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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Advocacy Groups, Policy Centers and Think Tanks

School choice has become such a contentious topic that not only have traditional advocacy groups devoted significant resources to the question, some organizations have been formed simply to advocate policy reform on this issue. Additionally, a number of academic centers and programs have focused their research on topics pertaining to school choice. Below are links to the home pages of over 40 policy organizations plus a brief description of and links to their on-line school choice resource pages.

4Choice: School Choice Without Vouchers
Florida-based advocacy site which promotes concrete legislative proposals to introduce market forces into education reform without using school vouchers. Site includes links to a legislative act model and a market-based critique of school vouchers.

Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
Michigan-based think tank with a Christian pro-market, pro-liberty orientation. Maintains an education home page with articles on free-market education, morality in education, parental responsibility, school-choice concepts, and theology of choice written by their staff researchers, plus bibliographies for further reading.

Alexis De Tocqueville Institution
Virginia-based think tank attuned to the principles of civil liberty, political equality, and economic freedom and opportunity. Maintains an education reform page with links to recent editorials and op-eds on educational reform, plus Teacher Choice: an information service with articles on teachers unions, school choice, reading accountability, and regulations.

American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Major nonpartisan Washington-based think tank with libertarian orientation, home to education scholars Lynne V. Cheney, Dinesh D'Souza, James K. Glassman, and Christina Hoff Sommers. Maintains a list of on-line reprints of articles and editorials on education written by their scholars and researchers.

American Federation of Teachers
Trade union representing over one million workers in education, health care, and public service. Maintains an extensive research home page on vouchers which includes union-sponsored empirical research, columns by AFT president Sandra Feldman, an updates on current legislation.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Advocacy group supported by the dues of 60,000 members which litigates and provides research and press statements on church/state issues. In addition to numerous press briefings, maintains the on-line article "Private School Vouchers Myth vs. Fact," which is critical of voucher proposals. Additionally, the organization has a legislative update page which details church/state issues across the US.

Anti-Defamation League
88-year old advocacy organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. Maintains an on-line report entitled School Vouchers: The Wrong Choice for Public Education, plus a list of all organization press briefings on education.

Black Alliance for Educational Options
A new national organization whose mission is to actively support parental choice to empower families and increase educational options for Black children. In conjunction with Professor Howard Fuller's Institute for the Transformation of Learning (located at Marquette University), the organization maintains a site entitled schoolchoiceinfo.org, which includes up-to-date information on the status of school choice options in the various states, plus research and reports available in PDF format.

Brookings Institute
Washington-based nonpartisan research institute which includes The Brown Center on Education Policy. The Brown Center home page includes links to Brookings Institute events on education, some on-line reports, and the opportunity to purchase the Institute's publications on education.

California Catholic Conference
The staff office of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops and official voice of the Catholic community in California's public policy arena. Maintains an on-line policy page devoted to the topic of education with links to church/state issues, plus the Bishops' Statement on California's Proposition 38, a statewide voucher proposal defeated in the 2000 election.

Cascade Policy Institute
Oregon-based nonprofit libertarian research and educational organization that focuses on state and local issues and which publishes policy studies and quarterly newsletters, organizes community forums, sponsors educational programs, and provides public speakers. Maintains an education issues site, which includes a page of 22 downloadable PDF publications and commentary on school choice reform in Oregon (last updated 4/01).

Cato Institute
Washington-based libertarian nonpartisan public policy research center. Maintains an Education and Child Policy home page with links to many institute-sponsored policy papers and articles which address the empirical questions of school choice plus archives of on-line articles addressing education in numerous national publications and newspapers.

Children First CEO America
Arizona-based advocacy organization and national clearinghouse of information on privately funded voucher programs. Site includes guide to nation-wide affiliate programs (including public and privately financed voucher programs), a guide to legislative progress in individual states (including the text of proposed laws) and a compendium of news stories on school choice updated weekly.

Christian Law Association
Florida-based advocacy organization which has provided legal support to Bible-based Christians and churches since 1969. Maintains a page reviewing recent Supreme Court decisions concerning religion.

Center for Education Reform
Washington-based nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1993 to provide support and guidance to groups working to bring fundamental reforms to their schools. Regularly updated site with extensive resources, including: school choice analysis, an exhaustive list of education links, and legislative updates on education reform across the country.

Century Foundation: Equality and Education
Project sponsored by the New York and Washington based Century Foundation which provides events, on-line resources, and research projects. Maintains a home page on school choice, with links to articles and reports by major scholars and journalists, plus a home page on educational inequality with similar links. Quite professional web site.

Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute
Virginia-based conservative advocacy organization with special emphasis on K-12 education in Virginia. Maintains an education home page with links to on-line articles (both original research and other reports).

