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Week in Review: Mom Continues Fight against NEA Attack

August 14, 2021

Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas wanted to know what her daughter would be taught in kindergarten. For daring to ask questions about that curriculum, she was hit with an outrageous $74,000 bill from her school district to get the information she was seeking. Now, the National Education Association is trying to silence her, filing a lawsuit against her for requesting information that she’s entitled to know.

But Nicole will not be silenced. Instead, she’s got legal firepower from the Goldwater Institute, and together, we’re sharing her story far and wide.

This week, Nicole and her attorney, Goldwater Director of National Litigation Jon Riches, joined Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” to talk about Nicole’s public records requests for curriculum information—requests she filed at the direction of her school district. “This is a matter of public concern that is subject to public disclosure, and every parent has the right to request this information—and every parent should,” Nicole said. You can watch the full interview above.

Jon Riches also talked with Glenn Beck on his radio program this week about Nicole’s story, calling the National Education Association’s lawsuit against her “a brazen assault on parents everywhere” and “a pure harassment technique.” You can listen to the complete interview here.

Wisconsin Set to Act on Academic Transparency

Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg (left) testifies at the Wisconsin State Capitol in favor of academic transparency.

All parents have a right to know what their kids are being taught in school, and it’s why the Goldwater Institute is fighting so hard to shine a light on public school curriculum across the country. Now, Wisconsin is moving to pass Goldwater’s academic transparency bill into law.

Adapted from our model Academic Transparency legislation, Wisconsin’s bill requires state public schools to proactively make curriculum information available to parents online. With this law in place, parents will, for the first time, have reliable, easy access to the universe of materials their kids are encountering.

This week, the Goldwater Institute joined Wisconsin parents, policy experts, and lawmakers to testify in favor of Wisconsin’s new legislation to bring transparency to education. Goldwater Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg was among those who testified before the members of the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly Education Committees about the proposed legislation.

“If you believe parents have a right to know what sort of materials their students will encounter—before they are forced to make such a monumental decision such as the enrollment and education of their kids—or that teachers should be encouraged to share, not jealously guard the ingredients of a successful selection of materials that are already visible within the school walls, then I strongly encourage you to join with the parents and sponsors in support of this legislation,” Beienburg told the committee members.

You can read more about the hearing—and learn more about Goldwater’s academic transparency efforts—at In Defense of Liberty.

Will Massachusetts Improve Its Asset Forfeiture Laws?

Massachusetts has the ignominious distinction of having the worst asset forfeiture laws of any state, but the Bay State may have a chance to improve these abysmal laws. But will the state go far enough?

Civil asset forfeiture laws allow government to take and hold a person’s private property, even when they haven’t been accused—let alone convicted—of a crime. Now, the Massachusetts Legislature has the opportunity to adopt changes recommended by a special legislative commission to study the state’s forfeiture laws—changes like raising the state’s burden of proof and improving financial reporting requirements.

However, as Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney Stephen Silverman writes at In Defense of Liberty, the commission’s proposals “are a good start, but more ought to be done.” (Silverman and the Goldwater Institute represent innocent Massachusetts grandmother Malinda Harris; after Berkshire County police took and held Malinda’s car for six long years under the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws, they agreed to return the car earlier this year after Goldwater got involved.)

To adopt truly meaningful reform, Silverman writes, Massachusetts—and all states—should require a criminal conviction before the government can take someone’s property or abolish the practice of civil forfeiture completely. This year, Arizona enacted the Goldwater Institute’s asset forfeiture reform, and Maine, Nebraska, and North Carolina also acted to require a criminal conviction for almost all forfeiture matters.

You can read more about the Goldwater Institute’s work to stop civil asset forfeiture abuse here.  



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