Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ending Poverty through Education

Speaking of Rhee, here's a great article she wrote:

I believe we can solve the problems of urban education in our lifetimes and actualize education's power to reverse generational poverty. But I am learning that it is a radical concept to even suggest this. Warren Buffett framed the problem for me once in a way that clarified how basic our most stubborn obstacles are. He said it would be easy to solve today's problems in urban education.

"Make private schools illegal," he said, "and assign every child to a public school by random lottery." Think about what this would mean. CEOs' children, diplomats' children, many would be going to schools in Anacostia and east of the river, where most of our schools are. I guarantee we would never see a faster moving of resources from one end of the city to the other. I also guarantee we would soon have a system of high-quality schools.

As the leader of a school system in a privileged country, I know we cannot have the same conversation about poverty in developing nations as we can about urban and rural poverty in the United States. But when we ask what it will take to ensure that no child anywhere has to "beat the odds" to have viable future choices, the answer is the same whether we are in Washington, DC or in a brave Haiti enduring disaster from a poverty-stricken stance. The obstacle is not one of knowledge but of social and political will, with education as the lynchpin.


Ending Poverty through Education

Washington, DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee just penned the following commentary, which originally appeared at Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. Rhee argues that education can be the solution to poverty, and that recent successes show - that if we're committed enough - we can create real opportunities for low-income kids. -- Michael Laracy

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