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News and stories from the campaign to reclaim individual responsibility and liberate Americans from bureaucracy and legal fear.

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Free the Teachers

Common Good Chair Philip K. Howard writes in the New York Daily News that the common denominator among schools with good teachers is that those teachers “feel free to teach in [their] own way.” “Inspiration requires spontaneity and originality,” he continues. “Teachers must own their classrooms. This is the secret of every successful school.” Teachers’ freedom, however, is under attack. “Instead of letting teachers inspire students with their passion and spontaneity,” Howard explains, “America has organized public schools as bureaucratic assembly lines. There is a rule for everything—so many rules that no one can know them all.” “We must abandon the bureaucracy so humans can take back control, school by school, classroom by classroom,” Howard concludes. “Not everyone will succeed. But many will, and probably much quicker than imagined. There’s nothing so contagious, the saying goes, as enthusiasm.”

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Time for a Movement for Legal Reform

In his recent article in The Atlantic, Philip K. Howard argues that “modern law has severed people from their best judgment.” He relates that, in addition to America's schools and hospitals, Washington is so “paralyzed by the accretion of law” that even President Obama “is powerless in the face of [it]” (noting that an obsolete 1931 law “prevented the President from hiring thousands of people last year”). “Reviving personal initiative is impossible without basic legal overhaul,” Howard writes – but “neither political party in the US has even a glimmer of interest in this issue.” “What's needed here is a movement," he concludes. "People who believe the system is broken have to band together and force change upon a political system that seems content to preside over a status quo of slow suffocation.”

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