TRP's recent blogging on the state of our public educational system has been intriguing, uplifting, and depressing. At the end of the day, I don't have much to add to this discussion of education policy. But I think at this point in the proceedings it might be helpful to remind ourselves that there are many bright spots in the educational firmament. I offer these two from the Washington, D.C. area:
The Capitol Hill Computer Corner is the brainchild of "Chad Anthony and Sam Hampton, who transformed a former liquor store and open-air drug market ... where single-beer sales and late-night shootings have been replaced by young people teaching computer skills to old folks and kids alike."
The Rocket Corps of Richard Montgomery High School, "a dynamic collection of kids from every background who, thanks to corps creator Julie Good, have proven that students achieve more themselves when they help other kids with their studies. Each year, Good attracts kids who want to learn how to be teachers, trains them and puts them to work tutoring struggling middle school students. The result is inspiring at every level."
Both of these examples were provided by WaPo columnist Marc Fisher, whose great descriptions I borrowed for this post.
Until I read this column, I had not heard of these programs. And that suggests to me that there are probably other endeavors out there that are going unnoticed amidst the light and heat of policy debates. Both of these great programs reinforce a grand idea that I learned in graduate school from an otherwise insufferable professor:
"Within structure, there is freedom."
I believe that the status quo should be challenged at every opportunity, I also firmly believe that you can use the status quo to your advantage if you apply a bit of creativity and elbow grease. The results can be just as astounding.