Tom Mooney

Ohio Federation of Teachers leader Tom Mooney passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this weekend. He was young, 52, and truly in his prime. Mooney was arguably the most powerful education player in Ohio, and even more so in the wake of November’s election, and a force nationally. He was also someone who knew how to disagree without being disagreeable, was smart, fun, interesting, and provocative and he was tireless in his advocacy for his members. Agree or disagree with Tom on various issues, and I did both, this is a loss for his family, for his members, and for education.

Update: An ed beat reporter writes:

When I was covering charter schools, I’d get calls from some hyperactive press assistant of Tom Mooney’s asking if I wanted to talk with him about this or that issue. Actually, I didn’t particularly want to. He had too much to say, not enough of it relevant. But over time I realized that I did want to talk to him, frequently. I found out he was a keen observer of teachers’ unions, politics, and education. He had a vision grounded in experience, and it intertwined the interests of unions and school reform. His answers weren’t predictable from ideology. And he knew how to enjoy the back-and-forth of conversation, even with a reporter. It is painful to think I’ll not be able to draw on his understanding and commentary again. And I know that’s just a small part of what’s been lost.

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