Thursday, March 26, 2009

A call to reform: Don Cooney to urge reshaping of educational system in Micah Center lecture

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (March 26, 2009)--Don Cooney will examine the plight of the U.S. education system and propose how it might be reshaped to provide equal access and opportunity to America's children in a lecture at the Micah Center  at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7. Cooney, in the spirit of social theorists Jonathan Kozol and Alex Kotlowitz, plans to lift up the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) as a model of educational reform, one that urban communities might do well to replicate.

HCZ was touted as "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time" by New York Times Magazine; it has created a vibrant community which holistically addresses the many needs of children and their families in New York's Harlem neighborhood. President Barack Obama and other political leaders have called attention to its many good works in the name of justice.

Dr. Cooney teaches in the School of Social Work at Western Michigan University and serves as city commissioner of Kalamazoo. His resume includes over thirty years in the classroom and numerous roles in community organizing, both in the U.S. and abroad. As commissioner, he has supported the Living Wage Coalition in Kalamazoo and has worked to strengthen relationships between schools and the community.

The lecture, to be held at Hope Reformed Church (2010 Kalamazoo SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507), is free and open to the public.

Brian Paff, the Micah Center

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