Monday, September 22, 2008

Invitation to support Obama and education reform this Thursday

Dear fellow school reformers,


The election is only 43 days away.  Its outcome will have a profound impact on our country and the world – and also the issue we all care so much about, improving our K-12 educational system. 


(If you are for sure voting for the McCain/Palin ticket, please read no further.  My views are highly partisan and I have no desire to antagonize you or engage in a debate -- as much as I enjoy a spirited one, I just don’t have time right now.)


As you may be aware, I’ve been working hard to support Obama and, via Democrats for Education Reform, to encourage him to boldly embrace a genuine school reform agenda.  There are real signs that he is, in fact, doing so.  His recent speech on this issue was a big step forward (see my comments at: and I’m delighted to report that Obama has tapped my friend Jon Schnur, one of the co-founders of New Leaders for New Schools, to be Co-Chair of Obama’s Education Policy Committee.  It would be hard to overstate the importance of this appointment.


For those of you supporting Obama, the time to step up is RIGHT NOW – both to build on the education reform momentum in his campaign and also because, more broadly, voting begins this week in some states and the campaign has to make decisions in the near future about which states to contest.


Let me be blunt: the single most important thing people like us can do to help Obama is give money – even $100 is important.  To rebut the smears and lies the McCain campaign is spreading about him (see and win this election, Obama needs to get his positive, hopeful message out again and again in key swing states, organize an effective get-out-the-vote effort on election day, etc.  All of this requires a lot of money – and the sooner, the better.


Susan and I feel so strongly about this election – much more than we did as recently as a few weeks ago (see below) – that we are maxing out to the Obama campaign ($2,300 each) and also giving the maximum to the Democratic National Committee ($28,500).  This is a huge amount for us – many times what we have ever given in any other race – but we think this is the time to step up and give until it hurts (and, trust me, $33,100 really hurts).  We don’t want to wake up on November 5th, learn that Obama lost by 2 electoral votes (the race is that close) and curse ourselves for not having done everything we possibly could.


Therefore, I hope you’re join me in giving to the Obama campaign this Thursday (September 25th) in one or both of the following ways:


1)     I am one of the hosts of a fundraiser on Thursday evening that  features Jon Schnur, who will talk about Obama’s commitment to genuine education reform.  Former NBA star Kevin Johnson, who is running for mayor of Sacramento, will also be there.  Details are at the bottom of this page – it’s $1,000 minimum donation.  (There is also a similar event in Washington DC on Friday evening – email me if you want the details.)


2)     Democrats for Education Reform is organizing the first-ever “Education Minute for Obama”.  Please support this by making a donation of any amount on Thursday afternoon, September 25th, at 4:31pm EST (Susan and I will be giving our $33,100 at this time).


The idea here is twofold: first, to concentrate donations in support of a particular issue, reforming our public schools, and, second, to create a catalyst for people to give.  Here are the special web sites:


·        For donations to the Obama campaign:


·        If you max out to the Obama campaign, here’s the link for donations to the Democratic National Committee:


Our goal is for a large number of people to all give at the same time and thereby create some buzz and attention, both inside the campaign and more broadly (you can also give at these sites at any other time if Thursday afternoon isn’t convenient).


In case you’re interested, I've posted my thoughts about why I am so ardently supporting Obama this election and why my views have become even stronger recently at: 


Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and THANK YOU!


Best regards,




PS—Here are the invitations to the event in NYC on Thursday night and to participate in the “Education Minute for Obama” on Thursday afternoon at 4:31pm EST:



Invites You To Participate

In An

‘Education Minute’ For Obama 

When: Thursday, Sept. 25th

The exact minute: 4:31 p.m. EST

What: Give till it hurts for Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama while sending a message to the campaign that significant change is needed in K-12 education.

How: At 4:31 p.m. on Thursday, make as large an online contribution as you can muster to help Obama and to promote meaningful education reform in one swoop.

1. Go to the DFER fundraising page at the Obama campaign website and give up to $2,300 per person (your spouse can give too):

2. Then go to the DFER fundraising page at the Democratic National Committee webiste and give up to $28,500 per person:

Anyone who contributes $1,000 or more is welcome to join us for a special event on Thursday, Sept. 25th, featuring a briefing from Obama education advisor Jon Schnur and very special guest Kevin Johnson, former NBA star with the Phoenix Suns, Obama supporter, and candidate for Mayor of Sacramento.***  

Special Obama Education Briefing Event: Thursday, Sept. 25th

Location: The home of Brian and Elisa Zied, 188 E. 64th St., Apt. 3501, NYC 

When: 7 to 9 PM

Please RSVP at

*** The Obama education briefing event is for anyone who contributes at least $1,000 to either the presidential race or “Kevin Johnson for Mayor.”




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