Julia Stiles took her school-reform ideas directly to chancellor Joel Klein. During the Atlantic’s viewing party for President Obama’s speech, Stiles interrupted Klein’s response to the president’s proposals to talk about how city’s public schools had failed her. When she transferred to a private middle school, her science teacher instructed the class to take out their beakers, and she didn’t know what one was, she says. “Everyone laughed at me. I’d never had a science class!” Afterward, Stiles, mortified (“I have a lot to say and I was wildly inarticulate”), apologized and awkwardly asked for Klein’s e-mail. He took hers instead, saying “I’ll be in touch.” “I’d seen a couple of her movies, but I couldn’t remember her name,” Klein admitted, but he e-mailed her to follow up. “We’re now e-mail pals. She likes what we’re doing on charters.”
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