Bold Ideas in Education with Harvard Graduate School of Education

A good education is the best – and least expensive – fix to most social ills. Schools that engage and succeed are in everyone’s best interest.Better_You_Harvard_Feature

No institution enjoys greater impact in education reform than Harvard. And no city has made greater progress in urban education reform than Chicago. So naturally, Harvard convened civic leaders, its alumni and others in Chicago for the first “Bold Ideas In Education” outreach of its Graduate School of Education capital campaign.

Harvard University in Chicago

(left to right): Honey Skinner, Lindsay Chase-Landsdale, Susan Noyes, Eileen Murphy and Terese Sommer

Chicago Board of Education Chairman David Vitale moderated the event at The Casino. Professors Monica Higgins, Tom Kane and Paul Reville presented compelling research and data. With thoughtful questions and comments, expert panelists and audience members continued the discussion of big ideas for improving schools. Everyone left feeling inspired and more connected to a hopeful future for all children and schools.

I was particularly proud to cohost this event that brought together thoughtful education philanthropists – like the leadership of the Chicago Public Education Fund, for which I was a founding board member 15 years ago.  It was a vivid reminder of the growing impact this type of philanthropy has on our city.

Every Child Deserves Arts in Schools : Lindblum Math & Science Academy “Be Creative Program”

Be Creative Campaign“If this available for some children, it needs to be available for all children!” Susie Kiphart, CoChair Be Creative: The Campaign For Creative Schools
Thanks to lion-hearted philanthropist and former Director of Christian Education Susie Kiphart for taking Make It Better to the Lindblum Math and Science Academy, to see its unique blend of arts education with core STEM subjects.  It works!  Lindblum is a vibrant school where students graduate with impressive scholarships – even though it’s located one of Chicago’s worst neighborhood. It’t an amazing program and you can see more about it here.
Suburban as well as other Chicago Public Schools can benefit from the Lindblum model too. Be Creative!  Please watch our Be Creative video to experience our visit.

 

Openlands Space to Grow in Chicago

A Virtuous Circle To Grow –  Art, Environment, School, Philanthropy, Government, Business

Space to Grow OpenlandsThanks to Co-Chair Suzette Bulley – mother, artist, environmentalist, philanthropist – I recently attended the inspiring Openlands Annual Luncheon honoring a similarly remarkable woman and artist – Terry Evans.

Suzette Bulley

The inspiration of these two women alone would have made for a great day; their humanity and love of nature shine through in all they do. But, fortunately, I also learned about a new Openlands program – Space To Grow, which transforms urban asphalt into school yard spaces for outdoor learning, play, gardening, physical education, art and community connection. View the videos by Board Chair Richard Calrson and another by honoree Terry Evans here. Take a look at some of her most extraordinary workChicago photos in Chicago and the glorious prairies of Illinois.

Openlands is a smart collaborator – facilitating support from the water district and input from surrounding communities – to launch the program with four Chicago schools.  It’s a smart fundraiser too, because it recognized the philanthropic heft of female artists and environmentalists – over 900 attended the event sponsored by ArcelorMittal, ComEd, ITW and more.

Space to Grow OpenlandsArts, environment, education, philanthropy, government, community engagement – a powerful virtuous circle indeed.  Please help grow this one and others that are similar.

For additional reasons to support such collaborations, please see these ten common sense reasons every school should have a non-asphalt schoolyard too:

Space to Grow Openlandshttp://greenschoolyardnetwork.org Also, please watch an overview video on Openlands.

 

A Better Chicago CEO Takes a Stand for Chicago Charter Schools

The Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (which is part of the University of Minnesota Law School) recently published a repoA Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicagort that assessed how Chicago’s charter schools are performing relative to comparable CPS schools (aka neighborhood public schools).  The report concluded that charter schools are no more effective (and perhaps less effective) than neighborhood schools on a number of performance metrics.  Additionally, the report recommended a three-year moratorium on opening new charter schools in Chicago, as well as a host of other actions that would make it harder to open additional charter schools in the future.A Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicago

After reading this report, Liam Krehbiel, Founder and CEO of A Better Chicago felt compelled to write an op-ed for two reasons.  Here’s what he had to say; “First, we at A Better Chicago want to share a different approach to thinking about charter school performance.  It is absolutely true to say that there are some underperforming charter schools. However, it is misleading to only think about charter school performance in the aggregate.  As you’ll see in the op-ed, many of our city’s veA Better Chicago supports charter schools in Chicagory best open enrollment public schools are charter schools.

He continues; “But, the bigger point is that we need to change the conversation.  Rather than focusing on charter schools versus neighborhood schools, we need to think about how to create more great schools (of all types) and how to fix or shut down more bad schools.  In other words, let’s end the ideology debate and instead focus on pursuing whatever practical solutions are available to us to give Chicago’s students the best chance of getting a great education.”

Finding and growing the best practices to insure a good education shouldn’t be a political issue.  Collaborative efforts to support and grow what works is the future.  Liam Krehbiel is spot on.

I’m very proud to be an advisory board member of A Better Chicago. Consider getting involved yourself.