The Carolinas Academic Leadership Network (CALN) has been awarded the Innovation Prize by the Heritage Foundation for its work to equip school board candidates and members with tools to combat the Left’s takeover of public education.

From Heritage Foundation X account

“Congratulations to @CarolinaLeader [CALN] for receiving the @Heritage Innovation Prize for their efforts to coach school board members on resisting the left’s attempt to bring woke ideology into schools & instead focusing on achieving academic excellence,” Heritage posted on X congratulating winners of the Innovation Prize.

CALN is a collaboration between the John Locke Foundation, Palmetto Promise Institute, and the South Carolina Policy Council and is focused on providing fellowship, training, and support to local school board members in the Carolinas. Their goal is to promote a true commitment to student achievement, parental empowerment, and academic excellence among school board members while empowering them with the tools and skills to be as effective at embracing competition as possible.

Starting in 2022, the Heritage Foundation awards the Innovation Prizes to financially support innovative solutions to the most pressing issues facing America. The awards, totaling $1 million each year, recognize results-oriented non-profits for projects involving research, litigation, education, outreach, or communications.  

“America is at one of the most critical turning points in her history,” said Kevin Roberts, PhD, president of The Heritage Foundation in a press release describing the initiative. “The only way we will save our republic is if the American people stand up and take action to defeat radical leftists and the destruction they are unleashing on our country.

“The conservative movement must go on offense like never before against those trying to bring down the nation from within. The American people are looking for bold and innovative leaders who are willing to call out this radicalism for what it is, but also provide ideas and solutions to the problems millions are facing today.”

CALN sponsored a break out session at the Carolina Liberty Conference, hosted by the John Locke Foundation in January. Public school members and leaders who have embraced the competition that comes with school choice came together to focus on delivering the best academic option for kids in their community.

The politicization of instruction at public schools has been a growing concern for parents in recent years, with state legislative reforms like the Parents’ Bill of Rights taking hold in North Carolina and around the nation.

CALN’s work focuses on empowering parents and equipping school board candidates and members with the tools to ensure local public schools recommit to academics, instead of social politics.

“We are honored to serve our students and parents by putting them first in public education,” said Kayla Maloney, project manager for Carolinas’ Academic Leadership Network, when asked for comment. “We are so grateful to the Heritage Foundation for helping us make that possible!”

You can learn more about CALN here.