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Lots of things swirling through my head this morning. I've been reading "Savage Inequalities" and I'm not sure I've read a book as heart-breaking as this book. I'm half-way finished and I keep telling everyone that Chapter 2 of the book is a must read. It lays out the state of education so clearly. The book was written 20 years ago, when I was in high school and education had not devolved to the level it is today. 20 years ago, a working poor mother actually had options to educate her children and thus ensure they would move from working poor to middle class. Not so much now...

I came across this article about a walk-out for West Philly High School students.

Here I came across this article about a walk-out by West Philly High School students.

About 30 students walked out of West Philadelphia High on Friday, protesting the planned restructuring of their school and they way discipline is handled there now.

Led by West junior D'Atwan Nelson, the group milled around briefly, with a few students shouting "No education, no life!" Inside, some students banged on windows facing Walnut Street, raising their fists to encourage those who walked out.

The action lasted just a few minutes, until school police officers walked outside to disperse the crowd.

Philly students are activist and years ago created their own student union. They have staged several walk-outs, are organizing and turn-out at many events that deal with education and poverty.

My mom and dad went to West Philly High and I pass the school often. The school was built almost a century ago in 1912. It takes up a whole city block. For years there has been a back and forth over what will happen to West Philly High. Different proposals, different groups, what's happened. Nothing much.

The most exciting news out of West Philly High is the Hybrid X Team.

 Here's a picture of the Hybrid X Team

This team of students have travelled around the world participating in a contest with major competitiors to build an efficient car. It certainly is a bright spot where none exists from this school. It almost would make me consider sending my son to this school to participate in this program, but one good program is not nearly enough to stifle the rest of his academic well-being.

The school is on its third principal this year. February. From all accounts it is a relatively mild school when compared to some other schools but it certainly is not a school on the top of anyone's list except maybe those with no choice. The school is is majority African American...I should say hypermajority African American. It is located less than two miles from the University of Pennsylvania. I'm wondering if Penn ever recruits students from this school since most of their professors live in the surrounding neighborhoods...I wonder...

2009 Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Statistics:

Students tested - Math : 77
Students tested - Verbal : 77
Students tested - Writing : 77

Average Math Score: 348.0
State average from 641 schools: 481.6

Average Verbal Score: 361.0
State average from 641 schools: 473.0

Average Writing Score: 348.0
State average from 641 schools: 460.4

 http://www.city-data.com/school/west-philadelphia-high-school-pa.html#ixzz1DqxHTKcd

Well if they aren't recruiting, maybe they have some type of joint partnership with the school. Maybe...

I was already incensed about the state of our educational system, but as I read "Savage Inequalities" and read about these students attempting to shape their destiny and read that these students are very capable when given the right tools...in America...this persists because we allow it to persist.

If you have not read "Savage Inequalities" and you care about our country (it really is key to increase productivity and innovation), I would recommend that you do.

I will leave with this quote from the book...

Almost anyone who visits in the schools of East St. Louis, even for a short time, comes away profoundly shaken. These are innocent children, after all. They have done nothing wrong. They have committed no crime. They are too young to have offended us in any way at all. One searches for some way to understand why a society as rich and, frequently, as generous as ours would leave these children in their penury and squalor for so long - and with so little public indignation. Is this just a strange mistake of history? Is it ununsual? Is it an American anomaly? Even if the destitution and the racial segregation and the toxic dangers of the air and soil cannot be immediately addressed, why is it that we can't at least pour vast amounts of money, ingenuity and talent into public education for these children?

Why not, at least, give children in this city something so spectacular, so wonderful and special in their public schools that hundreds of them, maybe thousands, might be able somehow to soar up above the hoplessness, the clouds of smoke and sense of degradation all around them?

Why, indeed?

Originally posted to princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 07:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Thank You (5+ / 0-)

      princess.

       What a great topic.

       These are innocent children, and it is shameless that what once was a good education system has fallen so far.

       The more awareness of this issue the better.

       People always see pretty pictures on TV. It is good to see children and schools through a different lens.

      ~a little change goes a long way~

      by missliberties on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 04:51:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, MissL... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RadioGirl, SouthernBelleNC49

        yes, they are innocent and I really would like for us to move away from this thinking that they are own their own.  Kids can't pick their parents and they should not suffer for the "sins" of the father or mother.  Unless and until we recognize this and embrace it on a fundamental level in this country, I feel our progress will stagnate.

