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Phone-In Fact Fest Offered on Obama

By David J. Hoff — September 08, 2008 1 min read
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Two of Barack Obama’s education advisers are taking a page from the community-organizing playbook to tout the Democratic presidential nominee’s 10-point education platform.

Jonathan H. Schnur and Michael Johnston are arranging a series of conference calls from Sept. 18 through Sept. 25 to highlight the proposals from the Illinois senator.

“It was something Jon Schnur and I and some other education people thought might be a good way to get people involved in the campaign and show the strength and depth of reform-minded educators who are supporting Obama’s campaign,” Mr. Johnston, the principal of Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts in Thornton, Colo., north of Denver, wrote in an e-mail.

“Conference calls are just good ol’ fashioned Obama-inspired, citizen-led community organizing,” added Mr. Johnston, who helped create New Leaders for New Schools with Mr. Schnur in 2000. The New York City-based nonprofit group works with districts and states to recruit and prepare new principals. Mr. Schnur is its chief executive officer.

Mr. Schnur and Mr. Johnston announced their plans online Sept. 3 in a post on Eduwonk, a well-read blog on education politics and policy. Andrew J. Rotherham, the blog’s author, gave editorial control of the blog to Obama advisers during the week of the Republican National Convention, as he did for advisers to the GOP standard-bearer, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, while Democrats convened the previous week.

The nightly conference calls will each address a different section of Sen. Obama’s proposals. Topics will include the senator’s $10 billion plan for early education and his proposals to experiment with new ways to determine teacher pay, the blog post says.

Mr. Schnur and Mr. Johnston are organizing the calls on their own, Mr. Johnston said.

More information can be obtained by e-mailing barackforeducation@gmail.com.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 10, 2008 edition of Education Week

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