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Update: How Rookie Mistakes Turn Mini-Crises Into Major Ones

Picture 14Over the summer, Stand For Children's Jonah Edelman got in hot water for revealing how he'd helped get reform legislation passed in Illinois -- and then made things worse with an unnecessary public apology that only confirmed that his critics were right and pushed the story out for another few days or weeks.  Earlier today, Chicago teacher union head Karen Lewis did much the same thing, calling a press conference to discuss her controversial remarks regarding Arne Duncan.  She'd already apologized, the media had already covered the incident, and the crisis was well on its way to being old news.  Now she's put herself in for another round of criticism (including at least some calls for her resignation). The reality is that public officials make verbal gaffes all the time.  Arne Duncan called Hurricane Katrina the best thing that ever happened to New Orleans. Rod Paige called the NEA a bunch of terrorists.  Mayor Emanuel swore at Lewis not too long ago (she apparently swore back.)  It's an understandable urge but still a rookie mistake to make an unnecessary apology, or to apologize repeatedly.  

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I think there's an enormous difference between a blurt that's a judgment lapse and Edelman's carefully laid out, coolly detached description of Stand for Children's tactics in Illinois. Duncan, Lewis and others blurted intemperately.

By contrast, Edelman revealed, in calmly stated detail, that his organization had become an entirely different creature than the one its longtime supporters believed it to be -- no longer a supporter of public schools, children and the best interests of communities, but now a gilt-edged member of the corporate privatization movement. That was all the more shocking because of his personal lineage, of course.

I think there's an enormous difference between a blurt that's a judgment lapse and Edelman's carefully laid out, coolly detached description of Stand for Children's tactics in Illinois. Duncan, Lewis and others blurted intemperately.

By contrast, Edelman revealed, in calmly stated detail, that his organization had become an entirely different creature than the one its longtime supporters believed it to be -- no longer a supporter of public schools, children and the best interests of communities, but now a gilt-edged member of the corporate privatization movement. That was all the more shocking because of his personal lineage, of course.

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