Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Link between poverty, segregation and education performance

In my Twitter feed today was a post that pointed me to this article, titled: An analysis of achievement gaps in every school in America shows that poverty is the biggest hurdle.  The article draws upon data that is available in this Stanford Opportunity Explorer map.

Below I'm showing three map views that I created by zooming in on the map.

The blue shades show "students' scores, in grade levels, relative to the national average (grades 3-8, 2009-2016)". This is explained in the table in the lower right corner of the page.  Click on the "more info" link and a panel opens on the left side of the page with a set of questions and answers.

National View of Opportunity Explorer
Then I zoomed in to look at the Chicago area where I've focused on helping volunteer-based, non-school tutor/mentor programs grow since forming the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993.  At this level of detail  you can see individual schools, which are color coded to show how they perform vs the national average.

View of Chicago region - Central/South

Then I zoomed in more to focus on the central part of the city.  For reference, look at this map which we created more than 10 years ago, showing the Illinois 7th Congressional District. You can see how this district stretches from Chicago's lakefront to the far West suburbs and that there are areas of high poverty in the middle and South part of the district (note: this is 2000 census data). 

7th Illinois Congressional District
Now look at the third map that I created using the Opportunity Explorer.  I'm focusing on the same area as the 7th Congressional District. You can see the difference between more affluent areas (green) and greater poverty areas (blue).

This map covers much of the 7th Congressional District
Now look at the map below, showing the 7th Congressional District, which was created using the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which a team from India built for the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 2008 using money we'd received from an anonymous donor. (This team first introduced themselves to me in 2007 by rebuilding our Organizational History and Tracking System (OHATS) page - on a pro-bono basis!)

7th District view using Program Locator - click here

The Opportunity Explore is a great resource.  However, I wish it had overlays showing Congressional or State legislative districts, so voters could build an understanding of the segregation, poverty and school performance within their district and hold elected leaders accountable for generating the resources and mobilizing the leadership needed to improve the lives of those living in poverty.  

Unfortunately the Tutor/Mentor Connection was not able to attract new funding after 2008 due to the financial crisis, which also affected the volunteers from India who were helping us. In 2011 this led to the strategy being discontinued at the non profit I founded in 1993, which led me to form the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (also 2011) to try to keep this resource updated and available.  

It is available. It's not updated. However if you explore it's features, it's loaded.  For instance, in the upper right I've pointed to an "enlargement" button which expands the map to your full screen. That enables you to look closer at the information on the map, including the green stars, representing non-school tutor and/or mentor programs in the map area.  

Data platforms - click here
The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator is not the only resource people can use. It is one of the few that overlays non-school tutor/mentor programs and is intended to support leaders working to fill neighborhoods with a wide range of k-12 youth programs.

I point to a wide range of data platforms in this concept map. I'll add the Stanford Opportunity Explorer today.  These can be used to understand issues and create map-stories that share your understanding with other people, mobilizing the talent, dollars and votes needed to change conditions shown on the maps.  

View more stories on this blog showing uses of maps, and view stories on the Tutor/Mentor blog, also using maps. Imagine such stories appearing on thousands of web sites and blogs, created by students, volunteers, policy makers, elected leaders, etc.

I'm looking for partners at universities, businesses think tanks and/or other non-profits who will spend time learning what I've been trying to do and then invest and adopt, updating the Program Locator, and rebuilding strategies that I'm no longer able to lead as well as needed, due to lack of support.  

If I can get the attention and investment from just one of the growing number of billionaires in the world, this entire strategy could be relaunched, using their name and influence. Share this article, and perhaps you can help me reach these people. 

This link points to social media platforms where we can connect.

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