Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fresh eyes on public education

Until this summer,  I never associated urban education reform with Davidson College, a private liberal arts school on a tranquil suburban campus.  But the college's new education scholars program has placed summer interns in the thick of Charlotte's quest to turn around inner-city schools. 

Davidson education scholars at work

The eight undergraduates are working with key players, mentoring high school students and living uptown at Johnson C. Smith University's Mosaic Village.  Among the assignments:  Shadowing  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Deputy Superintendent Ann Clark,  helping the public-private Project LIFT analyze data and plan strategy, working with support and advocacy groups ranging from Teach For America to Communities in Schools,  and connecting directly with schools,  including CMS' Billingsville Elementary and Sugar Creek Charter School.  The students have a range of career plans,  but all see themselves making a difference in education.

The real-life experience is bound to teach them things they'd never learn in a college classroom,  even from the best of professors.  Their views are likely to energize the groups they work with and broaden the public discussion.  Part of their assignment is to blog about what they're thinking and learning.  They've already weighed in on digital education,  discussed the frustrations imposed by web filters designed to protect kids and discovered that red tape can bog down well-intentioned projects.  And one of them has demonstrated video blogging skill that leaves  me in the dust  (not that that's hard to do).

I got to meet the scholars early on,  talking to them about CMS and blogging during their orientation.  They struck me as smart, energetic people who ask good questions.  I'm eager to read more about their summer.  Maybe in a few years we'll all get to see some of them in action.


Anonymous said...

So, the rich kids are studying the poor kids?

Anonymous said...

Not all students who attend Davidson are rich. 45% of the most recent class received financial aid at an average of &37000 per student. While a portion of Davidson students are wealthy it is unfair and ignorant to claim that all Davidson students are rich.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

9:51...nah, the white kids are.

Anonymous said...

Well I hope to learn alot and make a postive impact. Us "old heads" won't be around forever.