Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Education: Choice and Transparency"

The NH Liberty Alliance hosted its 10th (can you imagine?) annual Liberty Dinner at Dell-Lea in Chichester, NH, on 7/14/2013. This year's keynote speaker was the honorable Jason Bedrick. The NHLA blurb on Jason goes something like this:
Jason Bedrick is a policy analyst with Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom. Bedrick has extensive policy research experience, including detailed legislative development and analysis. He previously served as a legislator in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and was a research fellow at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, where he focused on state education policy. Bedrick received his Master’s in Public Policy, with a focus in education policy, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His thesis, "Choosing to Learn", assessed the scholarship tax credit programs operating in eight states including their impact of student performance, fiscal impact, program design, and popularity.
Btw, the Activist of the Year was Kirk McNeil, from NH Common Sense and NH Compassion, for finally succeeding in getting medical marijuana past a NH governor's desk (though while promised, it's still technically pending at this writing), and the Legislator of the Year was my own Mark Warden, becoming the first two-time winner of that honor (one that the aforementioned Jason Bedrick has earned, himself, in 2008). Give 'em a couple days to get it posted, but see the entire Liberty Rating (and the historic record thereof) here.

And This Is What 'Found Family' Looks Like

Dan Bridgeland departed this plane in early July, 2013. I don't believe I ever met Dan officially, but I'm confident that he was a kindred spirit. Attendance at his memorial service, held by the Church of the Sword in Manchester, NH on 7/14/2013 and here represented, easily confirms that. I deeply regret his departure for an ostensibly better world, particularly before I got to know him.

Your humble chronicler was there in the fall/winter of 2003-2004, mere months after the Free State Project announced its participants' voted state choice, at the first coordinated in-state meetings of what would transform by April into the Merrimack Valley Porcupines meetings -- still arguably the largest and most consequential monthly libertarian gatherings in the country, perhaps the world. Probably at least half the "porcs" already in NH at the time were there, by my recollection, and we easily fit at one table in a back corner at Martha's Exchange in Nashua, but very soon to move north to the more centrally located Milly's Tavern in Manchester.

How far this movement has already come since then. And either our community is, indeed, disproportionately beset, as it sometimes feels, by tragedy and drama and loss and sorrow, or...  Or our community is in fact already far larger and more committed to each other on a personal level than we may often give it credit for being. So perhaps the percentages aren't so skewed after all. And just look at the benefits.

We are community. Voluntary community. And we are mighty in part because we are many. Already. And we are many because of principled individuals like Dan.

Thank you, Dan, for having been -- for still being part of this community. This - you, faithful reader -- is his legacy. Let's make him proud. Every day.