Atlanta needs a new generation of leaders.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” — John F. Kennedy
It takes a village to raise a child. But effective leadership to preserve a village. The challenges we face are greater than ever, and a leadership deficit leaves our future in question. How might the Atlanta community more effectively engage with our schools and students to improve education and generate the next generation of leaders to sustain and advance the proverbial village.
69% of Americans think we have a leadership crisis in our country. 70% believe that our nation will decline without a new generation of leaders. Leadership has been a central foundation of society for thousands of years. While effective leadership has allowed our country and communities to prosper for generations, today, it is often noted that leadership, or the lack thereof, is the weak link in our government, businesses, organizations, schools and families.
Current student achievement and preparation gaps, exacerbated by changing demographics and an increase in low-income families, threaten U.S. productivity and competitiveness. By 2020, if current trends continue, the job qualifications gap in Georgia alone will be in the hundreds of thousands due to failure of our students to gain the education and skills they need to succeed in the modern economy.
The education challenges we face today far exceed the capacity of schools and educators to solve on their own. Nevertheless, there is hope. 81% of Americans believe that the problems we face today can be solved by effective leadership.
The three most cited ways that people learn to lead are from (1) experience (2) examples and (3) books and school. No matter how exceptional our teachers are at teaching our students leadership qualities, without real experience and relevant real world examples, our students will not learn to effectively innovate, solve problems, or set and achieve relevant goals.
Children rely on others’ opinions to create value judgments that ultimately define their actions and motivations. But as modernity has weakened community and family influence, students are increasingly looking to their peers for guidance. Getting back on the right path is essential, and collaboration among entire communities, schools, and most importantly, students, is more important than ever.
Key challenges and opportunity
- Addressing wide achievement gaps and dropout rates
- Increasing student motivation, and fostering a culture of achievement
- Creating new relationships with local businesses, nonprofits, and other community resources to enhance education.
- Engaging non-parental residents to get involved with our students and schools
- Equipping our students with the unique skills and talents required to flourish in the modern economy.
- Identifying and celebrating the next generation leaders.
- Empowering our students to lead today.
What’s at stake if there is no change
The possibility and opportunity
An empowered army of student leaders supported and celebrated by the community at large, and prepared to face and solve the challenges the future beholds.
Key players already working toward positive change
- Department of Education
- Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education
- Georgia Forward
- Great Promise Partnership
- Communities In School
- Junior Achievement
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Addo Institute
Call for action
Share your ideas on how to get our community more involved with education and supporting students in Metro Atlanta in order to help provide the infrastructure, knowledge, resources, and opportunities necessary to groom the next generation of leaders. Our future depends on it.1