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Little Rock Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis To Host Dialog on Addressing the Achievement Gap


Little Rock, Ark. — The ongoing educational achievement gap in the United States is estimated by McKinsey and Co. to have the same economic impact as a permanent national recession.

National and regional policy experts will examine the latest initiatives to close this gap during a policy dialogue on “Addressing the Achievement Gap and Fostering Community Leadership" to be held at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Memphis Branch on Aug. 26.  

The second in the St. Louis Fed’s Community Affairs “Exploring Innovation” series, the dialog will also explore the critical need for developing strong community leaders. The keynote panel discussion will be videocast live from St. Louis and will feature the following speakers:

  • Donna Ford, professor of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.;
  • Jean Horstman, the president and CEO of Interise, Boston, Mass.; and
  • Douglas Scarboro, executive director of the Office of Talent and Human Capital and education liaison for the city of Memphis, Tenn.

A facilitated discussion will follow the videocast. For more information, or to be placed on the waiting list for registraion, see the event registration page. In addition, the videoconference also can be broadcast to any group or organization (with videoconferencing capabilities) that registers to participate as a local discussion site.

"In addition to the impact on the individual and the community, the economic impact of the achievement gap on the competitiveness of the American workforce is tremendous," said Yvonne Sparks, senior manager with the St. Louis Fed's Community Affairs department. "Despite years of effort to improve academic achievement, the gap continues to grow throughout the country, including communities within the St. Louis Fed’s Eighth District. We hope the session will foster the sharing of ideas for closing the gap.

"At the same time, community leadership is in short supply at a time when there is a growing need for communities to be actively engaged and informed," Sparks added. "The dialogue will offer insights into what communities can do to build a strong network of educated and informed community members."

Now Available:  Exploring Innovation's Spring 2010 Proceedings

The first policy dialogue, "Restructuring and Retooling for the Future: A National Conversation," was held in April 2010, and featured Ray Boshara, vice president and senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, Washington, D.C.;  Gary Logan, president of Synago Consulting, Kansas City, Mo.; and Ruth McCambridge, of The Nonprofit Quarterly, Boston, Mass.  An online video of the conference is now available for viewing on the Exploring Innovation web site, in addition to executive summaries of the conference and other sessions that were held in St. Louis and in the Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis zones.