Monday, March 01, 2010

Obama wants $900 million to fight dropout epidemic

The Chicago SunTimes has a story today, showing how President Barack Obama seeks to "fight the nation's school dropout epidemic by providing $900 million to states and education districts that agree to drastically change or even shutter their worst performing schools."

Closing poorly performing schools is a popular solution, but it does not change the poverty that causes youth to come to school poorly prepared to learn. This map shows poorly performing school in Chicago. It's one of many maps you can find on the T/MC Map Gallery that show the impact of poverty on how inner city kids learn.

On the Interactive Program Locator you can build your own map, showing where poorly performing schools are located, along with concentrations of poverty.

Our maps are intended to draw more people from beyond poverty to the various volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs operating in the non-school hours. Such programs can expand the network of adults surrounding kids, and broaden student learning aspirations ....IF, those programs have the type of leadership and funding needed to connect youth and volunteers and keep them connected for multiple years.

I don't see this concept in the education reform ideas coming from Washington, or locally. Yet, unless we expand the network of people working to help poor kids to careers, I'm not sure that $900 million more invested in schools will have the impact everyone wants.

No comments: