Last week, a standing room only crowd of 500 gathered at a cityLIVE! event called "Building Blocks for Urban Education," which sought answers to tow very important questions: Why doesn’t every child in urban America today have access to the best education possible? How can we bring about the transformation? Leading the discussion were Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Marian Heard, President and CEO of Oxen Hill Partners, and founder of the national organization MENTOR, and Mark Roosevelt, superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools.The Pittsburgh CEOs for Cities cluster, which has grown to 28 organizations, co-hosted this event. This group also helped kick off a Kidsburgh page on the e-zine Pop City in conjunction with the event. This will become a place where educational mentoring, volunteering and donating opportunities will be posted.
Each panelist made this critical point: although an excellent school system is ideal, it will never be enough. The community must engage itself in such a way as to wrap each child in all that they need, inside and outside the school system. This has been the key factor in the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone, where Mr. Canada has been recognized for this pioneering work in education reform.
500 people?! I get regular e-mail updates about cityLIVE! events. Their forums are a great civic asset and I recommend attending, getting involved.