Thursday, October 06, 2011

Economic inequality: The real cause of the urban school problem

Today in the Chicago Tribune is a commentary titled: Economic inequality: The real cause of the urban school problem This was written by economists from Harvard and the University of California at Berkley.

The authors write, "Our findings show that the root of the problems facing urban schools can be found in gradual but extremely powerful changes in the nation's economy — not the least of which is the increasingly unequal distribution of family incomes."

I've been using maps since 1993 to try to show this income inequality and the connection between high poverty concentrations and poorly performing schools. We include maps in many of the articles we've written on this blog and in the MappingforJustice blog. Our interactive Program Locator can be used to create your own map story for your own communications.

Every time I've hosted a leadership conference in Chicago (the next is November 4) I've put maps on easels to help others see the power of these as a tool to focus attention and resources to volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in all high poverty neighborhoods.

I've tried to get attention of leaders who've attended the conferences so they would incorporate maps and our strategy of volunteer-based tutor/mentor program growth into their own leadership.

Today there was another editorial in the Tribune, challenging the way TIFF money seemed to go to charities favored by the Mayor and his wife.

If the Mayor had incorporated T/MC maps into his efforts to help kids in poverty perhaps the aldermen, state legislators and others would do the same. Were that happening there would now be a much stronger distribution of high-quality tutor/mentor programs in all of the poverty areas of the city and suburbs and perhaps there would be a different future for some of the youth who have grown up in neighborhoods of high poverty and under-performing schools.

That's the past. We have a new Mayor and we have another presidential election. We have new research. Now can we interest some of the leaders and people who are concerned with poverty and its impact on the economy and quality of life for all of the people in the region to participate in the next Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference on Friday, Nov. 4 at the Metcalfe Federal Building?

Can someone step forward to become the Steve Jobs who bring vision and financing to the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to help build tutor/mentor program support infrastructure in Chicago and other cities?

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