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The Bottom Line A Message from Don Nielsen

During the summer I completed a revision to my book, Every School. The revision brings all the information up to date and also adds an important new chapter—a detailed “Game Plan” for a state. I believe the only way we will transform our schools is to change the governing state laws and this chapter gives state legislators and Governors a game plan on how to start and accomplish the transformation of their schools.

The highlight of the last few months was the hiring of a new program coordinator, Bailey Takacs. Bailey comes to us with a lot of experience in legislative matters and with a passion for education. He is already making a huge difference in our ability to do research and to get our message out. Also, we were able to connect with the CEO of ExcelinEd, Jeb Bush’s foundation, Patricia Levesque. Patricia expressed interest in our “Game Plan” and felt Florida might be a state that would be willing to pursue some, or all, of the ideas. She was particularly interested in the idea for an “Institute for Educational Leadership.” 

We continue to talk with people in Mississippi, with some promising connections transpiring. We are in discussions with the Woodward Hines Education Foundation, the Create Foundation, and the Chisholm Foundation, all of whom are based in Mississippi. Last year, we also met with the Governor of Idaho and continue to pursue efforts in that state as the new Governor has placed a strong public education system as his number one priority. Finally, we are pursuing connections in Texas as the new Governor has put K-12 reform as his number one priority. 

Our hope is that one of these states, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, or Idaho, will be the state that decides to climb this mountain and create a school system that can effectively educate every child.

Donald Nielsen

Senior Fellow and Chairman, American Center for Transforming Education
Donald P. Nielsen is a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute and Chairman of the Institute's program on public education reform. For nearly 30 years, he has devoted his life work to transforming public education. For two years, he traveled the country studying America's public education system and authored, Every School: One Citizen’s Guide to Transforming Education. Mr. Nielsen was awarded the Harvard Business School's 2004 Alumni Achievement Award. In 2009, he received the Leadership Award from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington.
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