Friday, May 06, 2011

Daley - 21 years later

I attended the NBC Education Nation event at Chicago's Field Museum last night. During the reception I was standing by the podium when Mayor Richard M. Daley came up to give his remarks. I shook his hand and said "Good to see you again."

I'm not sure he recognized me, but the photo at the left is from the first time I met Daley, back in 1990 when he visited the Cabrini Green Tutoring Program hosted at the Montgomery Ward Corporation. I had led that program since 1975 (see timeline). We had just converted it to a non profit. In the photo with us is Bernie Brennan, the CEO of Wards at that time, and a huge supporter of the tutoring/mentoring program.

I remember this night not just for Daley's visit, but because it was the night the US began bombing Iraq in the first Gulf War. We all commented about how significant that was.

I've met Daley often since then and have met with people on his staff. But I've never been able to really connect, to the point where he would be an and leader for the ideas we express through the Tutor/Mentor Connection. He was a speaker at the Tutor/Mentor Conference in May 1997.We're doing the next on May 19 and 20 in Matteson, Il. It's in the suburbs because there is a growing level of poverty in these areas and because we've never been able to raise the money needed to build these conferences in Chicago.

Yet, when he passionately said "There has to be a culture of learning" in America, he was preaching to the choir. However, while he might have intended this learning to be focused on getting job skills and a good education, I focus this on problem solving, innovation, and finding new ways to help kids living in poverty be starting jobs and 21st century careers by their mid 20s.

Maybe I can have more success with the new Mayor. I created this video to suggest ways he could lead the Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy as part of his own commitment to improve education outcomes for Chicago kids.

There were more than 1000 people at the Museum last night, but how many of them will ever connect with each other in collective actions aimed at helping kids in all poverty neighborhoods, as well as every other kid, remains to be seen.

I'm off to another meeting in a few moments, hosted by the Jane Addams Hull House Association, where the topic is building a collective effort to help overcome the education gaps in Chicago.

Same goal as Education America. I wonder how many of the same people will be attending.

Just do a Google search for "tutor mentor" and you can all converge on information we share.

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