Commentary

Marshall Fritz, R.I.P.

Marshall Fritz, the longtime libertarian leader who founded the Advocates for Self-Government and created the world-famous World’s Smallest Political Quiz, died November 4th of pancreatic cancer at the age of 65. At reason online, I remember him as an eloquent champion who believed and practiced the notion that liberty starts at home.

I knew Marshall Fritz as the founder of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. He wisely advised that “Sunday School, Monday Schoolââ?¬â??Neither is the Business of Government.” He wrote, “some people think that the American “public school system” is broken so they try to fix it. The truth is that public schooling is not broken. Rather, it is succeeding in its main objectiveââ?¬â??strengthening government by undermining parents…” As education reform advocates argued about what counts as markets in education and what are legitimate forms of school choiceââ?¬â??from vouchers to tax credits to charter schoolsââ?¬â??Marshall was never willing to settle for half-measures. As he advised in a 2005 reason piece, “Let a Thousand Choices Bloom,” “Start with your own children. Remove them from school-by-government. You’ll not be paying twice for education: You’ll pay taxes for the state to harm other people’s children, but you’ll pay only once for educationââ?¬â??your children’s.”

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.