How to Walk to School: Blueprint for a Neighborhood School Renaissance, with a Foreword by Arne Duncan, and an Afterword by Rahm Emanuel, has a very simple message: Every kid, in every community, deserves a great neighborhood public school. I led eight moms in a Chicago diner to make our dreams come true.
Here's our story: When my girlfriend and I ventured inside Nettelhorst, our neighborhood's underutilized and struggling public elementary school, the new principal asked what it would take for us to enroll our children. Stunned by her candor, we returned the next day armed with an extensive wish list. The principal read our list and said "Well, let's get started, girls! It's going to be a busy year..." We were eight park moms who galvanized neighborhood parents and then organized an entire community to take a leap of faith, transforming a challenged urban school into one of Chicago's best, virtually overnight.
If eight park moms and one visionary principal could pull our little neighborhood school out of its twenty-five year nose-dive, surely others could do the same. If we could spark a national grassroots school reform movement that would pull us all out of the giant mess we're in, now wouldn't that be something?