Articles from Kristin L. Allen

What education, grocery stores, and Amazon.com have in common

Kristin L. Allen | Virginia Education Coalition

In August 2017, Amazon entered the retail grocery market. Its goal: transform the economic value chain associated with traditional bricks-and-mortar grocery delivery. Its plan: expand its scope, differentiate its product, cut cost by integrating grocers and customers into its larger e-commerce platform, and lower consumer prices. , Traditional grocery chains’ market value dropped 8 percent overnight.

And this is just the beginning – we will … continuously lower prices as we invent together. – Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon World Consumer

Education and grocery stores are different industries, but both have much to learn from Amazon. Like traditional grocers, public education’s business model is based on a command-and-control, geographically-based, product delivery system that has worked the same for decades. Both take advantage of technology to improve their business model, but in different ways. Continue reading


VEC Releases its study “Impact of Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts on Rural Virginia Counties”

Kristin L. Allen

For the third year, Del. David LaRock (VA-33) has introduced Parental Choice Education Savings Account (PCESA) legislation in the Virginia General Assembly.

This legislation will allow a parent to receive approximately one-third of Virginia’s per pupil expenditure on K12 education to place their public school student in a private school or home school, leaving one-third of the expenditure to cover the fixed cost of school operations, and one-third as savings to the state and locality for re-investment in public schools.

Under a grant from EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation), VEC analyzed the economic and fiscal impact of PCESA legislation on rural Virginia Counties (see VEC Report PDF).

VEC found that implementation of the PCESA will deliver the following results: Continue reading


Parental Choice in Education Has a Positive Effect on Public Education

By Kristin L. Allen, Virginia Education Coalition, LLC

Opponents to parental choice in education assert that choice will eventually lead to the disintegration of the entire system of public education. This will not happen. Surveys of voting Virginia parents suggest that 42 percent prefer public school for their child and would not consider any other mode of education even if tax credits, vouchers, savings accounts, or other mechanisms were passed into law. In other words, a point exists beyond which private schools, home school, or other options, will never be a choice for a significant segment of the population, and therefore, public schools will remain viable but will have to compete for students. Continue reading


A Path Forward: Parental Choice in Education

by Kristin L. Allen, Virginia Education Coalition, LLC

Parents have a dim view of American education’s direction. According to Jason Bedrick in “Americans Want Choice, Not Government Mandates” (EducationNext, June 2014),

Nearly six out of ten say that K-12 education is on the ‘wrong track’ compared with only one-third who said it is going the ‘right-direction’.

Virginia parents’ concerns are founded. Over the past 40 years, the cost of Virginia K-12 education has risen 20% in inflation adjusted dollars, while SAT scores – a measure of a student’s ability to be successful in college – have remained flat or declined. Education as a whole consumes more than one-third of the state’s budget.

In fact, no correlation exists between Virginia’s increased spending and academic achievement. In September 2014, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported that more than 30% of Virginia K-12 schools fail to meet full accreditation standards. Continue reading


Questioning the Case for Nationalized Education Reform

waving arms do not workDo educators wave their arms to make their case for education reform grow?

When my daughter was 5-years old, she asked, “How do the trees flap their leaves to make the wind blow?”  She quickly learned that correlation does not mean cause, a lesson the average American politician needs to learn when it comes to promoting the public good, especially education. Continue reading



Kristin L. Allen

About Kristin L. Allen

Kristin L. Allen Managing Partner, Virginia Education Coalition Mr. Allen is President of Virginia Education Coalition, LLC (VEC). VEC is an alliance of individuals and organizations that supports parent-led, student-centered education reform. VEC promotes policies and programs that deliver better student educational performance at reduced cost. VEC believes that these objectives are best achieved through parental choice in education; transparent, open dialogue between parents, students, and teachers; and policies and programs that encourage maximum personal freedom and responsibility. Follow VEC on Facebook and Twitter.