        As sooth wrote, quote Kozol, we can't afford to spend 10X the amount of money to warehouse adults that we could have spent less to educate them.  

        I truly believe that no matter what a child's home environment is, they can learn.  Do some home environments present a bigger challenge.  Yes, but then again, that goes to my point about recognizing that one size does not fit all.

        If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

        by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:35:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Great Diary (5+ / 0-)

      Sorry I didn't catch it earlier. But, today was a non-DKOS day given it was taking 3 minutes to log in.

      •   Thanks, fcvaguy.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RadioGirl

        yeah I had my share of difficulties, too, lol!  Some of the problems admittedly was user error, lol.

        If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

        by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:36:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RadioGirl

      everyone...I really could not get back on DKOS yesterday...I saw there were comments and felt rude for not being to respond.  I'll try to respond today.  

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:32:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not too bad for posting... (9+ / 0-)

    still very slow....hmmm...

    If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

    by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 07:56:03 AM PST

  •  Mornin' princss. (6+ / 0-)

    It comes down to money, like everything else. It's about how the state funds education and the tax base of the district. At some schools in our district the PTA can't get any members at all. At the same time, I heard about a school in a rich district on the north side of town where the PTA had $100K in it's fund.
    Did you see  this at HuffPo ?
    The root problem is income inequality. We can't fix education without fixing that.

    •  Hey Azazello... (9+ / 0-)

      Have you read Savage Inequalities?  This book is so chilling...

      Thanks for the link...

      I know we will go back and forth but I don't think it is as simple as income inequality.  I do also think there is another compenent which is hypersegregation.  

      Let's take your thought out....so, AAs see tremendous progress over the next ten years such that race gap goes away...do you think that would change housing patterns?  

      I don't think so...your thoughts?

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 08:21:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Soooo sloooow, haaard toooo taaalk. (6+ / 0-)

        Yeah, I read it back when it first came out. Interesting question about the housing patterns. How do we pick where we live ? We picked our house 'cuz it was "affordable" so that puts us in an underfunded district. We didn't even think about who our neighbors would be. Turns out it's very diverse but probably 70% Hispanic. I want to say "a rising tide lifts all boats" but recently only the yachts have been raised so that slogan's no good anymore. Thing is, I think rising incomes might lead to more diverse neighborhoods. More and better paying jobs are the key to a whole lot of problems, education among them.  

        •  Trying this AGAIN!!! (6+ / 0-)

          Sorry, lost post went ...who knows!!!!

          Lifting all boats - well we know equal isn't always fair.

          I think the demographics of the neighborhood is defintely a factor for those who have a choice to live where they want.  Not everyone has a choice and that is not solely based on their income.  It could be based on a lot of factors.

          I hope this "takes" lol

          If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

          by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 08:55:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some choose housing based on (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            princss6, soothsayer99, Azazello

            similarities. AA's choosing culturally similar neighborhoods. The same for Italians, etc.

            While this may have lessened over the last few decades, it still comes in to play for some.

            As far as Philly schools are concerned, they have a recent history of violence. There was an incident last year were Asians students were attacked by a group of AAs. Lots of press.

            The high school I went to was very middle class, but now has a high rate of violence.

            Parents. Parents. Parents. Much behavior still comes down to parents and the culture these kids are surrounded by. Wish there was a magic wand.

            Progressives win when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

            by auapplemac on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 04:25:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think AAs (3+ / 0-)

              are far more likely to want to live in and seek out diverse neighborhoods than other groups.  However, their options are limited for a variety of reasons, including racial discrimination or racial apathy.  Sometimes it may appear that groups are, let's say, self-segregating when they are really in self-defense mode.  
              that could be another diary of its own and I will probably write about the catch-22 I find myself in.

              yes, i remember the South Philly high fights...while horrid, let's be accurate, the group the attacked the Asians were comprised of AAs and other Asians.  In fact one of the main instigators was an Asian girl.  None of this excuses what happened as it was horrible, but I would be remiss if I allowed the meme that it was all black kids attacking Asians.

              Parents are not the only issue.  There are great parents in every neighborhood.  To not believe this would be to ignore reality.  Yet, no matter how much a parent does, if they are stuck in a bad school, there effort is only going to go so far.  For instance, the kids that are not in magnet programs in the city that graduate with a diploma, many of them are barely reading on an 8th grade level.  Social promotion is a big thing in Philly.  So if a kid graduates from high school, you can't tell me that their parents weren't good parents.  but do you want to compare that kid who graduated from an inner city neighborhood public school to a suburban kid?  

