RIP Andrew Coulson

February 08, 2016 | By JOSHUA THOMPSON

Liberty lost one of her staunchest defenders yesterday morning, when Andrew Coulson passed away after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. Andrew was a Senior Fellow in education policy at the Cato Institute. In that position, Andrew researched, published,and advocated for school choice.

I have long been an admirer of Andrew Coulson’s work — even before I began my career at Pacific Legal Foundation. His book, Market Education, has long been a staple on my bookshelf. Andrew and I first crossed paths professionally when I posted this critique of an op-ed he wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer. His response led to a very a interesting back and forth, which is summarized here. Despite our minor disagreement, that conversation led us to more closely follow the other’s work.  We’d exchange emails now and then, usually when one of us had something interesting to say about school choice. For National School Choice Week last year, Andrew Coulson appeared with me on this PLF podcast. The podcast remains one of our most popular ever. Andrew and I discuss a lot of the contemporary issues facing advocates of educational freedom today.

It was during the preparation for that podcast last year that I first learned about Andrew’s diagnosis. He was undergoing treatment at the time, and had to schedule the taping around his doctor visits. I, of course, volunteered to postpone the podcast to a more convenient time, but Andrew insisted.  He wasn’t going to let his treatment get in the way of advocating for freedom.

RIP Andrew Coulson.  “Thankfully, his ideas remain, and they will always illuminate the pathway forward.”