Commonwealth Education Policy Institute (CEPI)
Joint venture between the School of Education and the Center for Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University which focuses primarily on policies developed and implemented in Virginia. Conducts the "Commonwealth Education Poll," which includes questions on school choice in Virginia (most recently 5/01), and legislative histories and policy briefings on a multitude of educational issues, including school choice.

Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives
Pennsylvania-based conservative, independent, non-partisan, non-profit public policy organization committed to promoting free market economic growth and individual freedom and strives to generate new ideas and policy changes in Pennsylvania. Maintains an education home page, analyzing and advocating legislative issues in Pennsylvania.

Critiques of Libertarianism
Regularly updated web site maintained by private scholar interested in critiques of libertarianism. Maintains a bibliography of on-line articles criticizing libertarian approaches to education.

The Education Commission of the States (ECS)
Colorado-based national, nonprofit organization, formed by a bipartisan interstate compact in 1965, that helps governors, legislators, state education officials and others identify, develop and implement policies to improve student learning at all levels. Maintains an education issues site, which includes pages devoted to many issues, including separate sites for school choice and to charter schools. Sites contain downloadable research reports, a helpful overview of choice in all states across the country, annotated bibliographies, and an especially good list of links (with emphasis on governmental sites).

Education Policy Center at Michigan State University
Non-partisan policy research and analysis center focusing on current educational issues in Michigan which maintains a repository of current information about the state's educational system and reports on its education policy system. Website includes links to downloadable PDF research papers on school choice including "School Choice Policies in Michigan: The Rules Matter (Fall 1999)" and "The School Choice Debate: Framing The Issues (Fall 2000)" (click on "Publications" in the left-hand frame).

Empower America
Organization which "bridges the gap between the array of think tanks that produce white papers on the public-policy debate and the actual enactment of policy." Maintains a home page on education which contains links to the organization's co-directors'--William J. Bennett, William S. Cohen, Jack Kemp, and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick--articles on education.

ERIC: Clearinghouse on Educational Management
ERIC is the Educational Resources Information Center, a federally-funded national information system located at the University of Oregon that provides services and products on a broad range of education-related issues. Many on-line sources, including home pages with links to abstracts, discussion, and on-line journal articles and references: school choice, educational vouchers, school reform.

Ethan Allen Institute
Vermont-based free-market public policy research and education organization. Maintains a page for partisan commentary on education issues in Vermont (click on "Commentary" on the home page frame) plus a policy brief on the status of education reform in the state (click on "Policy Briefs").

Faith and Reason Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture
Washington-based think tank (inspired by Pope John Paul II's encyclical Fides et ratio) which conducts a program of research, conferences, seminars, and publishing aimed at introducing better ideas of faith and reason to the culture as a whole. Maintains an on-line transcript of a 5/19/00 debate by House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Father William F. Davis of the U.S. Catholic Conference, Michael Hartmann of Milwaukee’s Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Brother Bob Smith of Messmer High School, and Douglas Dewey of the Children’s Scholarship Fund entitled "Are Vouchers Good for Catholic Education?"

The Gallup Organization
Employee-owned management consulting firm which conducts The Gallup Poll on numerous topics. In conjunction with Phi Delta Kappa, Gallup conducts an annual poll "Of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools," which includes questions about school choice (for a specific annual poll click on the year desired: 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996). Site includes a lengthy report "No Public Consensus Yet on School Voucher Programs" (1/15/01) analyzing polling data on vouchers from 1993-2000.

Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation
Indiana-based grassroots advocacy group which favors expanding the menu of educational options including public, private, charter and home schooling. Site includes a downloadable PDF document entitled "Charter Schools in the Big Ten," published in April 2001.

Heartland Institute
Chicago-based nonprofit public policy research organization dedicated to meeting the information needs of the nation's state and national elected officials, journalists, and its members. Maintains an on-line synopsis (with archives) of School Reform News, is a 24-page monthly newspaper with circulation of approximately 45,000, reporting on school reform efforts nationwide. (Click on "education" on their home page to access.)

Heritage Foundation
Major Washington-based conservative think tank. Maintains an education home page with links to on-line reports, book chapters, and magazine articles concerning all aspects of education. Maintain a separate index of school choice articles and a regularly updated account of current legislation based on their School Choice 2000: What's Happening in the States by Nina Shokraii Rees. Their journal Policy Review devoted its January-February 1999 issue to "Question on School Choice," which contains numerous online articles by major figures in the school choice movement.

The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
Research center within Stanford University devoted to advanced study of politics, economics, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs. Maintains the American Public Education Initiative, which focuses primarily on K-12 education. Maintains a web site which including the agenda of past conferences and symposia plus writings on education reform by Hoover fellows such as Paul Peterson, Terry Moe, and Chester Finn.

