Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama Should Just Be Himself

This Op Ed in the WSJ mentions the DFER event:

And the ideal issue for Mr. Obama to focus on in the speech and beyond, as Mayor Bloomberg can attest, is education. No challenge is more consequential for our country than closing the achievement gap in our urban schools and raising the competitiveness of our workforce. And no special interest has done more to stand in the way of change in our public schools than the teachers unions that dominate Democratic politics.

The unions' chokehold on the party (and by extension the futures of millions of black and Hispanic children) is starting to loosen. One sign of that was the impressive number of progressive leaders who showed up to support Mr. Obama's change agenda and embrace an aggressively pro-innovation set of principles at a forum sponsored by Democrats for Education Reform (full disclosure: the group is a client of mine) here in Denver on Sunday. That group included three of the country's most influential African-American mayors, all rising stars in the party -- Adrian Fenty in Washington, Cory Booker in Newark, and Michael Nutter in Philadelphia.

Imagine what the party's first African-American presidential nominee could do to liberate millions of low-income children of color, not to mention elevate his standing as a change agent, simply by declaring that the era of unequal education is over in America. Mr. Obama doesn't have to, nor should he, attack or even mention the unions. Just do what he has already done (but louder): challenge his own party to change its policies to put children first, and embrace innovative solutions like longer school days and years, high-quality charter schools, and performance pay for teachers.

That's not just change you can believe in. That's change you can bank votes on.


Obama Should Just Be Himself

August 27, 2008; Page A15


To listen to many of the antsy poll-following Democrats gathered here in Colorado, you might think you stumbled into a Dear Abby conference instead of a political convention. Just about everyone outside of the Obama true believers has a piece of advice for what the change candidate should change about his campaign to regain his mojo and avoid blowing what should be a sure thing.


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