Education is more than just an issue of policy. It’s a transformative experience that contributes to a flourishing life. That’s the view of our guest this week, Derrell Bradford, executive vice president of 50can. An advocate for education reform for decades, Derrell works with people of all political ideologies to help ensure that every child has access to a quality education, no matter their zip code.

Dr. Jennifer Thompson talked with Derrell about the value of education for individuals, but also for society. He shares his take on the attack on the Capitol as a failure of education and what we can do to make a difference in education in our own communities.

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Show Notes:


Derrell’s column at The74million

Ender’s Game

The Unify Challenge

Back to Basics for Conservative Education Reform – Yuval Levin

Okun’s leaky bucket

Educational reform resources:

Center for American Progress

American Enterprise Institute

Cato Institute

Follow Derrell on Twitter

About our guest:

Derrell Bradford is the executive vice president of 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, and the executive director of its New York branch, NYCAN, with more than seventeen years working in education reform policy and advocacy. In his role, Derrell trains and recruits local leaders across the country to serve as executive directors of state CANs, advocacy fellows, and citizen advocates. He leads the National Voices fellowship which focuses on education policy, media, and political collaboration, and is a member of the organization’s executive team.

Derrell previously served as the executive director at Better Education for Kids. At B4K Derrell worked to secure passage of the tenure reform legislation TEACH NJ. B4K’s advocacy also led to electoral victories for reform-minded candidates across the state. Prior to B4K, Derrell spent nine years with New Jersey’s Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) as director of communications and then executive director. While there he also served on the state’s Educator Effectiveness Task Force.

Derrell is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (Pahara Fall 2016) and serves on several boards including Success Academy Charter Schools and the PIE Network. He was the founding board chair of EdBuild and a senior visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a member of the AEI Leadership Network. A native of Baltimore, Derrell attended the St. Paul’s School for Boys and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English.