Thursday, January 24, 2008

Complex problems require complex solutions

A featured story in today's Chicago Tribunec was about the planned firing of teachers and principals at 8 under performing schools in Chicago. Read it here.

I think that as long as big city school systems only focus on education and school-centered solutions they will never get the outcomes we all want.

I use computer mapping systems to develop poverty maps that show the relationship between poverty and poorly performing schools. I overlay this with information about churches, business, hospitals and universities in or near the high poverty areas, or to show expressways, like the Eisenhower, which link people who live in affluent suburbs with their jobs in the Loop. These people go past poverty neighborhoods every day as the come and go to work. Here's an example.

I also use the tutormentorconnection web site to host research articles written by experts in many parts of the country, so that anyone who reads an article in the Tribune or SunTimes, can dig deeper to understand the problem, and to understand how others are trying to find solutions.

My purpose in all of this is to increase the understanding and personal involvement of people who don't live in poverty, and don't live near low performing schools, but who are seriously impacted by the success or failure of our city to prepare young people for 21st century jobs and adult responsibilities.

This is intended to support the growth of a non-school learning, mentoring and tutoring network, that businesses use as part of their own workforce diversity and development strategies. At the links below you can read more about this strategy:

Collaboration Strategies

Role of Leaders

Find A Tutor/Mentor Program where you can volunteer time, talent and/or dollars

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