Early childhood education and…Occupy Wall Street?

In today’s New York Times, Nick Kristof writes that if protesters really want to address inequality, they should forget Wall Streeters and push for broader access to early childhood education. As a presenter for the opening day of Leadership SouthCoast yesterday, I spent some time discussing the role of pre-k programming in addressing things like vocabulary acquisition, third grade literacy, and eventually, the dropout rate. Kristof cites a few interesting studies here and makes a great connection to a most timely subject matter.

Two new job opportunities

Good news for job seekers looking for public service jobs in the SouthCoast: just this week, both the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and The Trustees of Reservations have posted some exciting opportunities to address youth and environmental issues, respectively.

The WIB is searching for a new Youth Council Manager, the position held by now-South Coast Rail project manager Jean Fox. This is a full-time position that addresses youth workforce development in the region; applicants should hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and have experience working in youth services and writing grant proposals. It looks like their website isn’t updated with more information, but their Facebook page has more.

Another newly posted job is with the Southeast Region of The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR). They’re seeking a full-time community engagement manager who will be charged with broadening public awareness of and involvement in TTOR’s efforts across the South Coast, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod. Learn more by clicking here.

Fall River, New Bedford to partner with BCC to address dropout

Starting next calendar year, Fall River and New Bedford school districts will begin a program in partnership with Bristol Community College to address high school dropout through dual enrollment. The premise for both programs is that recent and likely dropouts will enroll and begin earning both high school and college credits, increasing the likelihood of earning both a high school diploma and a college degree. Such programs are already prevalent in urban school districts throughout the country and closer to home (for example, Springfield’s dropouts participate in a program at Holyoke Community College, while Massasoit Community College engages students from Brockton and Boston).

But does this approach work? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation thinks so, a 2008 study shows that 89 percent of early college graduates pursued higher education the following fall (compared to 66 percent of their peers across the country), and North Carolina’s programs are achieving unprecedented success.

Based on those findings, a well-implemented, sustainable early college program could give a boost to the graduation rates of these districts (an improving 66.2 percent in Fall River and a declining 53.5 percent in New Bedford). Here’s hoping for a rigorous, ongoing program evaluation that will ensure this program’s ability to have an impact that is so greatly needed.

Community revitalization efforts inspired by Peanuts!

How would a statue of Mr. Peanut, of the snack nut brand Planters (you know, the nut with a top hat and monocle), look in the SouthCoast?  New York and New Orleans both agree it’s a fair trade off for the Planters sponsored green space that was unveiled in their communities.  Learn more here!

Job Opportunity in Fall River

ILEAP (Immigration Law, Education & Advocacy Project) at Catholic Social Services of Fall River, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, has an immediate opening for a full-time naturalization caseworker.

To learn more check out the full posting on idealist.org

Education reform superstars face off

Part of NBC’s second annual Education Nation summit featured a debate between two darlings of the education reform movement. Geoffrey Canada and Diane Ravitch stand in opposite corners where charter schools are concerned. The former adopted them as a central element in his movement to improve cradle-to-college outcomes for Harlem youth, while the latter labeled the film Waiting for Superman (which heaps praise on Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone) “propagandistic” for going too far in its praise for the impact of charter schools.

Watch the full debate here.

Food stamps for fast food?

Not long after the federal government rejected Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ban the use of food stamps to buy soda (see full article). The NY Times is revisiting the debate from the other extreme.  What do you think?  Should the federal government expand the use of food stamps and loosen the restrictions on fast food restaurants?  See what others are saying here.

10/21: “Reimagining the City-University Connection” in Cambridge, MA

The Urban Initiative will spend Friday, October 21 in Cambridge, MA to learn about how universities are helping cities address violence, improve governance, and rethink urban education. Join us at this day-long event hosted by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and the City of Boston.  Register or learn more by clicking here.

A creative approach to real estate: Charities temporarily occupy vacant commercial property

UK-based charity that helps other charities and social organizations find temporary office space in store fronts that would otherwise be abandoned.  An innovative idea that builds capacity for organizations in need of work space and reinvigorates areas left abandoned by struggling businesses.

Check out the full article here!

Job Opportunity: Field Interviewers for NORC at the University of Chicago

The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago, whose mission is to conduct high quality social science research in the public interest, is hiring field interviewers in Fall River, MA; Norfolk, MA; Brockton, MA and Newport, RI.