At another MacArthur meeting, I realized yet again how these DigitalMedia and Learning Initiative meetings are never "just another meeting." There is a passion here, a commitment to a future of learning, that makes even a cynical type a bit optimistic.
For this gathering, we were on the Southside of Chicago, a very different Chicago than the glittery top photo but also incomparably more vibrant than the "blight" of the second (I'll try to upload some photos another time of the school), a spanking new art and school space, brimming with life. We were at the main headquarters for a public school program, operated in conjunction with the University of Chicago, that offered kids a "thinkering space" where they could do science, reading, math, video editing, recording, remixing, everything. There was such pride and excitement.
And politics. These were Obama Kids. Barak, as it turned out, gave their first ever graduation speech some years ago. Michelle Obama gave their second. Both told these kids to dream big. At one point, in a demo/recital they put on for parents and for us, they started chanting "Obama, Obama, Obama . . . " in a hip hop beat.
But my favorite moment was when one of these Obama Kids said to me, "I want to be the first WOMAN President." She was assuming Obama would be our first Black President and she wanted to make sure the "woman" part of this campaign wasn't forgotten. There was a small crowd of kids, boys and girls, around her and they started to cheer her and one said she probably would be the first woman president.
Or the second, or third, or fourth---if these smart, engaged kids have anything to say about our future.
And here's the url to see some photos of this remarkable Center for Urban Schools Improvement: http://www.hastac.org/node/1435