Institute for Justice
Washington-based libertarian public interest law firm. Maintains a school choice resource center with bibliographies of law articles and on-line reports.

The Institute for Wisconsin's Future
Statewide policy research and community education center which produces and disseminates analyses of key Wisconsin public policy issues and coordinates community education campaigns. Maintains several projects on education in Wisconsin, plus downoladable PDF research papers on school funding in Wisconsin.

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Washington-based national nonprofit institution that conducts research on public policy issues of special concern to black Americans and other minorities. Maintains online downloadable research reports, including (among other) "Education: 1999 National Opinion Poll," by David Bositis.

Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Michigan-based "free-market" nonpartisan research and educational organization devoted to improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions and which focuses its research on economic policy instead of questions of social ethics. Sponsors the site School Choice Works, which includes video and audio clips, links to original research done by other centers, and commentaries on school choice written by center scholars. Also publishes the bimonthly Michigan Education Report.

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
New York City-based, market-oriented think tank which specializes in the topics of urban governance and civic life. The Center for Civic Innovation maintains an education reform home page, which includes links to original research by resident scholar Jay P. Greene ("An Evaluation of the Florida A-Plus Accountability and School Choice Program," "The Education Freedom Index," and "The Effect of School Choice: an Evaluation of the Charlotte Children’s Scholarship Fund").

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
Employee-owned research firm which conducts research, surveys, and information services on policy issues such as health care, welfare, education, employment, nutrition, and early childhood policies and programs in the United States. Maintains an education research site, which includes a school choice page plus a recent downloadable paper on New York City School Choice.

Michigan Catholic Conference
The official voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan on matters of public policy. Contains link to "A Series of Messages on Education from the Bishops of Michigan", which addressed Michigan's ballot Proposal 1, a legislative initiative offering a targeted voucher program which was defeated in November, 2000. (Click on "Publications" in the right-hand frame of the home page.)

Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for School Choice
Indianapolis-based advocacy organization sponsored by the Friedman Foundation and founded upon the ideals and theories of Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman and economist Rose D. Friedman. Web page is devoted entirely to school choice, including: a state by state guide to education legislation, an overview of current research, and links to on-line classical education texts.

National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education
Independent, nonpartisan source of analysis and information on privatization in education based at Teacher College, Columbia University. Maintains a site which includes a series of eighteen PDF downloadable occasional papers on numerous aspects of school choice (each paper presented with an on-line abstract) and links to both promoters and opponents of privatization.

National Education Association
Largest educational trade union in the country with more than 2.5 million members who work at every level of education, from preschool to university graduate programs. Maintains a home page critical of vouchers, including links to NEA resolutions concerning vouchers and legislative updates.

National Center for Policy Analysis
Texas-based nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research institute which seeks innovative private sector solutions to public policy problems. Maintains education home page with links to on-line summarizes of events (based primarily on journalistic sources) not only for school choice issues, but also topics such as testing, higher education, Head Start, unions, and minorities in education.

National PTA
Chicago-based not-for-profit volunteer child advocacy organization composed of nearly 6.5 million parents, educators, students, and other citizens active in their schools and communities. Maintains a legislative activity site, with pages devoted to position papers, court decisions (including downloads of recent court decisions in Florida and Cleveland), and documents against both vouchers and charter schools.

National School Boards Association (NSBA)
Nationwide advocacy and outreach not-for profit federation of state associations of school boards whose mission is to foster equity and excellence in public elementary and secondary education through school board leadership. Maintains very comprehensive (albeit partisan) Voucher Strategy Center (timed entry session), with pages devoted to news updates on vouchers, recent court cases, and a quite sophisticated state by state legislative analysis.

National Issues Forum
Georgia-based non-partisan, issue-oriented research web site (supported by banner advertisements) that provides information on major issues facing the nation and which presents summary information on each topic as well as a compilation of experts' views on each of the issues. Maintains an education page with school choice section that contains analyses of pro/con arguments on charter schools and vouchers, plus a useful collection of additional sources for education research in the national media.

On the Way to School: Every Citizen's Guide to School Reform
Site edited and operated by Andrew Coulson, Senior Research Associate with the Social Philosophy and Policy Center (BGSU, Ohio), featuring his and others research on market approaches to school choice.

Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy
California-based libertarian not-for-profit, nonpartisan research organization which promotes the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Maintains the Center for School Reform, which focuses on K–12 education reform strategies such as charter schools, parental choice (public and private scholarship programs), academic standards, and education finance reform. On-line resources include several downloadable PDF reports researched by institute affiliates, including Thomas Dawson. (In left-hand frame on home page, click "Education" under "Policy Issues.")

People for the American Way
Washington-based civil liberties advocacy organization which conducts research, legal and education work, as well as monitors and researches the Religious Right movement and its political allies. Maintains an education policy home page, which includes links to policy papers on charter schools, school choice proponents, and numerous critiques of vouchers. Additionally, its litigation arm includes links to its legal briefs in current voucher court decisions.

