On Saturday I joined more than 200 people who gathered in New York City to pay tribute to Richard Murphy – who died on Valentine’s Day, 23 years to the day after New York Mayor David Dinkins signed the agreement that launched the Beacon Schools, which Richard created.
Richard was the quiet fulcrum who leveraged a major change in thinking about the role of local government and public schools in creating hubs for youth development and community engagement.
Advocates for young people must often choose which issues and strategies to champion at which time, and find ourselves competing for resources and attention. Rarely do we have the opportunity to combine approaches that could fundamentally change how decision makers think about policy, practice and human potential.
That’s why what’s happening now is so notable.
Atlanta’s Ready by 21 Leadership Council is one of the strongest in the country. Leap of Reason is a powerful book about the importance (and difficulty) of building a performance management culture that is embraced by everyone from the rec room to the board room. In this blog, the leadership council meets the book. I hope the results inspire all of you who are working to make fundamental changes across systems to improve the odds for young people.
Karen Pittman, Co-Founder and CEO
The Forum for Youth Investment
We know that the quality of afterschool programs can have an impact on learning. We know that the quality is measureable. But is quality improvement malleable? That is, do we know how to improve and sustain the quality of "expanded learning" across the constellation of community programs? Is it marketable? That is, are the tasks and resources required to continuously improve quality within the reach of the average program manager? The average community?
After too many years of waiting for these answers, we have the first study that gives us not one, but two solid yeses.
We've all experienced compassion fatigue: that feeling of growing numb when we're bombarded with images and statistics about people in need. Research tells us that this is a common human phenomenon. Show people a photo of one girl who needs their help, and they respond with generosity and compassion. Show them the photo of one boy, they respond with equal intensity. Show them both photos and their emotional response drops significantly. Tell them about the plight of thousands of children, and that response plummets even more.