|UEF WORKSHOP AT
November 7, 1998
The General Session
Prakash Nair, UEFs Vice President, followed with a visioning presentation titled, "The Urban Crisis and a Role for UEF". After discussing the compelling statistics showing disparities between urban and non-urban student achievement, Mr. Nair noted that urban school facilities are rarely designed keeping the end-goal of overall student development in mind. In most cases, the urban school is simply a response to an unhealthy environment and rarely is there an attempt for it to influence the environment.
Talking about the disconnect between educators and facility planners, Mr. Nair explained how educational innovations are rarely translated into physical form. From the understanding that ahealthy community is essential to a healthy school, Mr. Nair proposed a new paradigm of school as community. n his proposed model, the school building becomes a healthy "surrogate" community to balance the negative influences outside the school. By reaching out to parents, teachers, and community leaders, creating partnerships with educational and cultural institutions and building bridges with other, more fortunate school districts, impoverished schools can defy the odds and graduate not only better students, but better citizens.
Mr. Nair discussed how technology which has the power to widen the divide between the haves and the have-nots can, instead, be harnessed via the Internet, distance-learning programs, multi-media applications within the classroom, etc. to level the playing field for urban kids.
For a free copy of Prakash Nairs presentation, please email him firstname.lastname@example.org. Ed Kirkbride, UEF President, briefly discussed how to translate, "Breaking Ranks" the new educational model for High Schools - into bricks and mortar. Please see UEF article (html link to UEF pages with Kirkbride article) which provides more details about Breaking Ranks as it relates to school facility design.