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Nov 7, 2010

Urban Education

The past few weeks have held a lot of things:  classes, homework, a house managing position for Gordon's production of Into the Woods, and of course, work.  But it has also held a lot of learning and pursuit of jobs and programs in the field of urban education, which is likely the most pressing social justice issue in the country today.

Did you know that by the time they're in fourth grade, kids growing up in urban schools are already on average three grade levels behind their suburban peers?  Or that those who never graduate from high school will only earn an average of $17,000/year, and those who do graduate but never go to college will only earn, on average, $20,000, therefore never breaking the poverty cycle?  How about that African American students in urban schools are typically four years behind more affluent peers by grade twelve, so they finish high school with a middle school education?  Yeah, not okay.  

And the problem lies not in the work ethic of the kids, or the potential that they have to do well, but in the quality of education that is provided in urban contexts in our nation.  Its so rare that I think of social justice issues in the context of this country.  When the word is mentioned, I typically think of the need for clean water, human trafficking, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, or fair trade issues.  How could I be so ignorant to something in my own backyard?

But here's the cool thing:  there are programs and organizations out there that are committed to reversing these statistics.  These groups see the need for social change; they understand that we need to put well-prepared and committed teachers in our schools.  Teacher Residency programs are just one breed of these organizations that are making awesome change happen, and one in particular, the Memphis Teacher Residency, is doing it in a Christian context (how cool!).  Just check out their mission statement:  "The mission of the MTR is to positively impact student achievement in Memphis' urban schools by recruiting, training, and supporting outstanding teachers, all within a Christian context."  Now if that doesn't make you fall over, I'm not sure what will.  

"Our children in this country have one chance at education...We can’t wait seven or eight years.  We’ll lose a generation of kids. We have to get better now."  
-Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Ed


check out this video overview of MTR:
also, check out the MTR blog.

1 comment:

  1. Are you applying to be a part of this? You would be an awesome candidate!

    ReplyDelete

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