Bill Strickland: A Man Who Changes the World with his Vision

Bill Strickland is a man who has a vision. He grew up in Pittsburgh in a rough part of the city. He learned about building things with clay in high school and hasn’t stopped building since.

He has spent his life building schools, facilities and lives for inner-city kids and parents. He believes that people will respond to respect. He creates an environment for kids filled with sunlight and flowers to reflect hope and human possibility.
He says that “it is often the way that you think about people that determines their behavior.”

It is difficult for me to explain Strickland’s story so it is best for you to just watch this 35-minute TED Talks presentation.

I used to teach drop-out recovery in East Los Angeles and this strikes a deeply-seated chord in my heart. What is your reaction?


What’s YOUR opinion?
Leave a comment and keep the discussion going.

0 thoughts on “Bill Strickland: A Man Who Changes the World with his Vision

  1. I saw this talk, and my only issue is this. He talks about moving his students up a number of grade levels, from illiterate to GED ready within the programs time (about 6 weeks?). This did NOT match what I knew about adult literacy learning from my stint as pres of a friends of the library group that did a lot of fund raising around the library system's adult literacy program. I remember looking up ERIC to see if there was some substantiation of this, and it what little I found should more modest gains. I think what he is doing is great, and I don't think it needs to work at light speed to be valuable. I just hate when people get an unrealistic idea of how much time, and work it takes to get an illiterate adult reading. He is truly doing some incredible work, I just don't see why he needs to fudge what's going on.

  2. Leigh, I just finished listening to Bill's book via the "Niebors" link at CF Public Library.

    I was struck by a number of things, but here are a few. Bill was greatly influenced by two H.S. teachers — the art teacher who taught him how to make clay pots and an English teacher who encouraged his reading of great books.

    He also showed tremendous loyalty to his neighborhood and its people. Due to that loyalty he was supported by money from wealthy individuals and organizations in and around Pittsburgh.

    The book is a great record of his personal efforts to bring practical education to a tough area of Pittsburgh. Because he lived among the frustration of these people, he understood why they dropped out of school, turned to drugs and alcohol etc.

    It's a great story of what what one man did to truly make a difference in his community. I encourage all to read or listen to his book.

    Thanks for sharing the TEDTALK. I've been watching these for several years as they are much better than TV!!

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