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Our education writer, Emily Alpert, just did a fascinating Q&A with outgoing San Diego Unified Superintendent Carl Cohn that will run later this evening. Before that goes up, I wanted to post a particularly interesting and newsworthy tidbit that came out of the interview.

In the conversation, Alpert asked Cohn why he decided to leave the school mid-year. Here was his response:

2008. I’m fascinated with this as a political year, and a year of significant change in America. I really want to be free to endorse Barack Obama, help him win the California primary. If I want to go to Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire or Nevada, I can do that. … The 2008 election is unfolding and I really want to get out there and do my thing. I hope that doesn’t sound too selfish. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t really have to work. … I really want to get out there and support those candidates and issues that I think are big-time, generational sea change in America.

She then asked him if he saw Obama as part of that change.

Sure. Definitely. … This really is a candidate who clearly is not part of the polarization of the last 15 to 20 years, and is also very comfortable in his own skin. … He’s at a point now where he sees clearly the big challenges facing Americans, sees them as problems to be solved, and he’s not bound by the extreme polarization in the country. He’s a transformational leader. So getting with that, in my judgment, is the best hope for children. Some people would say, well, being a superintendent in school [gives you] a much more direct impact on children. But you know, I have done this for a while, and the prospects for children in the larger country that we call America don’t seem to be getting better. Leaving the superintendency and getting involved more directly in the political process seems like something I have the luxury to do — and I hope people don’t feel like I’m abandoning children.

The full Q&A should be published at about 6 p.m. Check back then for more.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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