Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Education Gap between Rich and Poor

This video created by Unted We Learn, provides an emotional appeal to fix the education system in Illinois. This is the short version. A longer version link can be found on the web site.

Short UWL video from United We Learn on Vimeo.

Tutor/Mentor Connection uses maps, like this one, to focus attention on all of the high poverty areas of the Chicago region. We host an interactive map, where you can zoom into a zip code, and find contact information for non-school tutor/mentor programs that may be in that neighborhood.

The focus on school funding is needed, but let's not forget the community wealth that is so much greater in affluent communities than it is in inner city neighborhoods. You could double the dollars per student and still not come close to matching the influences that kids bring to school with them every day in New Trier and similar places.

That's why we focus on non-school tutor/mentor programs. It may take decades to make inner city schools as good as suburban schools. However, we can provide much of the mix of learning, enrichment and mentoring by college educated people, through non-school tutor/mentor programs.

Furthermore, in those non-school programs with technology embedded in their strategies, mentors can guide kids to learning far beyond what is available to them in their local schools. Mentors and tutors can help stretch the learning opportunities, and the aspirations, helping kids come to school ready to demand more from their teachers and classmates.

However, without a consistent flow of operating resources from the wealthy suburbs to inner city tutor/mentor programs, none will be as good as this vision, and many neighborhoods will not only have poor schools, but will have poor learning and support systems in the non school hours.

I hope movies like this, and Waiting for Superman, motivate more people who have been blessed by where they were born, to become personally involved in one, or many, non-school tutor/mentor programs, and begin to look for ways to help kids now, rather than wait for the school system to be fixed.

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