OLLI at UVa Special Presentations – March 15 and 16

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OLLI’s spring semester is off to a great start and we are pleased that it includes three special presentations–all free and open to the public. The first two are described below. Why not take this opportunity to introduce a friend or neighbor to OLLI?

To reserve a seat for Brian Wheeler‘s special presentation, just e-mail us at olliuva@virginia.edu and provide your name and telephone number. (Note: No reservation is required for Mary Patillo‘s presentation.)

–We hope you can join us! -The OLLI Office at UVa

The Water Plan and the Western Bypass – Brian Wheeler – Friday, March 16, 1 – 2:30 p.m. – Meadows Presbyterian Church

The Water Plan and the Western Bypass are contentious current issues with complicated histories in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. With conflicting data and loud voices on both sides of these initiatives, it’s difficult to understand the causes and effects that have led to where we are today. This special presentation will provide background, data, and voices from both sides that you can use to develop informed opinions of your own. Brian Wheeler was hired as Charlottesville Tomorrow’s first executive director in 2005. He has lived in the area since 1984 and received a B.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia in 1990. Following employment at the W. Alton Jones Foundation, a private family foundation, Mr. Wheeler served from 1998 to mid-2005 as chief information officer at SNL Financial, a leading provider of data to Wall Street. He also represented the community as an elected member of the Albemarle County School Board from 2004 to 2010. Brian and his wife, Jean, have two children and live in Ivy, Virginia.

Is Public School “Choice” Good for the Black Community? – Mary Patillo – Thursday, March 15, 3:30 p.m. – University of Virginia, 403 ROUSS HALL

“Choice” has become the buzzword across the policy spectrum, especially in housing, schools, and health care. This talk questions the assumptions, ideology, and philosophy undergirding public school choice, using data from two projects. The first focuses on how black community leaders work with whites to bring “choice” schools to a gentrifying black neighborhood in Chicago. The second interviews black parents navigating the landscape of public school “choice.” Findings highlight the complicated role black community leaders play in both facilitating and hampering access to high-quality public education for low-income African Americans. Further findings suggest that socioeconomic differences influence not only who “chooses” but also what black parents hope to gain when they do choose. While there is no definitive answer as to whether public school choice is good or bad for the black community, this research presents important empirical data which contribute t0 better understanding of what is at stake in the educational policy of “choice.”