One Good Reason to Invest Time and Money in Closing the “Informal” Learning Gap.


Five Reasons Not to Love D.C.’s Olympic Bid………..

     “….The nonprofit behind the current effort is called DC 2024, and it has at least one prominent D.C.-area supporter: Washington Pigskins owner Dan Snyder, who said in a statement, “We look forward to assisting the Washington Olympic Committee in presenting the nation’s capital and fabulous surrounding region to the Olympic sporting world. We are fortunate to have most of the venues needed in an internationally recognized city that is accustomed to staging high-profile events….”


     What I have learned over the last 5 years: This is a classical DC (Disconnected Consciousness) unreality move. Is there any appreciation of the scope of responsibility connected with serving as a host site for an Olympics? Have these folks ever attended an Olympics? Is there any thought to the idea that the leadership role of the racially insensitive and boldly dismissive owner of Washington’s NFL team; makes this Olympic hosting bid, at the very least, controversially flawed? There seems, in this town, to be a “numbness”, a resigned acceptance to corrupt, inadequate and inappropriate leadership qualities. I suggest that this committee invest their time and money into a project that would have a real positive impact on the future of the city; and, it could actually be pulled off! Invest in creating a first (class) place “informal learning” educational system in a city that houses the highest national concentration of wonderful and exciting informal learning institutions (a small sample: So many children in this city live in the shadow of a giant-wonderful “informal” classroom; so close that their hungry minds are sadly pressed against the glass partition; they live daily in a separate and unequal sea of educational opportunity. Simply offering “Free Admission” to these venues, or a once a year “Zoo day” type of activity is not enough. There must be a comprehensive, official, organized and formal effort, independent of “parental push”; to get young Washingtonians of color and poverty into these “informal” learning centers on a consistent and long term basis. The need to invest in greater resources for the expansion of the outreach activities for the educational departments of these cultural institutions. And the committed idea that children of color really have a future place in this city; and represent a positive addition to the future development of this city. When I first began to organized educational trips for students at Phelps High School; I  found it hard to believe students who informed me that they lived in DC all of their lives, and had never taken advantage of the many museums and learning/cultural intuitions in the city.  It was not just a case of not visiting all of the Smithsonian’s buildings; in many cases they had not been to one! Sadly, I came to understand that indeed, these young people were telling the truth. I have learned that every city has a culture; in this case it is unfortunately, the terrible belief that the children of color in this city don’t deserve serious efforts that would lift and enrich their lives. If a committee, in partnership with the city government took on this small, important and very achievable project; that I believe, would be a first-class performance worthy of a gold medal! And the best news is that the massive Olympic infrastructure, and its associated cost, need not be built; as the venues are ready, and waiting for a very deserving young audience.