              If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

              by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:43:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Soooo sloooow, haaard toooo taaalk. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        karmsy, soothsayer99

        Yeah, I read it back when it first came out. Interesting question about the housing patterns. How do we pick where we live ? We picked our house 'cuz it was "affordable" so that puts us in an underfunded district. We didn't even think about who our neighbors would be. Turns out it's very diverse but probably 70% Hispanic. I want to say "a rising tide lifts all boats" but recently only the yachts have been lifted so that slogan's no good anymore. Thing is, I think rising incomes might lead to more diverse neighborhoods. More and better paying jobs are the key to a whole lot of problems, education among them.  

    •  Hey Azazello... (3+ / 0-)

      Have you read Savage Inequalities?  This book is so chilling...

      Thanks for the link...

      I know we will go back and forth but I don't think it is as simple as income inequality.  I do also think there is another compenent which is hypersegregation.  

      Let's take your thought out....so, AAs see tremendous progress over the next ten years such that race gap goes away...do you think that would change housing patterns?  

      I don't think so...your thoughts?

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 08:23:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  did you go to public school princss? (8+ / 0-)

    I did from k-8, but was tracked into "MG" by like second grade.  plus this was west mt airy  and parents cared big time (another reason my mom lived where she did).  I was very lucky.

    mom had a VERY limited set of public high schools she would entertain me attending.  either Central, Carver (E&S), or CAPA.

    since I was interested in none of them she made me go to Roman.

    my kid's in private school, and not in Philly (he doesn't live here)

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 08:20:49 AM PST

    •  I did... (7+ / 0-)

      I want 4 through 12 in the public schools in Delco.  When we lived in Philly, from 1 - 3, I went to parochial school.

      So you went to Roman?  Gah, my neice goes to Hallahan and likes this kid that goes to Roman....it is all I hear.

      I've looked at Carver because I have a science geek, but I'm not so sure about it's curriculum.  Right now we are in a Friends school in Delco.  I live really close to Delco, so it is actually closer than most Philly schools.  Neighborhood school is a no-no.

      I've thought about moving up that way...mt. airy but I love SW in terms of the proximity to everything.

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 08:32:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  my family's from deep SW (4+ / 0-)

        paschallville (70th & greenway) for my mom's fam, eastwick (84th and lindbergh) for my dad's.  you can see his childhood home from the eastwick stop on the airport line matter of fact.

        so I love SW too.  but I'm basically a mt. airy dude through and through.  stenton ave was my stomping grounds.  I think my fave part of the city is the area around U City though actually.

        Sapphire went to King.  she enjoyed it, although I was literally SCARED to go there lol.  it had a rep in the 80s/90s.

        if my kid lived here I'd have him in a friends school, no doubt about it.

        and yeah, Roman's the ish lol.  I was that dude the hallahan girls crushed on LOLOL

        "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

        by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 08:40:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good Morning (11+ / 0-)

    Great diary but this place has me very confused at the moment.

    I will Not give up, I will Not give in, I will Not quit!

    by JupiterIslandGirl on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 08:22:18 AM PST

  •  I can't seem to rec your diary (6+ / 0-)

    Because I can't find the button to rec. But yes. Yes and yes.

    Somewhat along the same lines, I read an interesting review in NYT this morning,
    Hollywood's Whiteout.

    The movies, it appears, are replicating what seems to be happening elsewhere (where, I won't say):

    Can it be that the president’s status as the most visible and powerful African-American man in the world has inaugurated a new era of racial confusion — or perhaps a crisis in representation?
    Did filmmakers somehow exhaust the subject? Or has the cultural ground shifted and, with the economic crisis, made other kinds of stories feel more urgent? While it might be a stretch to yoke together the differently privileged milieus of “The King’s Speech,” “The Kids Are All Right” and “The Social Network,” it is hard to escape the impression that class made something of a comeback in 2010.

    Education, it seems, is also replicating this pattern.

  •  Thanks princess6- Savage Inequalities (6+ / 0-)

    is that rare book that can actually change minds.  I decided one day to give up arguing about education with a Republican friend and just buy him a copy of the book.  I promised I would quit arguing with him if he would promise to read the book.

