Friday, February 10, 2006


I've signed the contract and we have our first conference call meeting today, so it can be told. I'll be working 1/4 time for the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign. I say this so people know where I'm coming from. The opinions on this blog are mine. They are not necessarily the opinions of Ohio Fair Schools any more than they are the opinions of SCPD or the PTA or any other group that I belong to, volunteer for or sit on the Board of Directors of.

As a result, I'll be working around a couple of concerns on this blog. The first is 0ffending people who the Fair Schools Campaign seeks to lobby. That doesn't mean I won't be going after people -- witness the recent Blackwell post. But I'll pick my targets a little more carefully. Blackwell has pretty much written off public education, so if he's elected we're screwed no matter what I say in the blog. On the other hand, you've probably read my last anti-Cafaro post. She told me that if elected she wouldn't hold the blog against me if I approached her with a constituent concern and I'll hold her to that. But I'm not going to push my luck.

A second concern is blogging about education. No matter what I say about "this is me not my employer," I have to be careful not to publicly contradict positions of the Fair Schools Campaign publicly. Right now we agree on at least 99% of the platform, so it won't be too much of a problem, but there will be some third-rail topics I will conspicuously avoid.

One problem I hope not to have is readers accusing me of taking a position on the blog because of my employment. I've made my position on education issues well known here. I'm working for Fair Schools because I believe in the organization, not the other way around. Besides, if you know anything about public interest organizing, you know about my pay level. I'm not saying I can't be bought, but I don't come that cheap.

Having said all that, I refrained from held back on a couple of Fair Schools-pimping while the job decision was pending because it just seemed wrong somehow. Now that you know exactly what I'm doing and that I'm doing it out of conviction, it seems OK.

First, you can support the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign by buying a bumper sticker. The stickers are the winning designs in a statewide contest among public school students. You can choose between the winning elementary school design:

Or the winning high school design:

You can get them through the Fair Schools Campaign website or, if you are someone who sees me around, flag me down. I carry a supply around in my green laptop backpack. They are doing the "suggested donation" thing at $1, but I'm trying to get at least five. Everything I get goes to the Campaign. You can also go on the website and donate directly to the campaign. You will be supporting a great organization and, indirectly, a beloved blogger.

Second, Debbie Phillips, the Executive Director of the Campaign is someone who in the past I called "a valuable resource," "a colleague in school adovcacy," and "a friend." Now I call her "boss." As it happens, she is running for State Rep. in the 92nd District. In addition to a career in public interest advocacy, she currently serves as a member of Athens City Council. She's experienced, bright, progressive and passionate about education. She has a real chance at picking up a Democratic seat in the Legislature and would be a great Rep. When she gets her website up, I'll be posting it and adding it to my sidebar.

I would do it even if she wasn't signing my checks.


Jill said...

Scott - This is wonderful news for you, the organization and the chances for getting somewhere on school funding and other Ohio public school issues. I've browsed through the org's site, signed up for the biweekly newsletter and will spend some more time there.

I wish you the best of luck.

PS - You should listen to Marc Dann's MTB from yesterday when it's available. We talked about whether he'd pursue a lawsuit re: NCLB (yes) and issue an opinion about ID in the science curriculum (yes).

I didn't attend Subodh's MTB - he's a Dem so I'm guessing he'd answer similarly, but I'll be reading the MTB session soon.

Anonymous said...

good for you Pho. this will just add more conversation to that first time we can grab coffee.

after all, I understand the local picture, but you can illuminate the state for me.

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