I’ve had the chance to give a number of commencement addresses during the past decade, and as you might imagine for an advocate of school choice I’ve spoken at graduations for every schooling option available in our state.
On Saturday I had the honor of speaking to the graduates of James Madison Preparatory Academy in Tempe — all 14 of them – along with about 200 friends and family. I was amazed to observe a public charter school where the Principal spoke at length about the virtues of each of the 14 graduates. Where students learn Latin and the Federalist Papers. Where every student participates in sports, in drama, in student clubs. Where the school day and school year go longer than other schools, and the results of quality teaching show up through outstanding test scores. Oh, and there are daily chores and a strict honor code. And as a public charter school, it is free.
A small, academically rigorous school is not for everyone. But it is the perfect environment for some kids, and it was clear that the 2007 graduates had prospered in that place.
I also had a chance to show them my James Madison doll. Actually, it’s an action figure. My wife and I found him on the backshelf of a toy store years ago, and I said, “Hey, there’s the Father of the Constitution. I’ve got to have that dude.”
Beneath his stern-looking plastic exterior, I’m pretty sure he was smiling about the freedom and schooling options available to Arizona parents and their kids.


  1. Hi Len!
    Michelle Solomon from Queen Creek here! I haven’t visited your site in a while and it feels good to be back. We too are thankful for the great educational opportunities available in Arizona. Thanks to the outstanding education our children received at Eddie Farnsworth’s charter school, our 13 and 16 year old son and daughter have tested into English 101 and College Algebra and are just skipping the whole public high school drama (except for what we pick and choose). They will both run cross country in the early morning at Queen Creek High, but because they aren’t enrolled there, they are able to enroll at Basha High for their outstanding music classes and also participate in Regional and All State Choir and Orchestra. In the afternoon they will head down the road to Chandler Gilbert Community College and take 14 credit hours of classes there. All this only amounts to about 16 hours of classroom attendance per week. They will have time to teach piano lessons, practice their instruments, be with the family and serve the community, and get their degrees at a younger age. Eagle Forum offers great online history classes for free. We are taking advantage of that this summer. Look forward to visiting you again.
    Kind Regards,
    Michelle Solomon

  2. Mr. Munsil,
    I was at the JMPS commencement this year, as my brother was one of the graduating seniors.
    I have to say, I was impressed! I was aware of your political stand before (and happy to know someone in our state is standing up for what is right!), but never have I heard a politician speak with such sincerity…it was truly refreshing!
    I am a recent college graduate, and so many of my peers throughout college seem to be incapable of thinking for themselves when it comes to political issues, and they side with what “feels right,” rather than what IS right. Unfortunately, there are many in positions of leadership who feed this mindset, and it can be discouraging at times.
    I appreciate you and your stand on what is right, and sticking to the core values that our forefathers implemented…it gives me renewed hope for America.
    It is also nice to see someone who knows the meaning of family! And here I thought my family with 5 of us kids was a “big family.” haha!
    May God bless you for all you have done, and continue to help you with all you will do!
    It was a privilege to hear you speak, sir.


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