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National School Choice Week Event

What are Know-Nothing amendments? Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute, talks about the meaning and history of the Know-Nothing amendments and how they keep students trapped in failing schools.

January 25, 2017
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
The Heartland Institute
3939 N. Wilke Road
Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004

The Know-Nothing amendments inspired the so-called Blaine amendments – which are currently in effect in 38 states and are designed to thwart school choice efforts that include parochial schools. A relic of anti-Catholic prejudice in the nineteenth century, today they keep millions of children trapped in failing, government-run “know-nothing” schools.

Gass discusses the rise of the Know-Nothing Party in the 1840s, the issues they used to grow their popularity, and why they were called the Know-Nothings. He also proposes how these amendments can be reversed to restore true school choice.

Watch the video at right for this special event at Heartland’s Andrew Breitbart Freedom Center in which Jamie Gass talks about the history of education. 


  • Speakers
    • Jamie Gass
      Director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute
      Jamie Gass, director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute, has managed the production of more than 100 research papers and numerous policy events on K–12 education reform topics, including several with Pulitzer Prize-winning historians. Gass 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.

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