School Choice

With Humility and Hope, I’m Passing the Torch

Five years ago, I was invited to create a communications organization to foster dialogue around the need for improving public education, especially as it applied to low-income students. At the time, an increasingly toxic brand of education politics was straining the broad coalition that had introduced high standards, parent choice and accountability into our education system.

With the help of several allies in the field, we created Education Post as a place for open, honest, public dialogue about education featuring a cross-section of views and voices. We officially launched in September of 2014 with a promise to promote “better conversation” that could help drive educational outcomes. Since then we have published millions of words from thousands of people on dozens of platforms expressing a broad range of opinions on all kinds of topics directly and indirectly related to education.

More than any other media organization, Education Post elevates those with the most skin in the game—students, parents and teachers—who are too often unheard in elite education policy debates. Today, these passionate and principled voices from the field are considered alongside elected officials, school administrators, union leaders and other influencers. I am proud of their work and honored to call them my colleagues.

As with any organization, there comes a time for new leadership and I have decided to step down as executive director but continue to serve as a member of our board of directors. Replacing me is Chris Stewart, a.k.a. Citizen Stewart, one of our founding members and one of the most respected and admired voices in education advocacy today.

Chris is a product of New Orleans public schools and a parent of school-age children in his home state of Minnesota. Well before joining Education Post in 2014, Chris was making waves around the shortcomings of education in Minneapolis as a member of the local school board. Two years ago, he also launched a new foundation to empower women fighting for educational equity and social justice in their own communities.

With the enthusiastic support of our entire board, I am thrilled to welcome Chris back to Education Post as the new CEO and pass the torch to someone so fearless and devoted to public education. Chris will take Education Post to new and greater heights as our staff and national network of writers will continue to advocate for children, teachers and parents, challenge conventional thinking and drive the dialogue we need to get better.

With 50 million students cycling through our K-12 education system at any one time, real and lasting change is difficult. While I am humble about the impact that education reform is having, I know our work and the work of others in communities across America is contributing to the general increase in overall educational attainment in our country.

At the same time, I am clear-eyed about the continuing challenges ahead. Whether it’s persistent gaps in student achievement or attainment, endemic resistance to needed change or callous indifference to student outcomes, we still need to get better. Children have just one chance at an education and too many of them exit the system lacking the skills or knowledge to succeed in a rapidly changing world.

I am grateful to our funders for their support and to our partner organizations who are doing direct advocacy and policy work. I’m even more grateful to everyone who shares our belief that fostering educational equity is not merely a noble aspiration but a moral obligation.

While my role is changing, my commitment isn’t. I’m still in the conversation and I remain hopeful we will one day dismantle the barriers to educational success both inside and outside classrooms and give every child, regardless of race, income or background, the education they need and deserve.

Photo of Peter Cunningham.
Peter Cunningham
Peter Cunningham is the founder of Education Post and serves on its board. He served as Assistant Secretary for communications and outreach in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration’s first term. Prior to that he worked with Arne Duncan when he was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Peter is affiliated with Whiteboard ...

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