George Floyd Rally at North Park in Burlington, North Carolina, May 31, 2020 / Anthony Crider / Flickr

“I wish I could say this hate began with Donald Trump and will end with him,” former Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. “It didn’t and it won’t.”

It’s true, of course, that racism and hate are nothing new, and the same surely goes for the partisanship and polarization gripping our nation. The culture wars are generations old, and the current season of attack and outrage opened with the dawn of social media platforms, not in 2016. We all abhor it and yet cannot seem to escape it, except in fleeting moments.

Moments like the early days of the…


All over the country, states, districts, and task forces of every sort are wrestling with the question of how to safely reopen schools. This scenario planning is daunting, as schools must navigate a minefield of health, safety, legal, and instructional issues, and do so blindfolded by our ever-changing yet imperfect understanding of the virus itself. The AEI “blueprint for back to school” does an excellent job spelling out the major considerations that leaders must take into account, but it stops short of providing specific advice.

With the hope of moving the conversation forward a bit more, here’s my attempt to…


By Michael J. Petrilli and Amber M. Northern, Ph.D.

We’ve learned a few lessons about school choice over the past few decades. Key among those lessons are that quantity does not equal quality and that conditions must be right for choice to flourish. Good intentions only take you so far; sturdy plants grow when seeds are planted in fertile ground.

We learned as much five years ago when we teamed up with Rick Hess on America’s Best (and Worst) Cities for School Reform, a study that explored the ideal conditions for school reform at the city level. …


If every school in America was pretty good — if not better — our education policy debates would largely evaporate. Politicians would feel comfortable leaving educators alone to do their thing. And they would empower parents with the ability to choose the good (or great) school that best fit their values and their children’s needs.

And in fact, that’s how we should treat the vast majority of schools today — district, charter, and private. Do they keep kids safe? Check. Can they demonstrate reasonable evidence that they are putting young people on a pathway to success in what comes next…

Michael J. Petrilli

President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute; an editor of Education Next; research fellow at the Hoover Institution; proud father

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