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People: NSVF's Schorr Joining Duncan Communications Team

image from www.eduwonk.comAccording to an unconfirmed but seemingly authentic email  passed along by a friend, longtime NewSchools Venture Fund external relations guru Jonathan (@jonathanschorr) Schorr is leaving California to join the Duncan communications team in Washington, "taking responsibility for the Department’s speechwriting and website, and working with an extraordinary team dedicated to communicating President Obama’s and Sec. Duncan’s education agenda and ideas to the country."

Schorr is, among other things, a TFA alum and the son of longtime NPR journalist Daniel Schorr.  The annual invitation-only NSVF Summit -- somewhat the creation of Schorr and the way many of us came to know about the organization and through which we have watched the evolution of the school reform movement -- is scheduled for the end of April in San Francisco.  Schorr isn't the first NSVF staffer to join the Obama administration, which includes Joanne Weiss and I'm guessing a few others. 

Related posts:  Offspring Of The Famous, Dynasties In The MakingPreview Of NewSchools Summit 2012.

Full text below

Here's the letter:

I had hoped to reach you on the phone about this yesterday, but because you are traveling, I figured I should tell you sooner in an e-mail rather than later live: after 26 years, I'm going to become a Washingtonian again.

 As you know, I’ve spent the last four-plus years working shoulder to shoulder with a remarkable group of colleagues at NewSchools Venture Fund, and the last (gulp) 22 years living in California. As you can imagine, it’d take a pretty cool invitation to dislodge me. That invitation has now arrived, in the form of a call from the Obama administration, inviting me to join the communications team at the Department of Education.

 The role involves taking responsibility for the Department’s speechwriting and website, and working with an extraordinary team dedicated to communicating President Obama’s and Sec. Duncan’s education agenda and ideas to the country. It represents an incredible match between the things I love doing, ideas I believe in passionately, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve in an administration uniquely dedicated to improving education, especially for America’s most vulnerable children. The experience of leaving my NewSchools colleagues whom I care about so much, and a home and life here in Oakland that I adore, has made this decision bittersweet. But I can't pass it up.

 I will leave NewSchools early in January, and to start full time at the department in mid-January. While there’s much to transition, I take a great deal of comfort in the strength of the folks who will be picking up this work. The extraordinary Rich Crandall will take primary responsibility for the NewSchools Summit and Community of Practice, a role he’s been growing into over the past year. Working closely with him to make Summit networking terrific is Eva Gonda Green, and Deborah Mintz will take the lead on Summit sponsorships. Clay Willis will keep NewSchools’ communications and social media humming, in partnership with Gloria Lee, our COO. Ben Riley, as always, has his hand firmly on the rudder of NewSchools’ policy and advocacy efforts.

[contact information]

 I couldn’t be more heartfelt when I say, please stay in touch.

 Wishing you the happiest of holidays,







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Good luck to Mr. Schorr. Let's hope he is more successful in Washington in providing the help to America's most vulnerable children than those they have been accustomed to getting help from, since too many are currently growing up to be like the many I saw at Locke: unemployed, in a pipeline to prison. Getting these high school dropouts into college, where they drop out, is an improvement, because 19-year-olds with nothing to do don't make as many foolish decisions as 16-year-olds in the same condition; but it isn't good enough. Our most vulnerable teens, those with mental disabilities, would be well served by an educational system that led to employment. To really make a difference, the Obama administration should be pivoting in that direction; but NSVF has an emphasis on sending students to college, and so the administration is in danger of remaining out of touch with our most vulnerable teens.

Good comments, Bruce. "Out of touch" is the operative phrase here, for both NSVF and the Duncan Education Department. "Without a clue" would be appropriate as well.

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