Friday, July 03, 2009

If our founders took this perspective, would we be celebrating our freedom tomorrow?

In the past week I've posted information about a report from the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and a rebuttal from the Editorial Board of the Chicago SunTimes.

I reviewed the Civic Committee report last night. In the concluding remarks the business committee report says "We cannot change the fact that some CPS students start school at a disadvantage. But we can change the fact that Chicago's schools do too little to overcome that disadvantage."

If a business leader went to his boss and said, "we can't expand our market share because a competitor is doing something better than we are" that boss would soon find a new leader to find a way to compete more effectively.

If the founders of this country had said "we can't challenge the rule of King George", where would be we today?

The business community is right. "Chicago should offer school families more and better choices." This includes more and better non-school learning opportunities in the neighborhoods, and more vocational learning and mentoring in the workplaces. Not just more charter schools.

The SunTimes is also right, "we need to think outside of the box". We need to make the learning, mentoring and achievement of all kids a responsibility of the business community, the faith community, and people who live in the suburbs surrounding Chicago who draw wealth from the city, and who have their own growing pockets of poverty and poorly performing schools.

Until our business and community leaders realize that they must do more to influence what happens in the non - school hours to prepare kids for school, and for work, we'll not only fail to make much of an impact on how well teachers are able to teach, but we'll also continue to loose competitive advantage with countries over seas who are doing a better job preparing kids for 21st century careers.

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