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Continued: R.T. Rybak on the role of values in addressing achievement gaps

  • Article by: MITCH PEARLSTEIN
  • Last update: November 4, 2013 - 5:40 PM

Rybak: In building communities, it’s not an either/or between what the government does and what values we need to have in the community. You’ve heard me, and not just here but everywhere, talking passionately about the need for values. Yet we also have to recognize that there is a role for government to play.

We need huge wind in our sails right now. We need everybody in this room to say, thank God the city government is aggressively engaged in north Minneapolis, and what can I do to help? We are moving people into jobs, we are redeveloping areas, and we are sticking our finger in a dike on home foreclosures. We need aggressive help. There has never been a challenge like this or as aggressive a city response.

Government matters. Government mattered in south Minneapolis, and it was turned around. North Minneapolis is more complex. At the core will be those issues that we’ve touched on. It’s complicated to lead a social movement that changes longstanding value systems that have been destructive, and it falls more deeply on African-Americans than on anyone else, but I think it’s all of our responsibility.

• • •

I wish R.T. success in his new and vital assignment. And if, along the way, he comes to the conclusion that vouchers are one policy innovation that can, in fact, make a key difference in the lives of lots of kids and their families, consider my future congratulations and thanks doubled.

 

Mitch Pearlstein is founder and president of Center of the American Experiment.

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