Thursday, March 06, 2008

Cleveburgh Globalization Project

Keeping the spotlight on Richard Longworth's book "Caught in the Middle," which I intend to continue at least until the Rust Belt Bloggers Summit in July, I want to further explore the subject of regional collaboration. Longworth laments the silos of economic development throughout the Midwest. The Balkanization of state politics impedes the Rust Belt's ability to compete nationally, let alone in a global marketplace. However, regionalization is making a few inroads such as Northeast Ohio (NEO) and Illinois Corridor 74. But the prospect of any substantive interstate cooperation is remote.

I propose a Yo Cleveburgh pilot, making good use of the Youngstown urban laboratory to develop a set of best practices for addressing the inherent instabilities of globalization. The goal is to develop the Cleveburgh Corridor into a world city on par with Chicago. One of the solutions that Longworth puts on the table is educational reform, though doing so is notoriously difficult. My hunch is that Youngstown would be more open to innovative approaches in education than just about any other Rust Belt city. If I'm right, then I see a considerable upside to Youngstown's economic woes.

Reading Erie discussions about a possible new community college reminds me of Longworth's celebration of flexible institutions of higher education as best suited to deal with rapid transformations of the global economy. The success of Finnish investments in human capital would seem to support this approach:

Finnish teachers pick books and customize lessons as they shape students to national standards. "In most countries, education feels like a car factory. In Finland, the teachers are the entrepreneurs," says Mr. Schleicher, of the Paris-based OECD, which began the international student test in 2000.

I can appreciate unleashing the creative talents of teachers. As a graduate student at the University of Colorado, I enjoyed considerable latitude in course design and instruction. I was able to test various ideas of how to best teach students about globalization. Now, I apply what I learned at a local community college. I would like to see something similar on the scale of Cleveburgh, but I figure Youngstown is a great place to start.

1 comment:

Tom Christoffel said...

A link to this post will be in the March 12, 2008 issue of Regional Community Development News. It will be on-line March 13 at Please visit, check the tools and consider a link. Tom