Tuesday, August 02, 2016

What if all Black kids were succeeding in school, and careers?

Social media, telephone cameras, instant videos, etc. have combined over the past few years to bring much greater, and horrifying attention to issues of race in America. In many articles, like this one titled,The Sugarcoated Language of White Fragility", from the Huffington Post, “white privilege,” “inclusion” and “unconscious bias” as part of a deeply rooted system of racist oppression", is the focus.

I want to share three images from my library that illustrate what I've been focusing on for the past 20-30 years.

This one focuses on the 12-20 years it takes to help a youth move through school and into a job and career. It emphasizes the work needed on the ground floor, and the sequence of supports that need to be sustained. In education terms, this means "pre school through post high school".

This one asks a question: What are all the things that need to happen for this type of system of support to be available to youth in every high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other cities?

Now here's the big question.  If this system were in place, and succeeding, and, let's say, in 2030, every Black child born in America in 2005 had finished high school, post HS education (college, vocational, etc.) and was starting a job with prospects of further growth in income and opportunities, what would the conversation about "race in America" look like then?

In many articles I've pointed to systems thinking, concept mapping, MOOCs, etc. to share ideas about building conversations and mapping complex problems and solutions. If you looked at the blueprint books for the building shown above, they would probably be several feet thick, showing many pages of detailed work.

In the concept map below I show a birth to work blueprint, but it needs much more detail at each age level.  As I talk to others, such as in the Connected Learning MOOC, #CLMOOC,  I'm trying to encourage some of them, and their students, to flesh out concept maps like this, with those needed details. And I'm encouraging them to share their map with leaders in their communities, so the strategies are adopted in many cities, not just Chicago.

I've not found a map like this serving as the blueprint a community was using to build and sustain needed supports in every poverty neighborhood, but if you know of one, please share it.

Such a map can only be created, and useful, if part of an on-going strategy, which I describe here.

Until then, my question is just a rhetorical question. We won't know what the conversation about race in America will look like under these circumstances, until we have built a system where all Black kids are moving successfully through school and into jobs.

Such a system would be helping all kids, not just Black kids....or kids living in poverty.  I hope.

However, if in 2030 and beyond all Black young people were in jobs, able to afford to live and raise their own kids where ever they want, with many in upper and top management positions in many sectors, what would the conversation about race look like?

If you're thinking about this, I encourage you to write up your thinking on a blog post, then share the web address in the comment section below.


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