Monday, October 26, 2009

Education Is On Everyone's Mind by Akindele Akinyemi

There are two critical forums that are coming up in the next 10 days that people should pay attention to.

The first forum is a Detroit Public School Debate with the candidates running for the Detroit School Board. This will be sponsored by the Emerging Leaders Think Tank and the Detroit Parent Network.

For those of you who have never heard of the Emerging Leaders Think Tank it is a non-partisan organization comprised of leaders representing various sectors of the community, including education, politics, religious and business. The think tank do not endorse candidates, but endeavor to inform the community of pressing issues.

Recently, the think tank convened several educational leaders, under 40, to engage in a comprehensive urban education reform initiative, which includes school board candidate interviews, school board debate and developing a White Paper. Many of our members and advisers include teachers, parents, and educational advocates.

The purpose of this forum is to educate people about the DPS school board elections. There has been zero coverage about the school board elections. I find it interesting for the mainstream media to focus more on the Detroit City Council elections than the school board elections. Yes, we know that the DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb is running the show, however, we still need a long term strategy for the largest school district in Michigan. That debate is ongoing.

The Detroit Public School Board debate will be held Thursday, October 29, 2009 from on the campus of Wayne County Community College (Eastern Campus) at 5901 Conner (in the Cooper Community Room). Mix and Mingle begins at 5:00pm and the debate will begin at 6:00pm.

Moderators for this debate are Detroit Free Press Education Writer Chasity Pratt-Dawsey and Educational Community Advocate Sherry Gay-Dagnogo.

Another critical forum that all of us need to attend is the first Michigan preview screening of "The Providence Effect," the award-winning documentary about an amazing inner-city school in Chicago, IL. The community meeting will take place Monday, November 2, 2009 from 4:00pm - 5:30pm in the Oakland Room, Cobo Hall in Downtown Detroit followed by the movie screening that will be held at 7:30 pm in Room M2-29.

For 30 years, 100% of the seniors from Providence St. Mel have been accepted to college, and the school model was replicated as a highly successful public charter school in 2006.

Find out how the right environment and high expectations can help all kids achieve -- and join a conversation about how to implement these same strategies in Detroit.

Angela Williams Johnson, Principal, Providence Englewood Charter School will lead a community conversation with the following invited special guests:

Robert Bobb, DPS Emergency Financial Manager

Carol Goss, President, Skillman Foundation.

Dan Quisenberry, President of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies

Mike Tenbusch, United Way of Southeast Michigan

Rachele Downs, Leadership Detroit Education Support Committee.

Jessica Rauch, The Generation Project

Organizational Co-Sponsors include:

- United Way of Southeast Michigan
- Detroit Regional Chamber
- Leadership Detroit Educational Support Committee
- Detroit Parent Network
- 21st Century Schools Project

Education is the number one issue in Michigan right now. You cannot discuss fixing the economy unless you have a working knowledge of education. Please save the date for both events.

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