MEDIA ADVISORY: Heartland Institute to Host School Reform Policy Forum in Trenton Thursday

Published May 11, 2011

The Heartland Institute is sponsoring a Policy Forum, titled “Realistic Reforms for New Jersey Schools,” in Trenton, New Jersey on Thursday, May 12 featuring state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Middletown) and Norris Clark, director of the Family and Community Relations Office at the New Jersey Department of Education.

The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Senate Republican Caucus Room at the Capitol Building. Complimentary food and beverages will be provided, followed by presentations and Q&A. The event will conclude at 12:00 noon. Legislators, business and civic leaders, education leaders, and media are welcome.

What: Heartland Institute Policy Forum

When: 10:30 a..m., Thursday, May 12, 2011

Where: Senate Republican Caucus Room, State Capitol, Trenton, NJ

RSVP: Robin Knox, The Heartland Institute, [email protected] or 312/377-4000

This Heartland Policy Forum aims to educate those inside and outside the capitol building about the empirical research behind empowering parents, school choice, and charter schools. Heartland will offer a roadmap on how New Jersey can put its educational system back in order.

According to Marc Oestreich, legislative specialist on education policy at The Heartland Institute, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos has offered “a bold plan for student-centered education reform in New Jersey.”

“With his version of the Parent Trigger, Sen. Kyrillos has big plans to take New Jersey public schools from ranking among the least efficient in the nation to among the most,” Oestreich said. “The policy works on a simple set of ideas: empower parents with proven reform options and localize control over education. Research tells us that Kyrillos’ simple plan would result in monumental advances for public education where they are needed most.”

The Parent Trigger, which originated in California and has since been refined by The Heartland Institute, allows a simple majority of parents at a school to “trigger” one of three reform options: close the school and allow students to transfer to better-performing public schools, convert the school into a charter school, or give parents vouchers to use at the schools of their choosing.

Bruno Behrend, director of the Center for School Reform at The Heartland Institute, said: “This is a powerful, positive step toward real educational transformation. The Parent Trigger, augmented by other robust reforms, empowers parents to take control of their child’s education from the system that is failing so many.”

Similar legislation is being drafted in more than a dozen states.

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago and Washington, DC. It is not affiliated with any political party, business, or foundation. Heartland’s mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at or call 312/377-4000.