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St. Louis Fed To Host Dialogue on Closing the Achievement Gap and Developing Community Leadership


St. Louis, Mo. — 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 policy experts will address the latest initiatives to close this gap during a policy dialogue at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on Aug. 26. The second in the Bank’s Community Affairs "Exploring Innovation" series, the discussion will be held from 7:30 a.m.-Noon at the Bank and videocast live to the Bank’s three regional offices in Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis. Facilitated conversations will follow the dialogue.

"Addressing the Achievement Gap and Fostering Community Leadership" will also explore the critical need for developing strong community leaders. The keynote speakers will include:

  • 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.

For more information, or to register, see the event registration page. 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.