Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obama Wish List -- Other Responses (LinkedIn)

I continue to get responses to my wish list. My own organization's wish list would be longer simply because we are looking at a much more comprehensive framework. If I went from a 10,000 ft. to a 50,000 ft. point-of-view, the list would be much longer. I'm not asking others to append it to theirs, it's just my own, purposely focused wishlist. Nevertheless I've been getting some fairly persistent notes from other advocates who have a project, process or pressing need and I'll bring those into my blog posts if the information isn't a comment on this site.
From Daniel Bassill on Linked InI wish he would use maps, like Generals do, to focus resources into the neighborhoods where poverty creates poor schools. These resources would expand the social capital surrounding kids, families in schools, and engage businesses, churches, hospitals, universities and others who share the same geography or who would benefit most from a better educated workforce and lower costs of poverty. See samples of such maps at

From V. Ryan Sarti ( on Linked InIf you read Thomas Friedman's "The World Is Flat" you begin to realize how important education and critical thinking really are. Just because there are no explosions on the news doesn't mean we don't have an educational crisis on our hands.
Daniel's comment about inspiring others is a real gem. Thank you for some great insights.
Strong families, even single parent families provide the foundation for strong students. Educational challenges in all neighborhoods are often family based.
Teachers like Corinne may do a great job in the classroom, but the classroom only lasts a few hours a day. The rest of the time, peers and parents are the key influencers. The President has to find a way to address that. Sometimes supporting parents and student to take responsibility can come from Community. But the Community has to be strong, focused on helping, and supporting education and results.
Cathy Miller made some solid points. Her comment about keeping the federal government out of education is a two edged sword. I am a fan of small government. State and local efforts are the key to success. But, when they fail, where can they turn? Unfortunately, it is the federal government.
Wish list: It isn't always about money. Our nation's worst school district (Washington DC) spends $17,000/year/student. That is the same amount as the New Trier District, which is one of the better districts in Illinois and in the country.
Wish: stop equating money and results. There is no correlation.
Where are the teachers unions in all this? Why don't we see more initiatives from them about education and results?
Wish: More innovation and results from teachers unions. Some educational leadership would be good.
Part of the reason we provide education is to help people be able to support themselves when they transition into the real world. I have seen the quality of applicants diminish over time.
Wish: greater collaboration between business and education to help students be better prepared when the graduate.
Wish: Rebuild the sense of community in America to support education and reduce crime. That also helps to raise property values, which is often the source of funding for education.

I won't comment on the notes, but will re-iterate that my recommendations/requests/wishlist are based on some very important principles that 1) we have arrived at over a long period of time; 2) are congruent with our way of looking at our communities, our attitude towards the children and families we are most concerned about, and 3) reflect a highly refined and very thin skin for even a dash, a whiff, or a soupcon of deficit judgment and of race/class/cultural bigotry. If you put the mix of metaphors in the blender, it's our 'valuing' stance.

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