TAE Advocates

Truth in American Education Advocates

Ann Marie Banfield began working as Cornerstone’s Education Liaison in 2009. As an education activist, she took her decade long research on education to Concord. Working with experts in education from across the country, she offers valuable insight into problems and successes in education. She holds a B.A. in Business Management from Franklin University in Columbus Ohio. Ann Marie and her husband have three children and reside in Bedford, NH.

Heather Crossin is a homemaker,wife and mother.  She works on informing the citizens of Indiana on education issues and has testified before the Indiana Senate on the Common Core State Standards program.  From 1989 to 1997, Heather served as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Dan Burton, initially in Washington, D.C. and later in his Indianapolis district office.  In that role, she researched and advised the Congressman on a number of issues, including education.  In 1995, with Congressman Burton’s “blessing,” Heather, along with other activists, initiated a grassroots and legislative effort to prevent Indiana from receiving Federal Goals 2000 funding.  Heather has also previously served as a Precinct Committeeman and on the School Commission of a parochial Catholic school.  Heather has published numerous articles and letters to the editor on the topics of Outcome Based Education, Year Round School, and the Common Core.  She graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in political science.

Barry Garelick, is a parent and advocate for better mathematics programs in U.S. schools. He has a degree in mathematics from University of Michigan and as part of his second career after retiring from the federal government, has recently received his California teaching credential to teach math in secondary schools. He worked on temporary assignment to a Senator in 2002, providing advice on math education in the U.S. He has written articles on math education for Education Next, Educational Leadership and Education News. He is a co-founder of the U.S. Coalition for World Class Math, which provided extensive comments on the deficiencies of the Common Core standards for mathematics.

Jamie Gass is Pioneer Institute’s Director of the Center for School Reform. At Pioneer, he has framed, commissioned, and managed over 60 research papers and numerous policy events on K-12 education reform topics. Jamie has more than two decades of experience in public administration and education reform at the state, municipal, and school district levels. Previously, he worked at the Massachusetts Office of Educational Quality and Accountability as Senior Policy Analyst-Technical Writer and in the state budget office under two Massachusetts governors. In the 1990s, Jamie worked for the Dean of the Boston University School of Education/Boston University Management Team in its historic partnership with the Chelsea Public Schools. He has appeared on various Boston media outlets: WBZ’s Nightside with Dan Rea, WRKO’s Tom & Todd Show, WBZ’s Keller at Large, WGBH’s Callie Crossley Show, WBUR, as well as talk radio across the country. He has been quoted in The Economist, Education Week, and The Boston Globe, and his op-eds are regularly published in The Boston Herald, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, The Lowell Sun, The Providence Journal, other regional newspapers, as well as national op-eds and magazine articles in The Wall Street Journal, Education Next, and City Journal. Jamie speaks on academic standards, school choice options, and school accountability at events throughout the country. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Boston University.

Shane Vander Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Caffeinated Thoughts, a popular Christian conservative blog in Iowa. He is also the President of 4:15 Communications, a social media & communications consulting/management firm that includes serving as the online communications director for American Principles Project and American Principles in Action.  Prior to this Shane spent 20 years in youth ministry serving in church, parachurch, and school settings.  He has taught Jr. High History along with being the Dean of Students for Christian school in Indiana.  Shane and his wife currently home school two of their children and their oldest daughter, a homeschool graduate, is now in college.  Shane writes frequently here at Truth in American Education.

Lance Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. He is the co-author of the recently released 2011 book Short Circuited: The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California. He is currently producing a film based on the book.  Mr. Izumi is also co-author of the groundbreaking book Not as Good as You Think: Why the Middle Class Needs School Choice and co-executive producer of the award-winning 2009 PBS-broadcast film documentary Not as Good As You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School. He also appears in Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim’s 2010 education film documentary Waiting for Superman, which was voted best U.S. documentary at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. 
In 2008, The New York Times selected Lance Izumi to be one of its online contributors on the presidential race and education issues.  In 2009, The New York Times posted “Sweden’s Choice,” a video op-ed on Sweden’s universal school-choice voucher system, which he wrote and narrated.  He continues to be a regular contributor on education issues for the Times’ “Room for Debate” opinion series.
He is the co-author of the book Free to Learn: Lessons from Model Charter Schools, which was used as a guidebook for creating high-performing charter schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  Mr. Izumi is a member of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of higher education in the nation. He served two terms as president of the Board of Governors from 2008 through 2009. 
Mr. Izumi served as chief speechwriter and director of writing and research for California Governor George Deukmejian. He also served in the administration of President Ronald Reagan as speechwriter to United States Attorney General Edwin Meese III. 
Mr. Izumi served as a commissioned officer, holding the rank of captain, in the California State Military Reserve, the state defense force that assists the California National Guard. During his service, Mr. Izumi was awarded the commendation medal and the achievement ribbon.

  He received his juris doctorate from the University of Southern California School of Law and his master of arts in political science from the University of California at Davis.  He received his bachelor of arts in economics and history from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Douglas Lasken has a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in educational administration from National University, where he taught for six years.  He taught for twenty-five years in the Los Angeles Unified School District, for 15 years as an elementary teacher and for 10 years as a high school English teacher and debate coach- retired in June, 2009.  He worked for the Los Angeles County Office of Education for two years as a Reading Specialist, and is a fellow of the UCLA Writing Project, for whom he taught at Handong University, South Korea in summer, 2009.  He served for five years on the California Content Review Panel which reviews standardized tests for the California Department of Education.  He does educational consulting and has worked for West Ed, Pioneer and the Fordham Research Institute.  He currently works part time at New Jewish Community High School in West Hills, Ca, as debate coach and instructor in Jewish Civilization.

