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#AskExcelinEd: Why Education Choice Is an Exercise in Humility

• James Paul


During our #AskExcelinEd Summer Learning series, you’ll get to know some of ExcelinEd’s team as they share what they are learning over the summer. Remember to join us on social media to ask your burning policy questions. Enjoy!

ExcelinEd.Headshot.JamesPaul.webMeet James Paul

ExcelinEd’s Associate Policy Director for Education Choice

It is challenging to retain humility in the field of policy making, where white-coated experiments often rule the day. Don’t get me wrong—there is a need for rigorous research to evaluate the merits of policy options. But it’s also crucial to hear from real people just how these policies are impacting their families and communities.

I relish working on the ExcelinEd Opportunity team precisely because education choice is an exercise in humility. Empowering parents with choices in education recognizes that families have different values, goals and expectations for how their children will learn and grow.

Of course, I am pleased that much of the evidence on education choice indicates positive outcomes for students. But more importantly, I believe supporting a parent’s ability to find the right educational fit for their child is a moral imperative.

I Prefer…

E-Book over Print Book

Text over Phone Call

Traditional Watch over Smart Watch

Tea over Coffee

Research I’m Reading

Exploring New Hampshire’s Private Education Sector – from EdChoice

My Favorite Podcast

I am looking forward to more episodes from the new AEI Education Podcast, which debuted this summer.

State Spotlight: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania lawmakers recently increased the size of their tax-credit scholarship program by $25 million, which should provide thousands of new scholarships to low- and middle-income families in the Keystone State.

What I’m Reading

I recently read Dr. Ashley Berner’s Pluralism and American Public Education: No One Way to School. The book makes a tidy argument for education choice, in which state government continues to fund and regulate schooling—but is not necessarily the sole (or primary) delivery mechanism for education.

ExcelinEd Resource Highlight

Check out new resources from ExcelinEd’s Opportunity policy team. For example, see our piece on policy design considerations for tax-credit scholarship programs, which can help advocates design a program suitable for the unique conditions in a given state.

About the author

James Paul

James Paul is an Associate Policy Director who focuses on expanding opportunity through private education choice. In this role, James provides analysis and support to state partners regarding the design and implementation of tax-credit scholarship and education savings account programs. Prior to joining ExcelinEd, James was a Policy Analyst at the Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he worked on a variety of state education issues. James graduated from Syracuse University and resides in the Washington, D.C. area.