    He read it and was truly moved (he's that rare sort of Republican who's actually a nice guy).  And the quote you ended with is very much the message he heard.

  •  thanks for this princss :) (6+ / 0-)

    nice to see you on a Sunday morning.  very saddening to read the state of affairs in the education system.

    i went to public school (except for college and graduate school) that were less than stellar and oftentimes downright hostile to both kids and teachers of color. i'm amazed i even made it out.  most of my cousins never finished, never went to college.  only reason myself and my siblings did was because of a very hard-ass mother!! LOL

    education was the key, she would drill into our brains.

    i was a very unique student -- i hardly ever went to class.  some teachers didn't even take attendance.  i would sit in the back of the class, so teachers would not even know i was missing -- and i had the kind of look that would never make adults think i was a delinquent (my mother knows the truth, however, LOL)

    i self-taught myself practically every subject.  by the time i got to college, it was a real struggle the first couple of years.  

    of course, now i have a tremendous amount of student loan debt, although i will say that i am fortunate to have a job, however imperfect it may be.

    anyway, don't know if this comment will get lost in a black hole, since it seems all i keep getting is error messages (An unknown error occurred when contacting the server.)

    very buggy programming, even for a first roll-out.

    It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences. - Audre Lorde

    by seeta08 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 09:01:51 AM PST

    •  Me too (6+ / 0-)

      I can't rec diaries or comments, and I can't join groups or even find them, which kind of completely blows the lid off my plans to--- from hereonin ---ignore 99% of Daily Kos.

      Oh well. Back to doing things I'm supposed to be doing, like grading and laundry.

    •  this was me: (5+ / 0-)
      i was a very unique student -- i hardly ever went to class.  some teachers didn't even take attendance.  i would sit in the back of the class, so teachers would not even know i was missing -- and i had the kind of look that would never make adults think i was a delinquent (my mother knows the truth, however, LOL)

      in the 6th grade I decided I'd had enough of school and stopped going.  my mom was out of the house from like 7AM to 6PM on a good day so I had nobody to MAKE SURE I went.  to throw her off the scent I spent my first day at home re-dating my homework from the previous semester lol.  

      I spent my mornings reading and watching stuff like "3-2-1 Contact" and my afternoon riding my bike and working on my jumpshot.

      I finally got caught when the truant officer showed up to my house one morning BEFORE school lol.

      and I did not get left back.  I'd already read the textbook and my knowledge base was already way beyond 6th grade anyway.  I probably could have been legitamately skipped a few more grades (I skipped kindergarten lol) but my mom didn't want me to avoid socialization with my age group or be a 'freak'.

      HS was more difficult to manage as far as truancy.  my HS had a pretty airtight system, it seemed...

      ...until I got a hold of a ream of absentee notes lol.  ah, the folly of youth.  I made some decent coin selling those as well lol.

      I was also good for falling asleep in class.  and yes, these behaviors followed me all through my academic career.  there's a funny story from college about a bio prof smalling a coke can down on my desk to wake me up lol.

      "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

      by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 09:37:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Okay... (4+ / 0-)

        I didn't want to post that, but French class was my nap time.  Actually, the teacher would rather have me sleep because I was sort of...not the worst...but relatively speaking kinda bad.

        If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

        by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 09:55:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  3-2-1 contact - OMG! (5+ / 0-)

        i loved that show!  sounds like we would've been good buddies had we known each other as kids, mally ;)

        i have to say LOL to getting caught by the truancy officer.  same thing happened to me and bunch of friends one day.  took us to the vice principal's office and threatened to call my parents.

        i begged for forgiveness, shed tears, and said i would never do it again -- they never ended up calling my parents (which was all i was really worried about; my mother would have taken me out LMAO).

        and, truth is, i never did do it again -- until high school.  LOL

        It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences. - Audre Lorde

        by seeta08 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:21:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for this comment, Seeta (4+ / 0-)

      Yeah, I was a bit of a truant as well, lol...on average I probably went to school about three times a week.  

      That is awesome that you are self-taught and look at you now!  We have differing levels of achievement in my family as well, so I know how that is.  It is really tough, I think in my family, many members had lived a relatively comfortable life with a high school education, so looking at the cost and not really knowing the importance of higher Ed has left many really, really struggling in this economy.  

