updated: 7/21/2008 10:39:00 PM
The Indianapolis-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice has announced Dr. Patrick Byrne as the co-chairman of the board. Byrne is currently the chairman and chief executive officer of Overstock.com. He has also founded 19 schools around the world that have served over 7,000 boys and girls since 2005.
Source: Inside INdiana Business
Indianapolis, Ind. -- In a move that sends a clear signal to opponents of real and systemic education reform, the Friedman Foundation for Educational choice today announced that Dr. Patrick M. Byrne has been unanimously elected co-chairman of the board.
"I think he is the right choice," said Dr. Rose D. Friedman, economist and co-founder of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. "Patrick will be loyal to the Friedman philosophy of school choice for all children, and I know he is anxious to get going."
"I am deeply humbled to be appointed co-chairman of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice," said Dr. Byrne who joined the board in 2006. "The Friedmans are heroes of individual liberty and I have been blessed to be both their fan and their friend. Working with them and carrying on their vision of educational freedom for all children is one of highest honors I could receive."
A noted, well-recognized and passionate education reformer, Dr. Byrne has been involved in countless efforts to improve the quality of education that children in America and across the world receive. Internationally, Byrne has founded 19 schools around the world that have served over 7,000 boys and girls since 2005. Moreover, Worldstock, an innovative division of Overstock.com that fosters micro-demand in developing countries, has given families from across the globe the power and opportunity to access better education for themselves and their children through the profits they earn from Worldstock.
In the United States, Dr. Byrne's giving for education is well-known and respected. He has funded private school scholarships for low-income families in Utah and was the primary supporter of Utah's Referendum One, a campaign that pushed for Utah to become the first state in the nation to enact a universal school voucher program. In addition, he is the Founder of First Class Education, a unique effort to empower teachers by driving more dollars directly into the classroom.
"With all he has done to improve education he is a natural fit with our Foundation and I am really excited about his involvement," said Robert C. Enlow, Executive Director and COO of the Friedman Foundation. "I can't wait to see what happens when you mix a reform aimed at radically restructuring American education with a reformer as dedicated and passionate as Dr. Byrne. It's going to be great ride."
"This isn't your father's brand of school reform; we have an eight-track school system in a digital world," added Dr. Byrne. "As with so many things, Milton and Rose Friedman's ideas are right on target. The only way to improve K-12 education in America is to separate the government financing of education from the government administration of schools. Unless we restructure education in favor of children who attend schools instead of the adults who run schools, we will lose what remains of our competitive edge in the global economy."
Dubbed "the nation's leading voucher advocates" by the Wall Street Journal, the Friedman Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1996. The origins of the foundation lie in the Friedmans' long-standing concern about the serious deficiencies in America's elementary and secondary public schools. The best way to improve the quality of education is to enable all parents to have a truly free choice of the schools that their children attend. The Friedman Foundation works to build upon this vision, clarify its meaning to the general public and amplify the national call for true education reform through school choice.
"When the Friedman Foundation started in 1996 there were five school voucher and tax credit programs operating in five states," noted Gordon St. Angelo, President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. "Today, after 12 years of our effective work to educate the public, there are 24 programs operating in 14 states and the District of Columbia. With Patrick on board I expect this number to skyrocket," added St. Angelo.