Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If you’re concerned about rising murder rate, read this

From my Facebook network I was pointed to a couple of articles on Crain's Chicago Business blogs.

Why should you be concerned with random violence
Click here.

Too many murders, not much clarity.
Click here.

While the media attention on the recent rise in the murder rate now has reached a point where many are writing opinion pieces that show we all need to be involved in finding solutions, this is not a new problem. I've been writing articles about violence and poverty since I started this blog in 2005.

I’ve kept a copy of the front page from the October 15, 1992 Chicago SunTimes in my office since the day 7 year old Dantrell Davis was killed as he walked to school. I re-post this in my blog at least once a year to remind me and others that the problem sill exist and the responsibility for all of us to be involved has not changed.

This is part of a library of news clippings, research articles, blogs, etc. that I’ve amassed over 35 years of leading a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program in Chicago.

Anyone in Chicago or the world can view this library.

One article in the Tutor/Mentor Connection library is points to a study by James Heckman, a Nobel-Prize winning economist at the University of Chicago and an expert on early childhood education. His research shows that many of the advantages children receive from preschool experiences begin to wane as they continue through school and that systematic interventions, such as additional tutoring and mentoring during their elementary and high school years, could sustain the early gains and build on them. Read more at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-11/uoc-eet111306.php

While we have occasional flurries of public indignation, we don’t have an on-going Public Awareness and learning strategy that keeps people focused on this issue on an on-going basis, with the same degree of connection that we have with sports, reality TV, and consumer advertising.

As this article from 1994 shows, I’ve been trying to point consistent attention to this issue for almost 20 years.

If we can draw more daily attention to the research then we can also point on a daily basis to all of the organizations who are offering tutoring, mentoring and extra learning opportunities in different parts of the city. I’ve been hosting a database of tutor/mentor programs on-line since 1998 and have piloted a map-directory that visitors can use to understand the distribution of programs in different parts of the city (or the lack of programs in many of the high poverty areas). (2021 update: the directory is now an archive only. View map and list of Chicago area volunteer-based tutor and/or mentor programs at this link.)

People who are now concerned about violence can begin to use this information to think of ways they can use their own time, talent, dollars, technology, jobs, etc. in different sections of the city in a long-term process of helping build systems of support that combat the negative influences of poverty, gangs, drugs, etc.

There are many more articles concerned readers might look at and discuss with friends, co-workers, congregations, etc. See the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library.

If you'd like to add me into your discussion please join my forum at TutorMentor Connection.ning.com, or on Linked in, Twitter or Facebook.

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