Unshackled: Freeing America’s K–12 Education System

by Clint Bolick, Kate J. Hardiman
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Publication date: January 2021

Clint Bolick and Kate J. Hardiman begin with a thought experiment: how would we structure a 21st-century K–12 school system if we were starting from scratch, attending to contemporary parental needs and harnessing the power of technology? Maintaining that the status quo is unacceptable, they take a forward-thinking look at how choice, competition, deregulation, and decentralization can create disruptive innovation and reform education for all students. 

The US Supreme Court proclaimed 65 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education that our schools must provide equal educational opportunities, but as Bolick and Hardiman argue we have yet to make good on that promise. School systems are bound to antiquated structures, outdated technology, and bureaucratic systems that work for adults, not children. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how ossified the traditional public school system has become. Today’s ruptures in traditional learning create opportunity for reinvention. Unshackled explains that technology can redefine the ways students learn in and out of the classroom and highlights the benefits of expanding educational freedom so that families are able to choose an education that fits their child’s needs.

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About the Authors

Clint Bolick is a justice on the Arizona Supreme Court and research fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is a lifelong champion of educational opportunity.

Kate J. Hardiman is a legal fellow, law student, and former teacher who has experienced how school choice changes lives. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of her coauthor and mentor by litigating for educational change.