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Liberty + Leadership News: December 23


We hope you enjoy these news stories about TFAS activities, alumni and events this week. Sign up to receive TFAS updates, and visit us on social media for additional up-to-the-moment TFAS news!

New FTE Program: Making Sense of the Federal Budget, Debt & Deficits

The federal debt has surpassed $28 trillion, a number so large that most Americans simply cannot comprehend it, much less understand how it impacts the economy and their own lives. This ignorance is understandable. Discussions of budgets, debt and deficits often dominate the media when it comes to big spending, subsidies and government programs, but they tend to be shallow sound bites or accusations of one group trying to score political points or denigrate a policy they don’t support. These conversations leave Americans uninformed and lacking the tools they need to understand the impact on their daily lives.

FTE teachers group shot
A select group of teachers tested out the “Making Sense of the Federal Budget, Debt & Deficits” course at a conference in Austin, Texas, this year.

As the national debt continues to rise and more Americans are unable to grasp the meaning of the trends, TFAS high school programs division, the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE), has developed an engaging, hands-on curriculum to help high school educators of economics, civics and history more effectively teach their students about the federal budget, debt and deficits.

The new five-part course, “Making Sense of the Federal Budget, Debt & Deficits,” explains the national budget and helps students understand how government spending works using the “economic way of thinking.” Students can test their knowledge on current debt levels, practice balancing a budget, discover the difference between mandatory and discretionary spending and more.

Learn more about the new curriculum at TFAS.org/newFTEcourse.

TFAS Alumna Shares Value of America’s “First Freedom” with Public Policy Fellows

The TFAS Public Policy Fellowship offers early-career policy professionals the opportunity to gather each month to discuss topics related to “The Experiment in Self-Government.” On Dec. 7, Fellows convened at the TFAS headquarters for a talk on religious liberty with TFAS alumna Lori Windham ’00.

TFAS alumna Lori Windham ’00 speaks with Public Policy Fellows at their December meeting.

A frequent volunteer for TFAS programs, Windham is senior counsel at Becket, a nonprofit, public-interest law firm focused on defending religious liberty around the world. During the discussion with TFAS Public Policy Fellows, Windham discussed the importance of religious liberty as America’s “first freedom.” The discussion emphasized both the philosophical underpinnings and historical context that led to religious freedom becoming a part of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Windham and the Public Policy Fellows also discussed upcoming cases and recent arguments before the Supreme Court involving religious liberty. These cases included Carson v. Mackin on equal access to educational opportunities and Shurtleff v. City of Boston on religious symbols in the public square.

It’s always a pleasure to speak with the Public Policy Fellows,” Windham said. “They’re a group of smart, thoughtful professionals from a variety of different backgrounds and areas of expertise, which makes for fascinating discussions.”

To learn more about this year’s cohort, visit TFAS.org/PPF21Sept.

Post of the Week

Texas State University student Alexis Lyle ’21 shared how the TFAS Capital Semester Fall program turned out to be the journey of her dreams during the closing ceremony in November. Read more of Lyle’s remarks and additional student testimonies at TFAS.org/FallRecap21.


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The New York Post featured TFAS former regent Tom Morrison in this article about his new satirical sequel to “Tort$ ‘R’ Us,” titled “Please Pass the Tort$.”

Michael Brendan Dougherty, Novak ’09, explains how COVID-19 has impacted children’s mental health in an article for RealClearHealth.

Helen Andrews, Novak ’17, writes about the dangers of reconstructing and revising history based on narrative interpretations for The American Conservative.

Niki DaSilva ’14 was recently promoted to director of programs and policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Education and Workforce.

Joe Sabia ’05 is the voice behind the camera on Vogue’s 73 Questions series. After seven years of filming celebrities where they are most comfortable, Sabia answers his own 73 questions for Boston Globe.

Elise Amez-Droz, PPF ’19, co-authors an article for Discourse Magazine on the lessons America can learn from Switzerland.

Martin Rodriguez ’15, PPF ’15, explains the fight for democracy in the Western Hemisphere in an article for Harbus.

Cal Fussman interviewed TFAS Regent Chris Ullman on his Big Questions with Cal Fussman podcast. Ullman shared how he uses whistling to bring joy to others.

After more than a decade of communications and government experience in the White House, Congress, the Executive Branch and the private sector, Amanda Munger ’10, PPF ’17,  is joining Melwood Global as a partner.

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