by David Safier
No, I'm not kidding.
According to an Education Week blog (subscription only), Lisa Graham Keegan will be Newt's education adviser.
Lisa Graham Keegan, who served as a top adviser on K-12 issues during Sen. John McCain's bid for the presidency in 2008, is set to join former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's campaign early next year.
It gets better -- or worse, depending on your sense of humor. Listen to why Keegan is "excited" to work for Newt.
Keegan told me in an interview last week she's excited about joining Gingrich. She said he gets the issue because "he's an educator" himself. (She was referring to his work as a history professor.)
Let's put the Keegan/Gingrich alliance into Arizona perspective.
- For all intents and purposes, Keegan is the number one, two or three education powerhouse in Arizona. The other two are John Huppenthal and Craig Barrett. I don't know enough insider baseball to say who is calling the shots.
- Keegan is working hand in glove with Barrett, who is head of Brewer's recently constituted Arizona Ready Education Council (AREC, pronounced A-Wreck), on putting charters and charter funding over district schools and their funding.
- When Keegan was in the AZ lege, she was the prime mover behind Arizona's original charter school laws, which she got passed -- with regulation kept to a "wild west" minimum -- by threatening to pass a voucher law instead.
- Keegan became Arizona's Ed Supe right after the charter laws were passed and made sure the charter school board was ill equipped to exercise oversight over the schools, believing "the invisible hand of the marketplace" was all that was needed to assure high quality charter schools.
- Keegan has been and continues to be a player in the national "school choice" movement.
And now, she's picked Newt out of the pack, or he picked her. Same difference. This is all vital information for anyone who is interested in the direction Arizona education is heading.