By John Thornhill
via Financial Times
Bill Strickland has spent 45 years doing what he says US state schools fail to do – getting disadvantaged kids excited about learning
As a “black kid growing up in a bad neighbourhood” in Pittsburgh in the 1960s, Bill Strickland understood all about the hopelessness of the ghetto. Running away from an angry cop or hitching a ride from a friend in a stolen car could wreck your life in an instant and forever.
But Strickland’s life was transformed for the better by a chance meeting with a worldly-wise arts teacher, who instilled in him an improbable passion for pottery and the self-discipline needed to win a place at the University of Pittsburgh. No matter how many times he has told his story, the tall, stooping, somewhat shy Strickland still grows misty-eyed when recalling that life-changing encounter some 50 years ago while attending the David B Oliver High School. . . .
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