Edlin cites education historian Diane Ravitch, who theorizes that "Poor children… simply face too many problems outside the classroom. If you don’t buttress whatever happens in school with social and economic changes that give kids a better chance in life and put their families on a more stable footing, then schools alone are not going to solve the problems of poor student performance. There has to be a range of social and economic strategies to support and enhance whatever happens in school."
(Expand Map To See Greater Detail)
Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) promotes tutoring/mentoring programs as one such "creative buttress," and Mapping For Justice makes maps that help identify where T/MC mentoring strategies might need to be further explored by community leaders... to build new and better Tutor/Mentor Programs, and help "give kids a better chance in life and put their families on a more stable footing."
Coincidentally, I've been working on some new maps, using newly-released "failing school" data from 2009, poverty data from the last census, and the known locations of currently-operating Tutor/Mentor Programs in Chicagoland (data that the T/MC hosts and offers to the public for free on its website).
Look at the map above to explore patterns between poverty and elementary schools where students are not making "adequate yearly progress" according to government testing policy.
Where is the high poverty? Where, in relation, are clusters of poorly performing schools? How many (or few) programs are available in the neighborhoods where these conditions exist?
We can easily assume that the total number of students attending the number of public elementary schools in this map far exceeds the capacity of the mentoring programs known to be currently pairing volunteer mentors with elementary school aged students.
If you are open to the possibility that mentoring might be a valuable component to any comprehensive plan of action to increase student learning... and that mentoring can help ease the cost of poverty to tax payers... and that the future of our city's economic and social health need creative and fresh solutions to these problems... then it should be a no-brainer! Head to the Tutor/Mentor Exchange website and learn how you can get involved or donate to this cause.