Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pennies for Peace/Schools for All

At the Principal's Center through Cardinal Stritch we heard Dr. Jerene Mortenson present the Pennies for Peace story well documented in the best seller, Three Cups of Tea. This must read for educators documents one man's journey for peace in some of the most politically challenging places in the world - Pakistan and Afghanistan.

During the question and answer session some great questions about moral imperative popped up. Questions focused on what influenced Greg Mortenson, how he did what he did and what is next but the last one caught my attention. The final question really struck me. The audience member wanted to understand the moral dilemma presented by the success of the Pennies for Peace movement compared to the challenges our own country faces with educating all students.

Through fundraising efforts in American and across the world, Greg Mortenson has built 143 schools for 68,000 kids with 42 of them in Afganistan and 6 in Pakistan. This effort contributed to the dramatic explosion of school accessibility in these two countries - in particular the growth from 800,000 kids in school to over 9 million today. This is an incredible accomplishment!

How does that success lay over our own American Education issues - over 1 million dropouts, high unemployment rates in urban settings, etc.?

What changes need to occur to bring the same urgency to our own challenges in the American Education System?

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