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Kalamazoo’s Promise Is Going Strong – Here’s To Building the Omaha Promise

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Why is it that here we are in the 21st century yet there is still a vast economic divide that continues to become wider, forcing millions of children to give up their dreams of aiming high for higher education?  There are so many countries that consider education (right up there with health care) as being the natural born right of their citizens. Why, then, does America continue to lag behind?

In one small town in the Midwest, a school superintendent moved to answer this question by doing something about it.  Dr. Janice Brown, former Superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public School system in Kalamazoo, Michigan spent years developing a model that would very well give back the promise of a future to all the children in her district.  As Katie Couric reports in the CBS Evening News, Dr. Brown spent five years developing the program and through a group of anonymous donors has been able to secure an educational scholarship for each and every child of the KPS.  There are some guidelines for the Kalamazoo Promise but they are achievable ones that are designed to illicit responsibility, accountability and strong academic performance as incentives.  With over 40 participating higher education institutions involved, students have much variety in education and lots of curriculum options.

Closer to home in Omaha, there are countless children that may or may not be able to make it past high school yet each deserves the right to an avenue for a strong future.  Why couldn’t we, as a community, come together and build the same promise for our youth?  In fact, if we partnered with some of the amazing institutions we have right here in our own hometown, such as the University of Nebraska Medical Center, imagine the possibilities that could open up?

As Dr. Brown mentions in her interview with Katie Couric, the whole system ingeniously supports the economy, which in turn supports the citizens, which end up coming right back to boost the economy even more.  That sounds like a win-win to me!

There is no reason that we couldn’t do the exact same thing – and even better – right here in Omaha.  The Omaha Promise could very well become a reality.  So I propose that we come together, pool our resources, tap into every single resource we have both individually and commercially – to make this dream a reality.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear some of your thoughts and suggestions as to how we can accomplish this.  We need to help each other.  Wouldn’t it be great to help create a legacy that will truly live on for generations yet to come?

1 comment :

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