Reads of the Week: Public Schools, Permitting Reforms, and Qualified Immunity Flip-Floppers
Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Learn more about how the Writing Fellows Program can help boost your writing career!
Public school district boundaries are a relic of the past by Christian Barnard (Spring 2019) in The Hill
Nearly a year into the COVID-19 crisis, communities across the country are challenging long-held assumptions about public education, including the role of district boundaries in shaping everything from funding to educational opportunities. In an era of increasing customization and technological resources – and in a moment where students log on to classes remotely and parents are disagreeing on school reopening strategies – the absurdity of assigning kids to schools based on arbitrary and often unfair lines is more apparent than ever.
Lawmakers in various states – including Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas – have taken notice and are prioritizing legislation that would allow students to more easily transfer to schools outside of their residentially-assigned districts, which is commonly referred to as open enrollment…
Utah needs to streamline its permitting processes by Aerin Christensen (Fall 2020) in The Salt Lake Tribune
It happens so frequently that we hardly even notice it. If you want to start a business, remodel your house or even hold a yard sale, you need to get a permit or a license from the government.
Whether it’s paying a fee or filling out some paperwork, we accept it as part of the cost of doing business in America. But sometimes, getting the government’s permission can be like navigating a maze while you’re blindfolded…
In June Some House Moderates Voted to Abolish Qualified Immunity for Cops. Now They’re Not So Sure by Billy Binion (Spring 2018) in Reason
A group of House moderates who voted last June to abolish qualified immunity for cops now want that provision to be modified or removed before Congress proceeds with a recently-revived police reform bill.
The legal doctrine requires that any alleged misconduct be “clearly established” in prior case law if a victim is to sue a public official in federal court. This has protected two cops who stole $225,000 while executing a search warrant, a cop who caused lasting damage to a subdued suspect’s eye after allegedly kneeing him there “20 to 30 times,” two cops who assaulted and arrested a man for the crime of standing outside his own home, a cop who shot a 10-year-old, a cop who shot a 15-year-old, and two cops who unleashed a police canine on a man who had surrendered. The Justice in Policing Act—which was originally unveiled in June 2020 after the police killing of George Floyd and was reintroduced on Wednesday—currently eliminates qualified immunity for law enforcement officers…