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[Susan notes: Even though the New York Times isn't interested, this is a very good and telling story about Tom Sobol.]

Submitted to New York Times but not published
09/07/2015

To the editor

Thank you for the tribute: Thomas Sobol, Educator and Academic Advocate, Dies at 83, Sept. 5, 2015.

Many can testify to Thomas Sobol's strength as a leader. I'd like to mention his ethics. Years ago, I read depositions in the then- famous Eliezer Williams, et al vs California class action lawsuit, Numerous experts received from $100 to $500 an hour--to testify in endless depositions and to write expert reports. Some raked in around $30,000 for their expertise. Dr. Sobol was one of four experts testifying for the students who donated their time and their expertise, without fee.



The State's lawyers gave Sobol a very hard time because his expert report did not cite other expert reports. Sobol acknowledged this, saying, "The report does not cite formal studies of those matters. I based my opinion on a lifetime of work in the schools in a variety of roles." The state's attorney dismissed this, presaging the current attitude that day-to-day work in the schools has no value--even if that work includes being a teacher, a superintendent, and a state commissioner of education. But Tom Sobol stood firm that this day-to-day work does matter.

Susan Ohanian


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