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Jonah Edelman    

Advocate for Public Education, CEO of Stand for Children

Jonah Edelman is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stand for Children. Stand for Children’s nine state affiliates help children at the bottom of the economic ladder to rise up, through effective dropout prevention strategies, expanded career technical education, and improved college preparation and post-secondary guidance, increasing access to quality early childhood education, improving literacy instruction and interventions, increasing funding equity and adequacy, and improving school quality in communities with a concentration of chronically low performing schools.

Stand for Children achieves scaled impact in these areas through a variety of strategies, including: championing evidence-based policies and targeted investments; ensuring the policies and investments we champion actually reach the classroom and help children, and are sustained over time; empowering families to effectively support and advocate for their children’s education; and electing candidates to school boards, state legislature, and other key offices who will champion or support our priority solutions.

Edelman’s personal stand for children began during college, when he taught a six-year-old bilingual child to read. He then founded a mentorship program for middle school students and later served as an administrator of an enrichment program for children living in public housing.

Edelman is blessed to be continuing a long family line of service to the community. His grandparents, Arthur Jerome Wright and Maggie Leola Bowen Wright, led a vibrant congregational community, started their town's first home for the aged, and took in more than a dozen foster children. Edelman’s parents, Marian Wright Edelman and Peter Edelman, have stood up for civil rights, equal opportunity, and children's well-being their whole careers. Edelman was born and raised in Washington, D.C., graduated from Yale University in 1992, and attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, where in three years (1992-1995) he earned master's and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in politics. In 1996, Edelman organized Stand for Children's historic founding rally in Washington, D.C., which was attended by more than 300,000 people.

Speech Topics


Effective Advocacy for Children

In this workshop, leading national child advocate Jonah Edelman will provide a compelling overview of the basics of effective advocacy for children. The workshop will include powerful concepts and approaches that will help you build a stronger constituency for children, identify winnable issues to work on, develop practical solutions, communicate highly effectively about them, and, finally, how to develop effective strategies for winning decision makers' support for your solutions. Don't miss this chance to learn how to build your advocacy skills.

A Conversation about the Future of Public Education in the United States

Public schools are at a crossroads. Students need better preparation than ever to compete in the global economy. The federal government is imposing higher standards than ever before. In the context of declining financial resources, how can public schools possibly deliver the product that students urgently need and the public expects? Stand for Children Executive Director Jonah Edelman will share a provocative and practical perspective.

Education Reform & Innovation: Equipping Students to Succeed in the Global Economy

What Works: Identifying & Supporting Children’s Programs that Make the Greatest Impact

Making a Bigger Impact for Children: A New Model for Child Advocacy

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