Tuesday, March 17, 2009

President Obama's Agenda for Education

What do these pictures have in common?

One shows President Obama in 1999 when he attended the Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference in Chicago. The other shows the front page of the October 1992 Chicago SunTimes, following the shooting death of Dantrel Davis in Cabrini Green.


Why are there on my blog today? Because I'm disappointed that the Obama agenda does not seem to offer any new strategies for helping kids living in poverty avoid the dangers and negative influences that are common in poverty, but not common in more affluent areas. It does not reflect a commitment to increase the number of volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, and thus the number of non-poverty adults personally connected with kids, families and schools in inner city neighborhoods.

I'm a regular visitor to discussions on Fireside Learning because the topics relate to the issues important to the Tutor/Mentor Connection. In today's discussion the focus is on President Obama's Initiatives. The leader of the discussion points to articles such as this EdWeek article.

I encourage you to join in these discussions. You'll see my own comments, and my disappointment that President Obama's initiatives do not seem to include any ideas on how a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program expands the network of workplace adults surrounding kids in poverty and helping them through school and into jobs. Here are some ideas he might borrow from.

You can read a few of the blog articles I've written for the past few years to find many more.

Without an understanding of how volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs expand the social capital in a poverty neighborhood, there is no way that we ever will change learning outcomes for very many inner city kids because we've not strategy to expand the range of people who are personally involved, and who give more than a random thought to long-term strategies that need to be in place in many locations if we're to reduce the violence.

1 comment:

Stuart Schopf said...

My hopes are high but right now my skepticism is interfering with my hopes. Local education budgets are being cut and explanations or inputs are absent. Something is going on when money is pouring out, budgets are being cut, and information is being withheld. I am struggling with confidence and am concerned with the direction we are taking. Does anybody have some light to shed on this for me so I can better understand how current increase in class size, teacher position cuts, and building losses fit in with a stimulus plan that is in effect. Are we looking simply at a laps and still paying for the mistakes of the last administration or is there something more to this?