Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Small Voice in Universe of Ideas about Education & Poverty

I started the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC in 2011 to try to draw greater daily attention to non-school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, as a strategy for helping youth in poverty move safely and successfully through school and into adult lives, with jobs that enable them to raise their own kids without the challenges of living in high poverty areas.

Since 2005 I've written more than 1000 articles on this blog that focus on this issue. I've posted many others since 2008 on the Mappingforjustice blog.

I created this graphic a few years ago to illustrate how difficult it is to get attention in the universe of education, poverty, inequality, workforce development, etc. Most solutions focus on schools, and what happens in the school day. Too few focus on what we might do to help  youth come to school better prepared to learn and continue their learning and network development in non-school hours and summer months.

Even fewer focus on ways to generate resources and distribute them to all of the places where kids and families need more help.

Since 1994 I've used maps of Chicago to support this effort.  All of the conversations about how "great teachers" can change the life of a student don't include many discussions about how difficult it is to get great teachers in every classroom of every high poverty neighborhood as a youth moves from pre-school through high school and college.

That's why I focus on non-school programs. They can be started by any group of people, in any neighborhood,  who want to try new ideas for helping youth become life-long learners, and move through school --- even if the local school is not interested, or able, to provide great teachers and learning opportunities in every classroom. 

Furthermore, they offer an entry point for people who don't live in poverty, don't have kids in the school system, and who might never get involved in trying to build a better birth-to-work support system.

Several sections of the web library I've built since 1998 point to non-school organizations who are doing this type of innovation.  At the same time, other sections focus to innovations that are taking place in many public schools.   Other sections focus on collaboration, innovation, knowledge management, etc .

The challenge is drawing more people to this information, to learn from it, and apply ideas in their own schools or non-school programs. Another, is to encourage people in cities beyond Chicago to build, maintain, and share similar libraries.

A couple of weeks ago I found an article by Steve Whitla that helps me understand why it's so difficult to communicate complex ideas when there's not a large number of people who have a shared experience.  I posted it on Hypothes.is so I could highlight parts of it and add comments.  Today Steve posted another article on this topic. Read it here.

Just to imagine how small I feel in this universe of ideas, I encourage you to view this video.

A human being would be far to the left of Ceres, which is the first object in this video. When you view the entire video you can see that our speck of life is invisible.

Yet,  how we use this speck of life is important.

Every day I'm reaching into small parts of this universe with ideas and in an effort to learn from others and connect with those who also focus on building and sustaining non-school support systems in thousands of place around the planet we live on.

It really only takes a small group of dedicated people, with different talents, to make huge changes in the world.

Thank you to those who help me by reading, following, forwarding and re-tweeting. 

Remember, we don't need to find everyone. We just need to find a few.

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