue regarding my child. You were so attentive, and while I might not have been happy with all the decisions made, I always appreciated that you took the time to actually listen and recommend some appropriate supports — in a timely manner.

Your willingness to listen is a huge asset, and it’s why I wasn’t always *that* thorn-in-your-side mom advocating for my child.

By Jennifer Wagner

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

That tired old cliché is all I can think of as I watch parents right now filing lawsuits to keep schools open or signing petitions asking districts to reverse course on remote learning.

They’ve all got different reasons, but at their core they’re justifiably mad that they’re not getting what they want from a system that’s supposed to be serving their kids.

Injunctions and petitions are one way to effect change, but will that change be foundational, or will it…

By Jennifer Wagner

The pandemic has changed schooling as we know it — for now.

You can’t throw a stick without hitting an article about how families have been adapting since March. Some are choosing pandemic pods. Others have turned to homeschooling. Many are sending their kids back to the classroom either part-time or full-time. Traditional schools are sounding the alarm as their enrollment declines. Parents, especially those at lower income levels, are worried about learning loss.

Our research shows public opinion is all over the place, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to read the tea leaves as…

By Mike McShane

As is rarely said at a Sinn Fein meeting, I’d like to say something nice about Protestants.

In a new report from the American Enterprise Institute, Albert Cheng, Patrick Wolf, Wendy Wang, and Brad Wilcox look at the family life outcomes of students who attended different types of schools.

The report uses nationally representative data from the Understanding America Study (UAS) and the National Longitudinal Survey 1997 (NLSY97) to explore the links between adults’ prior schooling and their odds of marrying, divorcing, and having a child outside of marriage.

The researchers compared students who attended public schools…

By Jennifer Wagner

Mother Jones recently published a story questioning whether GreatSchools, a national nonprofit that rates public PK-12 schools using test scores and other factors, is inadvertently contributing to neighborhood segregation because families are using the website to find homes near highly rated schools that might not be particularly diverse.

GreatSchools partners with a number of real estate websites that publish the ratings alongside other neighborhood factors, including walkability, access to mass transit and solar energy score.

It’s past time to break the connection between housing and schooling.

Let’s be real: For families with kids, nearby school quality historically has driven real estate choices for those who can afford to…


National nonprofit dedicated to advancing universal K-12 educational choice as the best pathway to successful lives and a stronger society.

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