In the midst of the current finger-pointing, vitriol, political might and gut-wrenching sadness surrounding Chicago's impending school closures, one might easily conclude that the fate of education is beyond our control. It is not.
We all know that our students need to do better at math and science to be competitive in the new world economy, and sure, we also want them to be crackerjack American innovators, but what are we really doing to motivate them?
When my group of park friends set about fixing Nettelhorst, our neighborhood's underutilized and underperforming local school, the infrastructure team had a clear mandate: conjure up some chemistry on a budget of nothing. And fast.
We were eight park moms who galvanized neighborhood parents and then organized an entire community to take a leap of faith, transforming a challenged urban school into one of Chicago's best, virtually overnight.