Paul O'Neill, Stanley Kaplan, and USED staff

1. Paul O’Neill may be the best charter school attorney in the US, certainly the best east of the Mississippi, by virtue of handling a high volume of charter contracts for more than decade. Paul’s Charter School Law Deskbook is the definitive book on the subject. He teaches a course on charter schools at Columbia where the who’s who from the charter sector hold a conversation with students. He’s been very helpful to my efforts to start urban high schools in the Northeast.

Paul set up a non-profit, Tugboat Education Services, to bring cost effective legal services to the charter sector—one of the critical success factors to the next phase of growth now that Duncan is putting the pedal to the metal. Look for Tugboat to show up on my next list of high potential grant opportunities.

2. Stanley Kaplan died this week. The company he started in 1928 had 2008 revenue of $2.3 billion and accounts for two-thirds of the Washington Post revenue. Still predominantly a test prep providers, Kaplan also operates an online law school, university and high school

3. The USED talent search continues. Based on reliable sources, Jim Shelton will be adding another talented former foundation program officer to the team to help manage i3. Most early concerns about delays in building Duncan’s team has certainly been replaced by respect for a very talented senior staff.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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