Gretchen Logue has a BA degree from Mercer University, Macon, Georgia in English and Spanish.  She has worked as a paralegal and became particularly interested in special education laws when her oldest son was diagnosed as hearing impaired.  Her family relocated to St. Louis, MO so her son could attend an oral deaf school as this mode of communication was not offered in her school district.  She is alarmed at the move toward a federal curriculum and federal standards, as she believes not every child learns in the same manner and expectations of individual children should not be based on a formula.  She believes the system should not protect the system, rather, that the system should enable children to reach their potential.  She is the editor of Missouri Education Watchdog, an educational blog reporting on state issues, as well as national mandates impacting Missouri taxpayers, parents and students.  Gretchen is on the Foundation Board of National Technical Institute of Technology (NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Emmett McGroarty, Esq., is one of four founders of truthinamericaneducation.com. He is also director of the education initiative at the American Principles Project. He leads its effort to defend parental rights and to ensure that they have a say in what their children learn and who teaches it to them. He is co-author of the primers, Controlling Education from the Top: Why Common Core Is Bad for America and of Cogs in the Machine: Big Data, Common Core, and National Testing, both of which were published by Pioneer Institute. His other written works have been published by, among others, Crisis Magazine, Daily Caller, New York Post, Public Discourse, The Blaze, The Examiner, Townhall Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and USA Today. He has been a guest on, among others, the Glenn Beck Program, the Daily Run Down with Chuck Todd, Fox News, Laura Ingraham, Lars Larson, The Hugh Hewitt Show, and The Steve Deace Show. Mr. McGroarty is a graduate of Georgetown University and Fordham School of Law.

Betty Peters of Dothan, AL is serving her third term on the Alabama State School Board.   In 1983 she graduated summa cum laude from Troy University (Dothan) with a B.S. in accounting.  She served on the university’s newspaper staff and was president of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society. Betty is a member of the National Association of Scholars, Eagle Forum of Alabama, the Dothan Chamber of Commerce, the Houston County Children’s Policy Council and the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

Jane Robbins, J.D., is a Senior Fellow with American Principles Project.  Her works includes education policy, student privacy and parental rights issues.  Ms. Robbins began her career as a labor lawyer for an Atlanta firm, after which she worked for the firm as director of associate training and writing coach.  Since then she has taught legal writing at Emory Law School, presented legal-writing workshops for firms in Atlanta and Washington, DC, and served as a writing consultant for several Atlanta firms.  In the past several years she has handled a variety of legal projects for different firms and organizations.  Ms. Robbins is a native of Pendleton, South Carolina, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Clemson University.

Laurie H. Rogers has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a master’s in interpersonal communication, emphasizing the evaluation of argumentation and logic.  In 2001, she founded Safer Child, Inc., a nonprofit child advocacy information resource. In 2007, she narrowed her advocacy to public education, and in 2010, she founded Focus on the Square™, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving American K-12 education.  Laurie’s book Betrayed: How the Education Establishment Has Betrayed America and What You Can Do about It (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011) is now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Laurie has a background in finance, journalism and child advocacy and has volunteered in various schools – tutoring children in literacy and math, and teaching chess, argumentation and knitting.  She lives in Spokane with her husband, daughter and two cats.  Laurie speaks with advocates, teachers, and concerned parents every day.  She would like to specially acknowledge those who stand tall in the face of administrative deceit or stonewalling — and who remain committed to making a difference for the children.  Bravo.

Ayn Marie Samuelson, M.S., M.P.A., a Florida businesswoman, parent and community leader, known for her in-depth research and understanding of how government works, labored from outside the education system to promote accountability for student learning and a role for parents and communities in the decision-making process.  She wrote as a community columnist and served as an advisor to the Florida Today editorial board, moderates political forums for national, state and local elected offices and serves as president of an influential, grassroots community association. Samuelson also home-schooled her son for nearly three years, after-which he returned to public school.  Ayn co-authored the ground-breaking book, Exposing the Public Education System (2011), with the hope that others will realize how the system has failed us and how we can take action on behalf of our children and our nation.

Jim Stergios is Pioneer Institute’s Executive Director. Prior to joining Pioneer, he was Chief of Staff and Undersecretary for Policy in the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where he drove efforts on water policy, regulatory and permit reform, and urban revitalization. His prior experience includes founding and managing a business, teaching at the university level and in public and private secondary schools, serving as headmaster at a preparatory school, and writing for newspapers. Jim holds a doctoral degree in Political Science.

Terry Stoops is the Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation.  Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the program assistant for the Child Welfare Education Programs at the University of Pittsburgh. After crossing the Mason-Dixon Line, he taught English at Spotsylvania High School and served as an adjunct instructor in professional communication at the University of Mary Washington. He was a research assistant in the Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia.  Stoops earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Clarion University and a master’s degree in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Education. He received a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education.

Sandra Stotsky is Professor of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and holds the 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality. She was also a member of Common Core’s Validation Committee and was Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from 1999-2003.

Maureen Van Den Berg, M.Ed, is the Legislative Director of the Washington, DC office of the American Association of Christian Schools.  She attended Marshall University, Purdue University and Bob Jones University, receiving a B.S. and M.Ed. in Education from Bob Jones University.  She taught English, speech, and drama at the college and high school level for ten years, and is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers. In addition to her duties as the AACS Legislative Director, she often speaks at teacher conventions across the nation and serves as the editor for The Washington Flyer, a weekly publication of the AACS Washington, DC office.  She has represented Christian educational interests on Capitol Hill since July of 2005.

J. Wilson has 25 plus years experience working in public education as an elementary classroom teacher, curriculum consultant, staff development coordinator, and elementary principal.  As a team member he has been involved in writing science and math standards as well as reviewing math standards.  He has conducted workshops and classes for teachers and administrators on technology in the classroom, math and science education, and effective teaching practices.