January 29, 2009, 1:15 p.m.,
Oval Office, the White House
As he filed into the Oval Office behind the power players who were already household names in Washington—top presidential adviser David Axelrod, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—Jon Schnur thought that he had spent years waiting to have this meeting.* Until now he had been jilted. The Democrats he had worked for had always backed away from the education reforms he championed. And they hadn’t been elected.
Schnur, then forty-three, got interested in education when, as an editor of his high school...