Excellence, No Excuses
As we are well into a decades-long shift from an industrial economy to a knowledge-based one, access to quality, game-changing education will become all the more important as an issue of both equity and competitiveness. And, when it comes to many of our inner-city communities, an issue of life or death.
I am somewhat distanced vocationally from days working directly with inner city kids in the youth entrepreneurship program I founded in 1997. But my heart still hopes for more no-excuses resources for this very precious population.
I am heartened to hear of more and more. Like Frederick Douglass Academy, whose remarkable principal Gregory Hodge I observed more than once greet each child by name as they arrived at school. Or KIPP, who expect rigor from their teachers, and replace them if they can't hang. Or Harlem Children's Zone, which has made an eye-popping difference in the lives of the kids it takes in.
Far too many kids in this country enter grade school age way in debt: financially, medically, socially, and relationally. It is too much to ask of school to save them, and yet sometimes it's the only chance left. May there may be more schools like Frederick Douglass Academy, KIPP, and Harlem Children's Zone that actually can be those game-changers in our kids' lives.