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Think tank hires UA education researcher

Greene to join Heritage Foundation by Jaime Adame | June 8, 2021 at 7:05 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Jay Greene, leader since 2005 of a University of Arkansas, Fayetteville academic department known for research often cited in debates about charter schools, is leaving the university to join a conservative think tank.

Greene will become senior research fellow with the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation, the Washington, D.C.-based organization announced Monday.

At UA, Greene has led the university's Department of Education Reform since it was created with a $10 million grant from the Little Rock-based Windgate Foundation and a matching $10 million from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The Walton grant money was part of a larger $300 million gift supporting the university.

Greene's final day at the university is June 14, university spokeswoman Shannon Magsam said.

"We're grateful to Dr. Greene for his 16 years of service to the college and the University of Arkansas," Brian Primack, dean of UA's College of Education and Health Professions, said in a statement.

Primack expects to appoint an interim chair for the department, Magsam said, with no decision yet on plans beyond an interim leader.

UA's Department of Education Reform has six full-time faculty members. The department offers a doctoral program in education policy and has about 15 students in total, Magsam said.

Research at the department includes the School Choice Demonstration Project, which aims to study the "strengths and limitations of school choice policies and programs," according to the project's website.

Greene did not respond to an email Monday, but on his blog he posted a statement about his departure from the university.

"I am incredibly proud of what my colleagues and I built at the University of Arkansas and will miss working in the same office with them every day, but look forward to continuing to collaborate with them from my new position," Greene said in the posting.

The Heritage Foundation in January 2017 announced the creation of its Center for Education Policy, which has a "vision" that education "should be student-centered from kindergarten through college, giving all Americans the freedom to choose learning options that work for them," according to the foundation's website.

"Jay has taught and inspired a generation of education scholars and his thought leadership, particularly in the area of school choice, has helped shape a movement to enable family-centered, free-market education," the center's director, Lindsey Burke, said in a statement Monday.

J.B. Horton, then with the Heritage Foundation, thanked the "Walton foundation" among other supporters during the 2017 announcement for the education policy center. The Heritage Foundation's annual report for that year listed the Walton Family Foundation as having given more than $100,000 in support of the Heritage Foundation.

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