About the Authors

Vicki E. Alger, Ph.D. is a state government relations manager at The Heartland Institute and a research fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California. She is the author of the book Failure: The Federal ‘Misedukation’ of America’s Children. She holds senior fellowships at the Fraser Institute, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the Independent Women’s Forum in Washington, DC. Alger is also president and CEO of Vicki Murray & Associates in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Alger’s research focuses on education reforms that promote a competitive education marketplace and increase parents’ control over their children’s education. She is the author of more than 40 education policy studies, co-author of Lean Together: An Agenda for Smarter Government, Stronger Communities, and More Opportunities for Women; Short-Circuited: The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California; and Not as Good as You Think: Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice. Alger was also associate producer of the documentary Not as Good as You Think: Myth of the Middle Class School.

Alger has advised the U.S. Department of Education on public school choice and higher education reform. She has also advised education policymakers in nearly 40 states and England, provided expert testimony before state legislative education committees, and served on two national accountability task forces. Alger’s research helped advance four parental choice voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs in Arizona, as well as the state’s first higher-education voucher.

Alger’s research also inspired the introduction of five school choice bills in California—the most in the Golden State’s history—and her research was used as part of the successful legal defense by the Institute for Justice of the country’s first tax-credit scholarship program in the U.S. Supreme Court (Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn). Her research and commentary on education policy have been widely published and cited in leading public policy outlets, such as Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, Education Week, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, in addition to national news media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, Forbes, Fortune, and the Los Angeles Times. Alger has appeared on the Fox News Channel, Global News, local ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS affiliates, as well as several national news radio programs.

Prior to her career in education policy, Alger taught college-level courses in American politics, English composition and rhetoric, and early British literature. She has lectured at numerous American universities, including the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Alger received her Ph.D. in political philosophy from the Institute of Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas, where she was an Earhart Foundation fellow. Alger lives in Arizona with her husband, David.

Timothy Benson has been a policy analyst with the The Heartland Institute since 2015. Prior to joining Heartland, Benson worked for the Foundation for Government Accountability as an editor and writer. He also wrote a regular column for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Benson’s work has appeared in dozens of national media outlets, including Investor’s Business Daily, National Review Online, The Hill, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, Crain’s Chicago Business, The American Spectator, Real Clear Policy, The Federalist, and many others, as well as in newspapers throughout the country. He is the author of the Heartland Policy Brief “Education Savings Accounts: The Future of School Choice Has Arrived,” co-author of the Heartland Policy Briefs “Saving Chicago Students: Strike Vouchers and SOS Accounts,” and “Debunking Four Persistent Myths About Hydraulic Fracturing,” and the author of hundreds of Heartland Research & Commentaries.

Lennie Jarratt is director of the Center for Education Opportunities at The Heartland Institute.

Jarratt is the former managing editor (2013–14) of Champion News, an Illinois-based news website focused on reporting on education and Illinois politics. Jarratt was also the managing editor (2004–11) of Education Matters, which researched education in local school districts across Illinois.

Jarratt has presented analyses on Common Core and education choice on Fox News, Breitbart, ABC Chicago, and multiple radio outlets and newspapers. He has been a presenter on panels discussing education choice, common core, homeschooling, and Illinois Freedom of Information Laws with groups such as American Majority, Americans for Prosperity, Illinois Tea Party groups, homeschool conventions, and state legislative hearings.

Jarratt received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University, where he studied mathematics and computer science.