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Upstream People: Can Nebraska Show a Separate, Unequal Nation a Better Way?

by Susan Eaton
Omaha, Nebraska

“I love telling people that 30 percent of Nebraska’s children under the age of five are Latino. I love saying that because people just don’t believe it and it makes them pay attention….People have their image and their stereotypes about Nebraska, that it’s cornfields and white people. But of course the data is right there. It tells the story about the fact that we are changing, that we really need to provide ways for all children to prepare for that diverse world, to be part of that world.” – Ted Stilwill, Learning Community CEO

In this Story from the Field, we look close up at Nebraska’s Learning Community, which aims to reduce inequality, expand educational opportunity and create more socioeconomic diversity in the Omaha region. The only such model of its kind, the Learning Community emerged after anguished debate about big, messy issues most public leaders even in our most progressive metropolitan areas tend to avoid—things like segregation, righting the wrongs of past discrimination, social cohesion and fairness.

With photographs by Gina Chirichigno and mini documentaries by Mark Pagán

To read this story, click here.

Documents, Links and Related News

Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties
Wilson Focus School
The Empowerment Network
The Rhythm Boys of Omaha Central: High School Basketball at the 68 Racial Divide by Steve Marantz