It’s not enough to have a great idea, or even to be right, for a policy to get traction. If we want to see a policy become law, we must also have a carefully crafted and effective public education plan.
At SPN’s 24th Annual Meeting in October, state think tanks from around the country participated in “Champions of Strategy: Education Reform Edition,” a half-day session that asked groups to put together and then pitch a panel of judges on their plan to affect education policy change in their state. The competition was fierce with six groups participating, all of whom made excellent pitches.
Palmetto Promise Institute from South Carolina took home the grand prize of $10,000 with an innovative proposal to advance k-12 Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) during the 2017 legislative session. Their ideas included an expertly-targeted media outreach plan with a robust radio proposal and the creation of a new Parent Power Network that will provide families in South Carolina information about current school choice options while educating them about the potential and promise of ESAs.
James Madison Institute from Florida took the second place prize of $2,500 for their campaign to expand ESA eligibility from special needs students to all Florida students. The judges were impressed by their creative approach that included a documentary film on the need for ESAs coupled with film screenings and events across the state to raise awareness.
Thank you to all of the groups that participated and congratulations to Palmetto Promise and James Madison for their hard work and great plans! We look forward to watching your efforts unfold.