Jumpstarting Urban Education

Nigel Jacob, chair of New Urban Mechanics in Boston, discusses how the city is using data to enhance education.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 06:00 EST | 7
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11/23/2012 1:34:17 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Partnering with urban business leaders
I would add that business and private entities also add to this engagement. They need to act act as mentors and support these eneavors. It is an investment in every sense, and I believe it pays dividends community-wide.

11/22/2012 12:41:19 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Importance of Education
@wbalthrop, I agree. The true wealth of cities lies in its people and what they do to make the city grow and flourish. And education is a huge part of that.

Nigel, your initiative is commendable and we hope to hear more from you soon!

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/21/2012 6:03:08 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Importance of Education
Happy to report that we'll definitely be hearing more from Nigel, who has another video upcoming and will be blogging as well. I'd love to hear more about this, and the hurdles hit along the way that other cities can learn from. I spent some time with Manny Diaz, former mayor of Miami, this week (video to come), and he pointed out that the US is so obsessed with "creating jobs" yet has done all it can to defund education... meanwhile, you need a good education in order to get a job at all. The low priority that education has become is worrying. It's good to see groups like New Urban Mechanics bringing this to the forefront.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/21/2012 5:59:38 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Urban Education
That's a great question, Peter_Newton (and this is a really great video, Nigel, thank you!). When I was growing up, after school programs which were run by teachers and monitors were very popular. I imagine that with federal funding for education in the US being cut regularly those programs aren't flourishing in the same way they once were (though I can't say for certain). I think those are key in city school districts, though.

11/21/2012 5:43:35 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Importance of Education
Nigel, very good video. Education is the most important ingredient to building our future cities to any degree of success. It must become one of our highest priorities. I hope you will return to us with more updates on your progress.

11/21/2012 4:01:08 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Urban Education
I remember reading a Malcolm Gladwell piece about how education levels between children from affluent and deprived backgrounds track each other through the school year, but the affluent children accelerate away during the long vacations, giving them an additional advantage at the start of each academic year, pointing to the stimulation and opportunities that are available at homes where one parent may not have to be working full time and can spend time and money on educational activities for the children.

How can this be sourced in urban environments where both parents often need to work and children, ensuring that even the children of parents who are working very hard to provide for their families don't fall behind?

11/21/2012 2:37:22 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Teaching in the 21st Century
Nigel, I wish you good luck in achieving your goal of putting kids and parents first when it comes to education.  I don't envy the job teachers have.  They have to make education friendly, fun, and relevant, while competing with so many other distractions in children's lives today.  They are under a lot of pressure from their bosses to get students to perform better while working with a strained school budget.  And of course they have to deal with the parents of the children.

Parents should be partners in their children's education.  I too found the statistic you mentioned about parental engagement in their children's education interesting, (getting parents involved in their children's education is like getting an extra $1000 investment in each child's education per year).  You don't necessarily need all sorts of fancy web sites that do things like check where their children's bus is currently located.  It can start with something as simple as reading with the kids or checking their homework.  Additionally, many areas have government and corporate partners that mentor kids several hours a week on the company dime.  I think programs like that are extremely worthwhile.  They should be publicized and expanded much more than they are currently.

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