||The DLC offered Clinton a platform in to promote charters in the media and with donors. However, the New Democrats needed a clear plan for implementing a charter policy. Therefore, to assist with policy development, the DLC founded the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI).
The PPI gathered experts from around the country to help shape the new Democratic message. The intellectual framework of charters reform laid behind the concept of innovation. However, at the time, Democrats didn’t want to be viewed as resistant to change. Clinton remarked on this issue and the prevailing wisdom of his party, as he stated the following:
The Democratic Party was good at doing more. We are not so good at doing things differently, and doing them better, particularly when we have to attack the established ideas and forces, which have been good to us and close to us. We are prone, I think, to programmatic solutions as against those which change structure, reassert basic values or make individual connections with children.87
Clinton’s use of the PPI shows a perfect example of his social acuity skills, by showing his ability to utilize policy networks. Mintrom and Norman found in their study, “that those actors most able to promote change in specific contexts have typically acquired relevant knowledge from elsewhere.”88Although many proponents and policymakers would grow to support charters, Clinton had gravitated to the idea before it was politically expedient or even familiar to the public. He fought against his own party and viewed by the public as a policy entrepreneur, Clinton had a keen ability to recognize public concerns (social acuity), and bring people together around issues (building teams), his experience in the education community, which allowed him to speak with authority (problem definition), and his willingness to stand against the status quo by making the charter school movement his own (leading by example).