Big Audiences for Dr. Crew’s Views

Crossing the city in recent weeks to share his views, MEC President Rudy Crew spoke of ways to make schools work, including leveraging connections with corporations and the worlds of the arts and business to provide knowledge, talent and opportunity for schools and communities.

 Dr. Crew weighed in at an NAACP hearing on charter schools; moderated a panel discussion on both urban education and HBCUs for a National Action Network (NAN) convention; and held a conversation on education and leadership for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) leaders. He spoke before sizeable audiences in each venue.

He also spoke with L. Joy Williams, the president of the Brooklyn NAACP, about the role of public schools during an interview at MEC for the podcast series #sundaycivics.  The series strives to teach civic education.  Tune in here for President Crew's interview.  It begins at the 59:30 mark

Multiple education models are needed, Dr. Crew said in the podcast interview. Those models would allow more students to take advantage of opportunities to get into the workplace earlier, to learn about the arts as well as vocations, and to acquire the knowledge needed in a knowledge-based economy.

A big question emerged again and again in the various venues: “What are we doing to leverage each other’s interests against the tyranny of poverty?” as Dr. Crew put it before the NYCHA audience. Talents and resources need to be shared, Dr. Crew said, because poverty is implicated in many issues, from health to education to housing.

But schools and other institutions work in isolation at a time when the problems are so enormous, that “we need collaboration like never before," Dr. Crew said. “We never have been on each other’s dance cards so we do not know how to dance.”

When it comes to tackling challenging issues, “In many respects it’s a spiritual question,” he told the NYCHA audience. You are asking your colleagues to examine their assumptions and views (“meet themselves”), he said, and to climb a steep hill made even steeper by politics and financial interests.

The urgency of finding answers was evident during the NAACP hearing on quality education and charter schools in late April. The NAACP passed a moratorium on charter schools last fall. Many charter school opponents charge that charters drain people and resources from public schools and lack sufficient oversight or cultural competency.

Dr. Crew, a former chancellor of New York schools, is a not a charter school proponent but spoke about the need to improve public education.  Schools that work have “a culture of human caring,” Dr. Crew said, as well as a culture of high expectations, views that he also discussed during the panel at the NAN convention last month. The unrealized ideal is for a parent anywhere in the country to enroll their child in any public school system and happily stay for the duration, he said.