Do you get discouraged or frustrated that real and effective reforms are too slow and not enough people care about improving schools in meaningful systemic ways. And, that too often, when reforms are actually undertaken, they often go off the rails, even though well intentioned.

Yes, sometimes I do get discouraged. But now, thanks to reading The New York Times Book Review about Steven Brill’s new book, Tailspin—The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall—and Those Fighting to Reverse It—I have a more optimistic view.

The review by Daniel W. Drezner closes with a discussion of Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). He writes that her words stay with him most. And with me.

“When [Ms. Krumholz] is asked whether she gets frustrated that not enough people care about [CRP’s] focus on dark money in politics, she said: ‘We need to be here building the record so that when the opportunity arises, when people of good faith on both sides of the aisle decide that enough is enough, we will have armed them…The system has careened off the tracks, and everyone knows it. But I’m impassioned, not discouraged.”

While Ms. Krumholz focuses on dark money, my colleagues and I are focused on public education. Yet, the challenges and spirit are the same—the system is broken; everyone knows it; apparently people have not yet had enough; and we need to keep on keeping on, providing a platform for discussion, collecting data, encouraging innovation and promoting solutions.

I don’t know Sheila Krumholz or anything about the work of CRP. But, I feel better already. I’ll print out a copy and put it on the wall near my desk. I hope you feel better, too, and continue to work for common-sense true reform!

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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