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Week in Review: Keeping Secrets?

February 23, 2024

When a high schooler in Pennsylvania formed a chapter of the conservative group Turning Point USA at her public school, the school librarian commented to a colleague about a “hate group.” Suspecting more unkind words were said about her daughter, that girl’s mom, Tara Adams, filed a public records request to see what school officials—government workers—were saying about her daughter in their emails.

The mom was stonewalled—until now. After the Goldwater Institute’s American Freedom Network of pro bono attorneys filed an appeal on Tara’s behalf, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records took the district to task for keeping Tara in the dark, and she can move forward in getting answers from the school.

But that’s not Goldwater’s first victory for parents’ rights. Nationwide, Goldwater is exposing school district secrecy by standing up for parents like Tara. Goldwater’s Ask Your School Now website gives parents the tools they need to file effective public records requests, and Goldwater attorneys stand ready to help parents in every state access the information they’re entitled to see.

Read more here.

Changes Afoot at ‘Office of Big Brother’?

Change is coming in Gilbert, Ariz., where citizens were furious to discover their town’s “Office of Big Brother” had spent years maneuvering in the shadows, silently spying on online speech to enforce conformity with a progressive political agenda.

The Goldwater Institute exposed that agenda for all to see—and this week, the head of the agency, Dana Berchman, who earned a taxpayer-funded salary of more than $200,000 per year, resigned following the Goldwater/AZ Free News investigative report.

“Together we have pushed the boundaries of local government communications to new levels,” Berchman said in her resignation letter.

That’s one way of putting it. Our report revealed something straight out of a George Orwell novel: Gilbert’s Office of Digital Government doesn’t just control all government communications online—its employees spend untold hours hunting down town employees’ personal social media for views that deviate from the script of political correctness and then turning those employees in.

It’s no surprise that citizens flocked to Gilbert’s next town council meeting to demand free speech justice. Goldwater’s report has now forced the city’s hand, with the council set to meet again in the coming weeks to review the Office of Digital Government’s scope and purpose. When they do, they should stop the spying—for good.

Read our investigative report here.

WATCH: Arizona Freedom Fighter Takes Liberty Across State Lines

How does Goldwater turn our policy reforms into real laws that safeguard individual liberty in dozens of states around the nation?

A new Atlas Network video spotlights Goldwater Institute Director of Strategic Engagement Heather Curry, whose job is to do just that. “Our entire approach focuses on first using Arizona as a case study, to be able to show when you pass a certain reform that advances personal liberty, the sky doesn’t fall,” Heather says.

That includes reforms like our universal recognition of occupational licensing law. After passing the law in Arizona in 2019, we enacted it in more than half the states in the country, helping countless experienced professionals exercise their right to earn a living.

Goldwater’s successes extend to education (school choice), healthcare (the Right to Try), and more. As Atlas explained: “Through Heather’s work, the Goldwater Institute’s successes building a freer and more prosperous future in Arizona are multiplied many times over as they take root in states across the country.”

Watch the video here.



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