Nina Rees writes about Campbell Brown taking on the education establishment:
Campbell Brown, the journalist-turned-education-reformer, has been in the news a lot lately. Her Partnership for Educational Justice recently filed suit in New York, challenging the city’s teacher tenure laws. The organization is chaired by David Boies, who represented Al Gore in the contested presidential election of 2000 and recently argued against California’s ban on gay marriage. Brown and Boies have pledged to file several other suits around the country, focused on upending the status quo in education.
Opponents have already cried foul, questioning Brown’s credentials and the motives of her funders. But what Brown brings to the table is not only an ability to fight in the court of law but to win in the court of public opinion. That explains why her advocacy has attracted such vitriol by opponents – they see it as a real threat. For education reformers, the work is encouraging, since she has the potential to galvanize public support.
Here’s why Brown, the former CNN anchor, is so important:
1) Education reformers have tended to focus too much on trying to persuade lawmakers of the merits of our ideas and not enough on winning the hearts and minds of the voters. This approach to advocacy may work if the issue is not controversial, but it is not a sustainable strategy when the idea challenges the status quo and requires sustained change management. Brown’s plainspoken approach to one of the key problems in our education system helps get the public to focus on teacher tenure reform.
2) Brown’s fight for teacher tenure reform is not just designed to challenge the antiquated practice; it’s a tactic aimed at challenging education reform’s greatest foe: the teachers unions. She is not just interested in tenure reform – she’s fighting on behalf of parents who don’t have a voice or the means to select better schools.
Whole thing here.