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From: "Citiscope" <citiwire@citistates.com>
Subject: Neal Peirce on Regional Education Goals and Robert Lang on America's Megapolitans
Date: April 7th 2012

"Welcome to Citiwire.net! Can an entire community -- even entire metropolitan region -- set educational goals, confer closely on methods, involve a broad range of civic and business leaders as well as educators, and then have solid prospects to advance school performance, seriously and significantly, over continued years of effort? That's the belief of Nancy Zimpher, an impatient civic entrepreneur and chancellor of the SUNY system. With Zamphir's colleagues in the 'Strive' network, a full-blown effort is underway to mobilize the regional coalitions to make solid goals in student gains and graduation rates in regions across the U.S. … In the meantime, Citistates Associate Robert Lang and his PhD student associate Christina Nicholas probe the new geography of 'Megapolitan America' -- the title of a new book by Rob and Arthur Nelson. "   -- Neal Peirce

Neal Peirce

Communities Setting Audacious ‘Cradle to Career’ Education Goals

By Neal Peirce

From Metropolitans to Megapolitans

By Robert Lang

For Release Sunday, April 8, 2012
(c) 2012 Washington Post Writers Group

What can American communities really do to increase school achievement scores, to improve college graduation rates, and increase their prospects for a competitive niche in the 21st century global economy?

Educational theories and approaches abound. From teachers to administrators to foundations and corporate leaders, everyone claims to have a "right" approach. Choices range from early childhood to wellness programs, more computerized learning to certified teachers in all classrooms.

But one thing is too often missing -- teamwork -- the process of bringing all the skills of a city and region to bear on promoting what clear evidence shows truly succeeds, by objective measurements, to produce better academic results.

The good news is that the United States still has its inspired crusaders for change. One most certainly is Nancy L. Zimpher, former president of the University of Cincinnati, where in 2006 she co-founded "Strive" -- America's first network to push for in-depth regional education alliances, championing an exciting if highly challenging cause: "Every Child, Every Step of the Way, from Cradle to Career."

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For Release Saturday, April 7, 2012

In a space as large as France, the Netherlands and Belguim combined, America's megapolitans house more than 2.5 times as many people. In fact, they are more densely settled than Europe as a whole and, by some estimates, will house two-thirds of the U.S. population by 2040.

Yet, the United States is often referred to as the land of wide-open spaces with low population density. And, at times, the nostalgia for how America once was is used to influence and validate public policy. For instance, some policy experts firmly believe that the U.S. cannot support European-style passenger rail.

It is true the average population density in the U.S.—about 100 persons per square mile—is roughly half that of Western European countries. But the comparison is misguided. The U.S. has a significant amount of densely settled urban areas scattered throughout. While megapolitans occupy only 17 percent of the continuous 48 states' land base, America's megapolitan clusters, as a group, form the world's third most populous country, behind China and India.

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Our mission... to reflect a new narrative for 21st century cities and regions. Leaving behind the 20th century pattern of cheap energy, endless automobility, burgeoning suburbs, threatened inner cities. To a challenge-packed 21st century: energy prices headed north, perilous carbon emissions, deepening have-have not divisions. The weekly release includes Neal Peirce’s column for the Washington Post Writers Group, as well as a guest column by one of the seasoned urban professionals in the Citistates Group.

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