Youth Today Q&A: Proposing an education overhaul that links kids to museums, libraries, parks, other community spaces of deep learning

In their recent white paper, “Too Essential to Fail,” co-authors Karen Pittman and Merita Irby argue their case for an education system overhaul centering curricula that expose students to an array of community resources, including museums, libraries, parks, youth clubs, sports leagues and so on. Professionals and community volunteers who occupy those spheres also impart real-world knowledge.

Youth Today: Just as dams create healthy rivers, balanced learning systems bolster schools

In speeches, I often draw comparisons between our country’s turn-of-the-century investments in public education and dam construction. Both systems were created to respond to industrialization and urban expansion. Both face challenges. The high costs of major repairs to the nation’s aging dams, combined with increased awareness of their environmental downsides, has public officials seeking and […]

Youth Today: Shifting from systems to ecosystems thinking: Why does it matter? 

At the most basic level, getting the people inside systems to actively acknowledge the impact other systems may have on their participants is a plus. I liken it to illustrator Saul Steinberg’s wonderful 1976 depiction of how New Yorkers view the world, with 9th Avenue in the foreground, the Hudson River in the middle ground and all else fading to the horizon behind The more complex the system you are navigating in, the less bandwidth you have available to acknowledge the complexity of adjacent systems, even if doing so might make your job efficient or effective

Youth Today: A Brilliant Solution to Empowering the Youth Workforce

Funders are finding innovative ways to respond to the triple inequities borne by the youth workforce: low pay, low benefits and low status. Last year, the Lilly Endowment made an unprecedented $90 million investment in Indiana’s youth programs, offering grants up to $1 million for programming, capacity building and capital projects.

Youth Today: Why does public education require public schools?

“Public education is the most important investment America makes in its future, a tangible expression of our values and aspirations for society. Schools profoundly influence how students understand themselves, the roles and responsibilities they are expected to fulfill, and the country they will collectively create. A vision for public education is an essential touchstone for aligning strategies and actions to purpose and mission.”