      Don't even mention student loans but I hope you have contacted your lender regarding the income contigeny plan.  Basically, you do not have to pay more than 5% of your income.  I've got a heavy student loan burden, 2/3 from the capitalization of interest...yeah...insane!  It may help.

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 09:51:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks princss (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        conlakappa, princss6, soothsayer99

        yes, i'm on an income contingency plan.  consolidated all my loans.  went to a great seminar about it in my final yr of law school to get all the details. i think it is available online for free, but cannot for the life of me remember the name of it now.  

        it is not well-advertised by the government and many people do not know that this options exists.  i am thankful to a good friend who tipped me off about the program and this seminar.  it helped demystified a very cumbersome process.

        It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences. - Audre Lorde

        by seeta08 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:26:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  thanks princss (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        conlakappa, soothsayer99

        yes, i'm on an income contingency plan.  consolidated all my loans.  went to a great seminar about it in my final yr of law school to get all the details. i think it is available online for free, but cannot for the life of me remember the name of it now.  

        it is not well-advertised by the government and many people do not know that this options exists.  i am thankful to a good friend who tipped me off about the program and this seminar.  it helped demystified a very cumbersome process.

        It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences. - Audre Lorde

        by seeta08 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:29:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  College Cost Reduction and Access Act (4+ / 0-)

        ok, here's some info for folks who may not be in the know:

        http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/...

        It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences. - Audre Lorde

        by seeta08 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:38:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Awesome! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          conlakappa, seeta08, soothsayer99

          Thanks, seeta...we have to spread the word!  My payments went down by about $500 a month.  Of course, they student loan industry is not promoting this...it is so important.  

          If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

          by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 12:24:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  College Cost Reduction and Access Act (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        soothsayer99

        ok, here's some info for folks who may not be in the know:

        http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/...

        It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences. - Audre Lorde

        by seeta08 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:40:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I was the opposite of truant, never (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jabney, seeta08, princss6, soothsayer99

        skipping a class until my senior year.  I don't even think I skipped on Senior Skip Day [how suburban is that concept?]!  A few of us walked into our Spanish class one spring day and decided it was too lovely to sit in the classroom.  There were less than ten of us in the class, which we shared with some native speakers, who sat on the other side of the room.  Everyone had seen us so what a goof!

        mally, the husband skipped kindergarten and I skipped second grade.  The social effect might have hit us later in our educational lives.

        I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear--Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by conlakappa on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 01:45:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I couldn't imagine... (5+ / 0-)

          going to school everyday.  Yuck!  Despite all the school I missed, I was never behind.  Tells you a lot!

          If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

          by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 01:48:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Part of my educational life was in (5+ / 0-)

            Catholic schools.  First a co-ed parish school then an all-girls "country day."  The future-thugs [black, white, or brown, there were just some guys you knew already had probation officers!] were the only ones who skipped in the former and the smokers [cigarettes and pot] were the only ones who skipped the latter!  And I'm neurotically uptight about following rules.  Or at least the rules whose point I understood.

            I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear--Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by conlakappa on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 01:52:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pot was so middle school... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blindyone, seeta08, soothsayer99

              by my senior year we had some heavy coke users.  On our ski trip, one dude sliced his finger cutting up some white stuff, lol...he couldn't go to the hospital because they would test his blood, lol.  crazy, right.

              Note:  I've never used any substance.  

              If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

              by princss6 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 02:00:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I forgot to mention (5+ / 0-)

          that hookying thing I did in 6th grade lasted a month.

          I never once felt the effect of skipping kindergarten.  I'd had a great at-home and in-daycare education so I didn't miss it at all.  plus I was a TALL kid who hit puberty early so I never looked younger than my classmates.

          "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

          by mallyroyal on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 01:54:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good Morning, Everybody. (4+ / 0-)

    Yeah, the site has slowed down a lot from earlier this morning.  I'm being patient and figuring out stuff right now.

    I enjoyed the discussion and the diary.

    - so make sure when you say you're in it, but not of it... you're not helping to make this Earth a place sometimes called Hell - Stevie Wonder

    by blindyone on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 11:03:37 AM PST

  •  Heartbreaking diary. Thank you for (6+ / 0-)

    writing it. Savage, indeed. Unequal, indeed. And imho, also criminal.

