Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vouchers don't make a difference. Maybe mentoring?

Here's a comment from Steve Chapman, a Chicago Tribune writer, titled Education Reforms Get Failing Grade

He's writing about research done by the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas who just published their latest assessment of the results.

Chapman wrote "What did they find? Something unexpected: Kids in the program do no better than everyone else."

He also wrote "But no one knows how to increase the supply of motivated families" when talking about how student motivation influences learning outcomes.

If 20 years ago just one city that invested millions in school reform money had also invested in a parallel tutor/mentor connection strategy, aimed at surrounding kids with a broader range of adults and non-school learning, maybe we'd have some other information to look at when talking about student aspirations and motivations.

It's not too late. Based on this commentary we'll be spending billions more in the next 20 years. Someone once said if you keep doing the same thing to solve the same problem why should you not expect the same results?

Invest in non-school learning, mentoring, jobs, vocational education, eLearning, and not just in schools and teachers. Us maps to make sure the investment of programs and services is reaching kids in all of the neighborhoods where schools are consistently under-performing. Get the business community and their workforce and jobs involved.

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