Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Goals Of The National League Of Cities 

Coming off the heels of the column by Marc Fisher about the relationship between cities and schools is the finding by the Washington Time's Deborah Simmons that the National League of Cities, of which D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams is now President, has left education out of its top priorities for the year. According to Ms. Simmons, the NLC's top five for '05 are: transportation, economic development, hometown security, tax reform and taxing authority.

Too bad. Especially since the same organization released a report last September specifically addressing the subject of Marc Fisher's piece. The title of the special report: "Stronger Schools, Stronger Cities." The contents are pertinent to those interested in making an positive impact in inner city schools. Ms. Simmons writes:

The report goes on to highlight how six cities met the school governance issue head-on by taking the lead in shoring up corporate, faith-based and grass-roots support, and moving toward a single goal: improving public education. Lansing, Mich., for example, cited student achievement, attendance, behavior and parental improvement as its targets, recognizing the obvious links. To address those issues, Lansing set up a system whereby volunteers notify parents of children who miss school. Persistent absenteeism results in truancy court, where parents and children "face a municipal judge and possible sanctions ranging from probation to incarceration," the NLC report said. Lansing and the five other cities also initiated literacy programs and other public-private partnerships.

We should all take note, especially the new NLC President.

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