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December 29, 2012

The canvas

I was only able to appreciate the scale of the 'problem' when I was driving through the streets of Detroit, from Gross Pointe to the Hiedelberg street, and seeing the transition, and the farmland like open spaces right in the middle of the city amidst broken, burnt, nearly-empty neighborhoods.

I know this is not specific to early-education, but I am trying to think in terms or how my work should fit into the larger scheme of things.  I used to very strongly believe in the "program or be programmed" mantra, that to survive in the fast-changing modern world one must learn to be creative (I had a discussion about this with you in your room once too), but I now feel that I need to revisit that belief, that creativity alone might not solve the problem.

Early education is only the beginning of a thread, which must be continued through high school (or something similar), college and future careers and integration into society. For example, in Paraguay, a financially self-sufficient school teaches kids not only math, science or computers, but also (organic) farming techniques, because they live in a highly agricultural society. [1] [2]. While students are exposed to new ideas and tools (they learn computers and English) the school tries hard to keep it relevant.  I think I need to find the locus of that relevance for Detroit.  I also need to learn how I can navigate the complex web of organizations, interest groups functioning in the space.

I think the next course of action for me is:

* Do more on the ground research (spend more time in Detroit). I have been invited to observe and work with his group in a School in Detroit in early Jan (where kids are learning to become entrepreneurial and also teach kids in lower grades).  

* Identify and evaluate the problem I want to address.

* Brainstorm and explore the viability of ideas, which address the problem and can be scalable and sustainable.

[1] http://www.philasocialinnovations.org/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=122%3Ausing-income-generating-activities-to-educate-students-for-a-global-economy-through-100-market-driven-education-&catid=19%3Adisruptive-innovations&Itemid=30&limitstart=1

[2] http://anish-sl.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-experiences.html

Posted by anishmg at December 29, 2012 11:43 AM


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