Neighborhood Think Tank

In the 2016 Winter-Spring semester, PORCH collaborated with Cleveland State University’s Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Foundations of Education, Dr. David Backer, to host a weekly Neighborhood Think Tank.

Neighborhood Think Tank was an experimental program involving student teachers from Cleveland State University taking a Social Foundations of Education course and folks from East 117th street. Every Wednesday afternoon CSU students came from all over the Cleveland area to participate in conversations about race, the city, and education with one another and youth from the neighborhood. The group shared ideas, experiences, and snacks with one another in PORCH’s living room/library, discussing segregation, inequality, racism, and other topics. One goal of the program was to create the conditions for dialogue and connection between would-be teachers and youth living in struggling areas in the actual neighborhood where such struggles take place.

As part of their final project for Social Foundations of Education, in addition to visiting the PORCH house, CSU students wrote short research papers describing a difficult educational reality in the neighborhood (crime, housing, violence, school funding) and proposed ways to address that reality. Some of their research papers can be viewed here.

For more information about the Think Tank program contact Dr. David Backer at


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