Pioneer Institute
Massachusetts-based public policy think tank which develops market-oriented policy ideas in areas such as educational excellence, effective public management, economic opportunity, and emerging issues. Maintains a charter school resource center, plus a network to discuss topics including education (free registration required).

Phi Delta Kappa
Indiana-based international association of professional educators which promotes quality education, with particular emphasis on publicly supported education. Publishes the monthly Phi Delta Kappan, which maintains some online articles, including the The 32nd Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools (9/00) and an article entitled "Privatizing Education: The Politics of Vouchers," by Sheila Suess Kennedy.

Policy Analysis For California Education
Cooperative venture between the schools of education at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, PACE is an independent policy research center whose primary aim is to enrich education policy debates on preschooling and child development, K-12 school finance, and higher education outreach analysis and empirical evidence. Included among its current projects available on-line are: School Choice: Abundant Hopes, Scarce Evidence of Results, Charter Schools: The Paradox of Radical Decentralization, and Crucial Issues in California Education 2000: Are the Reform Pieces Fitting Together?

Policy Review
Journal maintained by the Heritage Foundation devoted its January-February 1999 issue to "Question on School Choice." Online version contains articles by major figures in the school choice movement, including Paul E. Peterson, Nina Shokraii Rees, Jeremy Rabkin, and Rev. Floyd H. Flake.

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Policy analysis program at Harvard University run by Paul E. Peterson which focuses especially on testing the empirical claims of school choice reform efforts across the nation. Site allows downloading of important original research including papers such as "An Evaluation of the Florida A-Plus Accountability and School Choice Program" by Jay P. Greene, "The Effect of School Vouchers on Student Achievement: A Response to Critics by William G. Howell, Patrick J. Wolf, Paul E. Peterson and David E. Campbell," and "Test-Score Effects of School Vouchers in Dayton, Ohio, New York City, and Washington DC: Evidence from Randomized Field Trials by William G. Howell, Patrick J. Wolf, Paul E. Peterson and David E. Campbell." (Click on "Research Papers" or "Executive Summaries" in the left-hand frame on the home page.)

Progressive Policy Institute
Washington-based institute affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council which advocates a philosophy that adapts the progressive tradition in American politics to the realities of the Information Age and points to a "third way" beyond the liberal impulse to defend the bureaucratic status quo and the conservative bid to simply dismantle government. Maintains an education page which posts regularly updated research papers on various education reform topics.

Public Agenda
Nonpartisan, nonprofit public opinion research and citizen education organization based in New York City, founded in 1975 by social scientist and author Daniel Yankelovich and former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Organization maintains an education home page (last updated 6/01), with sections devoted to overviews of the topic, polls on public opinions, and links to other education organizations. Of special interest is their report "On Thin Ice: How Advocates and Opponents Could Misread the Public's Views on Vouchers and Charter Schools" (6/99).

Rand
Major national nonprofit think tank (whose name is taken from a contraction of "research and development") employing over 700 researchers with doctoral degrees. Maintains an education home page with studies on a range of topics, including K-12 assessment and accountability, school reform evaluation, teachers and teaching, challenges in higher education, military education and training, arts education, worker training, and the effectiveness of substance-abuse prevention programs in the schools.

Reason Public Policy Institute
The think-tank division of the Reason Foundation, a national nonprofit research and education organization that explores and promotes innovative policy alternatives based upon market competition, individual liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, and dynamism. Maintains a list of education policy studies, some available for free, others at a cost.

School Choice Works
Education site sponsored by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan-based "free-market" nonpartisan research and educational organization. Includes video and audio clips, links to original research done by other centers, and commentaries on school choice written by center scholars. Also publishes the bimonthly Michigan Education Report.

School Reformers
Chicago-based grassroots school choice advocacy project sponsored by The Henry Hazlitt Foundation and The Heartland Institute. Maintains "the most comprehensive source for information on market-based school reform and the school reform movement" with daily new updates, commentary and research at other sites, an "activist's toolbox" which includes state by state links to governmental and educational offices, plus links to current state laws, and exhaustive directories of other links.

Sutherland Institute
Utah-based a nonprofit, nonpartisan libertarian public policy research organization, with primary emphasis on reform in Utah.. Maintains an education issues page with "Focus on Utah" policy reports (downloadable in PDF) plus shorter "To the Point" policy briefings and editorials.

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Washington-based foundation, originally founded by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Diane Ravitch, which is affiliated with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and supports research, publications, and action projects of national significance in elementary/secondary education reform, as well as significant education reform projects in Dayton, Ohio and vicinity. Maintains an education home page with sections devoted to charter schools, school choice, and other issue of education reform.