Center for Education Opportunity

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Center Vision

For American families and students today, education provides a pathway to the realization of their aspirations and a realization of their dignity. Right now, public education achieves neither end. The key to a better education system, one that serves both America and Americans, is advancing policies that puts American families first, including choice. That’s exactly what the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) is here to achieve. AFPI will formulate educational policies that provide educational opportunity for all American families. This means putting parents and students—not bureaucracies, unions, or politicians—in charge of the education of America’s next generation. AFPI aims to restore our system of public education to its original, legitimate purpose: educating and raising the next generation of Americans, facilitating their dreams—and our prosperity.

AFPI aims to restore our system of public education to its original, legitimate purpose: educating and raising the next generation of Americans, facilitating their dreams, and our prosperity. Providing a high-quality education with opportunities that benefit every student will create greater outcomes for our next generation.


  • Increasing Education Opportunities
  • Increasing Early Literacy
  • Creating Greater Student Outcomes
  • Improving Spending on Education

Protecting Due Process on Public University Campuses After the New Title IX Regulation

Jonathan Pidluzny, Ph.D.

Three Approaches to improving Viewpoint Diversity at State colleges and Universities

Jonathan Pidluzny, Ph.D.

Protecting Students’ Expressive Rights on Public College Campuses

Jonathan Pidluzny, Ph.D.

Universal Parental School Choice Act

Tax Credit Scholarship Act

Part-Time Enrollment Act

Education Savings Accounts Act

Literacy-Based Promotion Act

Students for Fair Admissions V. President & Fellows of Harvard College

Jonathan Pidluzny, Ph.D.

Fact Sheet: Give Parents More Control Of Their Child’s Education: 10 Model Policies To Restore Excellence To America’s Schools

The National Association of Scholars and The America First Policy Institute Present: 10 State Policies to Restore Excellent k-12 Public Education in America

Teacher Education Preparation: How National Accreditation Standards Influence Teaching

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D. and Alexandra Caro Campana

Fact Sheet - Seven Major Problems with the Biden Administration’s Borrower Bailout

Jonathan Pidluzny

Seven Major Problems with the Biden Administration’s Borrower Bailout

Dr. Jonathan Pidluzny, Ph.D.

School Choice in the State of Arizona

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D.

Early Literacy in the State of Arkansas

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D

The Combatting State-Sanctioned Bigotry Act

The On-Cycle School Board Election Act

Open Enrollment for New Buildings Act

Workplace and Student Enrollment Act

Did You Know The Federal Government is Trying to Pass a $6 Billion Civics Education Bill?

Improving School Safety & Reducing Gun Violence

Myths Versus Facts School Choice in Iowa

Toolkit: Protecting Your Taxpayer Dollars in the Classroom

Covid-19 Relief Funding For K-12 Education - The Essential Role of Integrity and Accountability

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D.

School Board Member Toolkit - Curriculum Adoption

Two-Pager - The Case for Alignment of Education and Workforce Systems

The Case for Alignment of Education and Workforce Systems

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D.

Two-Pager: Reimagining Child Care in America

Dr. Laurie Todd-Smith

Center for Education Opportunity Overview

Dr. Scott Turner, Dr. Laurie Todd-Smith, and Rachel Craddock

School Choice Empowers Families and Creates Greater Student Outcomes

Dr. Laurie Todd-Smith

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D. Director, Center for Education Opportunity

Laurie Todd-Smith, Ph.D. is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, but has lived in Mississippi for over 25 years.  She serves as AFPI’s Senior Fellow for the Center for Education Opportunity and Center for the American Worker. Dr. Todd-Smith was appointed by President Trump to serve as the Director of the Women’s Bureau at the United States Department of Labor. During her tenure at the Women’s Bureau, she focused the agency on issues of childcare, paid family leave, and grants to support women in apprenticeship.  Prior to her work with the United States Department of Labor, Dr. Todd-Smith served as Senior Education and Workforce Policy Advisor to Governor Phil Bryant. She led numerous legislative efforts to help improve public education in Mississippi including: The Literacy Based Promotion Act, Early Childhood Education, Charter Schools, Special Needs Education Scholarship Account, and accountability models for school districts, all of which resulted in improved outcomes for Mississippi’s students. Dr. Todd-Smith is also the former executive director of the Mississippi State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) and the State Childhood Advisory Council (SECAC). Dr. Todd-Smith is a former elementary school teacher and holds a doctorate in education from Mississippi State University, a master’s degree from Western New Mexico University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. Dr. Todd-Smith is a 2-year breast cancer survivor.  She is an avid college football fan and enjoys boating at Lake Caroline, MS with her husband, Ron, and adorable Yorkie, Max.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

The Honorable Scott Turner Chair, Center for Education Opportunity

Scott Turner is from Richardson, Texas, and serves as AFPI’s Chair of the Center for Education Opportunity at AFPI. Turner is a businessman, motivational speaker, and former professional football player, who previously served as the executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. Turner formerly served as a Texas state representative for the 33rd District, which includes part of Collin County and all of Rockwall County. Before entering public service, Turner was an American football cornerback who played in the NFL for nine seasons with the Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers, and the Denver Broncos. He attended the University of Illinois, where he played as their starting cornerback and graduated with a degree in speech communications.

General Mick Zais Senior Fellow, Center for Education Opportunity

General Mick Zais is from Columbia, South Carolina, and serves as a Senior Fellow in the Center for Education Opportunity at AFPI. Zais most recently served as President Donald J. Trump’s Deputy Secretary of Education and, for a short period, as Acting Secretary. Before that, he ran for and was elected South Carolina’s 17th State Superintendent of Education, the second Republican to hold that office. Zais also served for 10 years as president of Newberry College, a private institution founded before the Civil War. During 31 years as an Army infantryman, paratrooper, and ranger, he served in Vietnam, Korea, Panama, and Kuwait. He was a social aide in the Nixon White House; at West Point, he taught organizational behavior, leadership, and management consulting; and in the Pentagon, he was Chief of War Plans. An ardent philatelist, Zais has been married for 42 years to Susan. They have two adult children. His son is a cyber security professional and sergeant in the South Carolina National Guard. His daughter, the former Miss South Carolina USA, is a full-time mom. Zais and Susan have six grandchildren between the ages of three and 10.

“Do right and bear the consequences.”

Sam Houston

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