Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Something Called Help

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Washington, D.C. Free morning lunch in the kindergarten of a Negro school

Photo: “Washington, D.C. Free morning lunch in the kindergarten of a Negro school” (Marjory Collins, 1942)

Please read this heartbreaking Judith Warner post about what we are doing for kids in crisis compared to what was done for them during the Great Depression:

The youth crisis of the 1930s terrified observers and led to a profound shift in American politics. “The Depression toppled the notion that children’s welfare could be left to individual families, private charities, and local and state governments,” Mintz writes. “It created a consensus that the federal government had a responsibility to promote children’s well-being.” Anxious about the emergence of a “lost generation” that could fall into the grip of fascism, the Roosevelt administration started the country’s first free-lunch programs, opened hundreds of free nursery schools, created the first federally-financed work-study programs for teenagers, funneled money to poor states to maintain teachers’ salaries, and created jobs for teenagers. Schools were built. Aid to Dependent Children came into being

What a difference an administration makes:

But if needy children were iconic — and change-inspiring — back then, they now appear to be all but forgotten.

The stimulus package of last spring contained a good deal of additional federal financing for child-care and Head Start programs. But that assistance was a one-shot deal. Ten states have cut back on their financing for pre-kindergarten education; at least nine have growing wait lists for child-care subsidies. Ohio and California have eliminated certain preschool programs altogether; other states are making it harder for families to qualify for state assistance.

Candidate Obama promised to double federal money for afterschool programs — instead that funding has remained flat, even as need has increased. According to a recent national survey carried out by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group, 26 percent of school-age children are left alone after school each day — an increase of 800,000 kids since 2004. And as many as 100,000 teachers have been laid off this year.

In Obama, children got a symbol of hope.  In FDR, something called help.

Social Entrepreneurship, Oh My!

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Got some Obama related Facebook spam from an old friend and was feeling anxious over an informal appeal I was about to make with my wife at Regional Center when I fired off a quick text expressing my disappointment with our president especially when it comes to education and his Secretary of Ed pick.  Then tonight I’m about to turn off the computer when Change.org sends me a newsletter with this:

Obama on Social Entrepreneurship

President Obama’s speech in Cairo, Egypt this week signaled a new U.S. approach to the Muslim world; an approach that like the rest of Obama’s young presidency seems to be characterized by pragmatism, common sense, and a deep-seeded belief that all people have something to contribute to a sustainable, thriving, peaceful global world. Social Entrepreneurship blogger Nathaniel Whittemore also thinks it’s pretty cool that Obama tied economic prosperity to support for social entrepreneurs in his speech. The growing excitement and passion for social entrepreneurship clearly extends beyond U.S. borders.

So that’s what’s happening here!  Social Entrepreneurship.  Well, now I know what to call it.  A little Googling led me to this definition from Ashoka:

Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.

Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps.

Social entrepreneurs often seem to be possessed by their ideas, committing their lives to changing the direction of their field. They are both visionaries and ultimate realists, concerned with the practical implementation of their vision above all else.

Each social entrepreneur presents ideas that are user-friendly, understandable, ethical, and engage widespread support in order to maximize the number of local people that will stand up, seize their idea, and implement with it. In other words, every leading social entrepreneur is a mass recruiter of local changemakers—a role model proving that citizens who channel their passion into action can do almost anything.

Over the past two decades, the citizen sector has discovered what the business sector learned long ago: There is nothing as powerful as a new idea in the hands of a first-class entrepreneur.

Okay.  Now social entrepreneurs: that would be like charter cowboy Steve Barr, right?  And the government they rather not leave societal needs to must be that thing made up of elected officials…

So what I’ve been whining about is like a movement?

How dumb I am!  It’s crystal clear. There’s change a coming and I better get out of its way.