Advocating for innovation, Steve Jobs championed school choice

Advocating for innovation, Steve Jobs championed school choice

Earlier this month, Apple made waves by introducing the iPhone 10. Since being unveiled, the updated smartphone and several other new products have received praise as the latest credit to Steve Jobs’ tech legacy.

Years following his death, Americans still remember the Apple founder’s dedication to forward progress. While he is regarded as a visionary leader in the tech industry, many are unaware that his contribution to education innovation has also created lasting interest.

Jobs, adopted into a blue-collar family, long touted the importance of robust school choice.

“Equal opportunity to me, more than anything, means a great education,” Jobs once said in a 1995 interview with the Smithsonian Institution.

“I believe very strongly that if the country gave each parent a voucher for $4,400 that they could spend at any accredited school, several things would happen,” he later said. “Number one, schools would start marketing themselves like crazy to get students. Secondly, I think you’d see a lot of new schools starting…. I believe that they would do far better than any of our public schools would. The third thing you’d see is… the quality of schools again, just in a competitive marketplace, start to rise.”

His dream for unlocking potential in the education system didn’t stop there.

Prior to his death, Jobs began exploring options to digitize classrooms and make expensive learning materials, like updated textbooks, more affordable and accessible through technology. Imagining learning environments with greater flexibility and creativity, he also advocated for less bureaucracy and more teacher autonomy over curriculum.

Like with the newest version of his iPhone, Jobs may not have lived long enough to see his dream of educational choice for all become a reality, but his ideas continue to inspire leadership and progress toward a day when each child has meaningful education options.

Georgia Center for Opportunity announced as finalist for Atlas Network’s prestigious Templeton Freedom Award

Georgia Center for Opportunity announced as finalist for Atlas Network’s prestigious Templeton Freedom Award

Amid growing acknowledgment for efforts to reduce prison recidivism rates in Georgia, the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) has been named as a finalist for the highly competitive Atlas Network Templeton Freedom Award.

The honor recognizes GCO for recent efforts to assist formerly incarcerated individuals with successful reintegration into society. Through work with several community partners, the organization has orchestrated an effort that focuses on the rehabilitation and restoration of former offenders with their family and community. Aiming to help newly-released individuals gain employment and reconnect with their loved ones, GCO’s program has been credited with positively impacting the state’s justice system.

“We’re humbled to be considered as a global leader in promoting freedom and human flourishing, and congratulate the other finalists for their tremendous successes,” said Randy Hicks, President and CEO of GCO.

“Several hard-won policy changes and the work of many partners have contributed to a reduction of inmates in the state’s prison system,” Hicks added. “We predict the reforms spearheaded by GCO will continue to allow more individuals to successfully reenter society and become less likely to recidivate.”

The Atlas Network’s CEO, Brad Lips, praised GCO’s innovative approach to criminal justice reform.

“GCO’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative demonstrates that compassion for the incarcerated and their families can be aligned with the interests of taxpayers and public safety,” Lips said. “It’s a wonderful initiative that deserves to be emulated.”

GCO is included among seven globally-selected finalists who have made strides in public policy that encourage prosperity, innovation, and human fulfillment via free competition. Other finalists include the Beacon Center of Tennessee, based in Nashville, Tenn., the IMANI Center for Policy and Education, based in Accra, Ghana, Instituto de Estudos Empresariais (IEE), based in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (IMCO), based in Mexico City, Mexico, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute for Public Policy (MLI), based in Ottawa, Canada.

All finalists will receive $25,000, while the winning organization will receive $100,000.

The winner of the Atlas Network’s Templeton Freedom Award will be announced during the Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner in New York City on November 8.

To learn more about policy solutions championed in GCO’s prisoner re-entry work visit