Microsociety in Toledo

Birmingham Elementary is a Micro society school (http://www.microsociety.org/) – the kids, the first graders, asked me about being a poet as a job. Did I set out to make money at it? Was it always just a hobby? The kids were engaged and busy working on building their community.

In the shadow of the largest flour mill in the world (second hand info) which just happens to be in Toledo, in an aging Hungarian neighborhood sits Birmingham. Its old school – really old school, with the electrical wiring running on the outside of many of the walls. But the aging physical building is not to be confused with its revolutionary approach to education. The kids get paid in Birmingham bucks for participating in their business ventures. They hold elections and produce products in cross curricular activities. I’m not much of a fan of judging kids based on test scores, but its hard to not take notice when a school’s scores jump from 25% passing to over 80%. Zowie. Attendance is up, absenteeism and discipline problems way down. There is only one other microsociety school in OH.

So, I went to the website and guess what? The program was established by a poet!

Pretty exciting stuff coming out of Clinger’s old neighborhood. Dinner was chicken paprikash take out from Tony Packo’s. Yumm.

Leave a Reply