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October/November 2010: Krystal Ball & Frank CaprioIn Virginia, we have a golden opportunity to send a dyed-in-the-wool reformer to the Congress and, in Rhode Island, we can shore up some of the country's most important state-level reforms.There's a serious rift in federal government between old guard Dems and a handful of young, pragmatic electeds who see education reform as a fundamental civil rights issue - think Michael Bennet, Jared Polis, Tom Perriello. Every opportunity to build on that line is critical. Enter Krystal Ball. (Before you ask, her dad was a physicist who studied crystals - no joke.) Her opponent, the incumbent Republican, has been in politics since around when Krystal was born. She's a 27-year-old CPA, who started an education software company. Ask Krystal about education policy and you definitely won't hear the same platitudes you hear from every other congressional candidate. You'll hear about accountability and dramatically reforming failing schools. You'll hear tactical ideas (technology, alternative certification) for supporting excellent teaching. And you'll definitely hear about the value of a robust charter school sector. Not many federal electeds understand education reform like this. All that said, incumbency has its advantages: her opponent has raised $400K from PACs. Meanwhile, in Rhode Island, the governor's race has turned into a referendum on the Ocean State's rockstar education commissioner Deb Gist and her brilliant Race to the Top application, which won the state $75 million. The application put some stunning reforms in place: abolishing seniority-based teacher assignment, expanding the charter sector, and establishing an official policy that no student will have an ineffective teacher for two straight years. In the red corner: Lincoln Chafee - the former Republican, former Senator, but always charter school opponent - has been lukewarm (at best) in support of Gist. He's has been talking about trying to undo some of the reforms they put in place. I think his exact words were, "I'm kind of wary of Race to the Top." In the blue corner: Frank Caprio was the first statewide politician to support the RTTT application, he's gonna keep Gist in place, and he's been really effectively smacking Chafee for acting irresponsibly on ed reform. But Chafee's a multimillionaire, so Caprio really needs your help to pull this thing out. Since we're not doing this again until December and since these candidates need your money today, can you double up what you'd normally do?