    "Say little; do much." (Pirkei Avot: 1:15)

    by hester on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 01:22:29 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this diary princes (8+ / 0-)

    Three principals just this year... Wow :(

    My kids are in public school, but we are fortunate to live in a good district. I also attended public school from K straight through grad school :)

    Public schools can be very good. We need to make sure all our kids are having that high quality experience.

  •  Now that I have a little speed (5+ / 0-)

    I'll share my thoughts.

    When referencing education, I tend to get a little perturbed when people blame segregation/desegregation or money, or whatever. The problems are many and varied and segregation is only the tip of the iceberg.

    I went to segregated schools from nursery to Freshman year in college. Can't give you stats but I can say without  any bias whatsoever, I received an excellent education.

    But you're talking about a different time and era where education was stressed and a priority in most homes,  Black and White, rich and poor.

    An era where Black teachers went above and beyond the call of duty to prepare their students, not to be the best, but "better than the best." An era where the community really did raise a child, even the ones that were not their own.

    We can point fingers at race, at money at the government or at the system but if we don't attack this on all levels, from parent participation to qualified teachers, all the desegregation in the world will not change a thing.

    I will Not give up, I will Not give in, I will Not quit!

    by JupiterIslandGirl on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 02:58:53 PM PST

    •  I will say this though (4+ / 0-)

      back in my day there was one down side to going to all Black schools, it didn't prepare me to socialize in a mixed environment. As a result, I was way into my 20's before I became comfortable in situations that were not familiar to me.

      I will Not give up, I will Not give in, I will Not quit!

      by JupiterIslandGirl on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 03:03:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fair enough... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blindyone, JupiterIslandGirl

      I've no problem with schools staying racially segregated as long as that didn't mean unequal.  Segregation does not have to always mean unequal.  My first three years of school was at a school with nothing but AAs.  I think moved to the burbs to an integrated school and I was at least 2 years ahead of the 4th graders of ALL races in that suburban school.  

      I'm for whatever works!  Not married to integrated versus segregated.  

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:47:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful post princss6. (4+ / 0-)

    Savage inequality indeed.

    I was fortunate enough to have two highly educated parents who valued education.  Still, I was in public school when integration was still relatively new, and I really feel that I had to educate myself.  Rather than nurturing my ability, my teachers only noticed me after I'd applied myself.

    I really love your sig line.  Audre Lourde is an inspiration.

    It's nice to see you in the new digs girlfriend!

    •  Hey fou... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blindyone, RadioGirl

      I had the mom that valued education but was uninvolved and definitely not highly educated.  Some how I made my way, lol.  

      yeah, integrated schools, they can do a number on kids.  Many times, AAs may be in the school but they are marginalized and hyper-disciplined.  I tell you, some of the white kids in my school would do some real foul stuff, like mooning the class and it would be jokes.  Let a black kid do a tenth of that and it would be like aliens had invaded.  

      Definitely nice to see you, too fou!

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:50:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the review. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blindyone, princss6, soothsayer99

    Hello from Oakland, California--we reached a high of about 65 degrees today, and it's been nice and pleasant and sunny for weeks on end--heh.

    I can't speak about Philly. I have never been to Philly, except maybe for a few hours, on a layover, or something--and maybe one other time, to see the Liberty Bell. I have no authority to say anything about the place.

    But I know something about inner-city schools. We have them here in Oakland. The kids in poor neighborhoods go to the schools in nice old buildings where you think, "Wow. Period architecture, from a century ago. It's beautiful. If only the toilets worked," and "How's that charter school thing working out?"

    It's variable. The charter-school experiment is having a variable outcome, in terms of student education and achievement, depending on numerous factors, and depending particularly on the quality of the administration. Is this a place with good working conditions that attracts and retains good teachers? It's really up-and-down.

    A while ago,  you expressed interest in comparing charter schools (or private schools) to traditional public schools. I wish you'd continue with that comparison, speculate on reasons, and write a diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 05:23:12 PM PST

    •  Hey karmsy! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, blindyone

      Yes, I'm always writing diaries in my head, lol.  I'm always writing or rather thinking about education because that is where we are right now...sigh.

      I'll try to put my thoughts down more because the comparison of charters, traditional public school and private schools are like chyron across my mind.

      I tried to post a picture of West Philly High to illustrate the point  you raised about the lovely architecture belying the crumbling infrastructure inside!  Exactly!!

      I agree, everything is random that is why I advocate that we abolish the one-size-fits-all paradigm.  We have to meet kids where they are.

      What do you think about a two year intensive program in publich schools in neighborhoods that are word-starves focusing solely on language arts?  No math, just language arts, intensive.

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:55:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd say the success (0+ / 0-)

        of this program you've heard about, and others, all depends. To use another example, we have excellent bilingual education in some settings, and we have rotten bilingual education in others. It all depends on the mix of personalities involved in teaching and administration, their savvy about funding their venture, their skill with the subject matter, their skill at teaching, their skill at bringing families on board, and so on. It's simply chemistry.

        I am for all the things teacherken is for. I am for teacher unions, and collective bargaining, and all that. I will defend them with all my might. To that I would add, I am very much open to the idea that teacher's unions simply haven't been proactive enough in addressing the criticism of public schools. That's a reason why they've weakened considerably in a lot of cases.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:10:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm wondering... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          conlakappa, RadioGirl, soothsayer99

          what teacherken or unions have to do with my diary.  Please explain.

          If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

          by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:50:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your diary is on the general topic (0+ / 0-)

            of education. teacherken is a prominent education blogger around here, and much concerned with defending unions--that's all.

            You're right, the second paragraph in my comment didn't closely follow from the first.

            Here's the idea I was thinking about, which generally concerns your diary: Some would argue that the well-being of teachers isn't ultimately separable from the well-being of students, though many (not you, to my knowledge) argue that there is a strict separation between the two.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:43:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Bingo. You know I advocated for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princss6

        something like this when I was teaching in LA years ago. I was required to teach Social Studies, Science, and Math (which at that point was at least 50% word problems) to children who couldn't read beyond, at best, second grade level.

        They were transitioning from Spanish to English and had never learned to read well in either language.  This was a fourth grade class.

        To me, reading and writing should have taken precedence over everything. If it were my child in a similar situation, and it was well explained to me, I would give permission for him to take a whole year of language arts only.

        Or have some type pf Saturday school and alternate one Sat for math and the next for Science/Soc Studies.  

        Send math facts cards for memorizing multiplication tables home with the kids to practice. Set up a reward system when the kid memorizes the facts at home, and comes in to the class and proves competency to the teacher.

        The math concepts and the history/geography/science info can be caught up with later.

        Children who are not reading by the fourth grade are going to be in a real pickle in middle school. All of the curriculum will be beyond their ability to handle it.  And, the shame becomes overwhelming.

        - so make sure when you say you're in it, but not of it... you're not helping to make this Earth a place sometimes called Hell - Stevie Wonder

        by blindyone on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:19:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Completely agree... (0+ / 0-)
          The math concepts and the history/geography/science info can be caught up with later.

          Just imagine how much more they could learn if their language arts skills and achievement were up to par!  You could pack so much more in in the older grades.

          If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

          by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:52:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Another book to learn from... (4+ / 0-)

    thanks, princss6. Let's see if this will post.

    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 07:46:54 PM PST

    •  Hi rubyr... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blindyone, RadioGirl

      I couldn't even get throug the first chapter without crying at least three times.  I don't know why I've deprived myself of Kozol for so long?!?  I've known about his books, cared about the topic and just never got around to buying his books.  Sigh!

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:56:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Diary princss!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blindyone, RadioGirl, princss6

    sorry it took me all damn day to get here :(

    HAve read the newer Kozol - Shame of the Nation???

    he re-visits those themes and schools from SI..

    Kozol always gets to the heart of it

    “At issue are the values of a nation that writes off many of its poorest children in deficient urban schools starved of all the riches found in good suburban schools nearby, criminalizes those it has short-changed and cheated , and then willingly expends ten times as much to punish them as   it ever spent to teach them when they were still innocent and clean.”

    "....while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Eugene V. Debs

    by soothsayer99 on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 11:53:38 PM PST

  •  very late here, but thanks, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blindyone, princss6

    princss6.  I remember reading Savage Inequalities and it was as powerful as you say.  

    What's sickening/disheartening is that traditional power hierarchies, at the intersections of race and class, seem to have a vested interest in maintaining these unjust and unfair distributions of good education.  

    Teach us to listen to sounds larger than our own heartbeat; that endure longer than our own weeping in the dark. - Lillian Smith

    by RadioGirl on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 08:45:55 AM PST

    •  Yes... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blindyone, RadioGirl

      at some point we do ourselves a disservice to not recognize it as intentional.  

      If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

      by princss6 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:27:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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