Saturday, July 26, 2008

Conversation Recap for July 20, 2007

We met in Wright Park, and it was cool enough that the group turned heliotropic, following the arc traced by the sun across park grass.

Today we heard Keith’s story, and a wide-ranging discussion followed.

We discussed varieties of corruption, with attention to who benefits and who incurs the costs of different types. It is probably fair to say the different definitions of corruptions are connected to beliefs about justice—the nature and scope of justice situations, and the kinds of remedies one would support. Some ways of seeing corruption focus on the political climate for large businesses. Some seem concerned with situations faced by the largest parts of the population, either middle class folks or people closely connected to the money economy (in poorer countries, many people are not thus connected).

One feature of corruption in the US is its role in degrading a trained, reliable civil service in the United States. Public employees share a broad consensus about the directions taken over much of the last decade. Conversation members may be interested in a recent study published by the chief scholar of the civil service, Paul Light.

The discussion also included considerations of what we regard as properly public, and properly private. The prison, or detention facility, on Tacoma’s tideflats is run by a private company. It has expanded a couple of times, and has plans for more. The increasingly privatized prison industry raises fundamental justice questions.

A view of justice as fairness for people led to comparisons between our corruption discussions and the “40 acres and a mule” idea. For a time we discussed the Freedman’s Bureau, its connection to political issues at the end of the Civil War, and general Sherman’s decision to divide many of the lands taken by his armies into plots of land for those recently freed from slavery. And, after Lincoln’s assassination, Sherman’s orders were rescinded.

The conversation went to this conclusion: this country has found it impossible to collectively acknowledge what has happened to black people in the United States. By any historical comparison, a holocaust happened. But there has been no memorial, no reparations.

We then discussed ideas about what would make this situation whole, and most of it revolved around the context of the upcoming election. Several people offered ideas on what Obama would be able to do as a candidate and as president. Most seemed to agree that what is needed is an acknowledgement of what occurred, a huge commitment to jobs, education and housing in the pursuit of a more equal society, and open discussion of the presence of race in everyday American life.

As part of the discussions, it seemed as though accounts of deservedness of individual people is complicated, and perhaps a distraction from the larger issue. But it does come up.

Conversation Recap for July 13, 2008

We heard Tully's story and then had a great presentation and discussion of the new Lincoln High School program "The Lincoln Center"

Patrick Irwin- Principal Lincoln has been there for 4 years. Mom is graduate of Lincoln high school has worked at OSPI and TPS Central Admin and has been looking at what people do differently – different models- Jefferey Canada doing work in Harlem – Harlem Children’s Zone- parenting classes, nutrition, marshal arts, music, dance, foreign language, extended support after school and on weekends. James Comer at Yale talked about conspiracy of adults who refused to let him fail- at Lincoln for past four years kids have come in unprepared. As principal at McIlveigh Middle – raised test scores but students still not prepared for high school. Low expectations by teachers who "feel bad for kids so don’t push them to succeed"- He agrees with only one concept ever uttered by Bush “soft bigotry of low expectations”.

Get Smart Tacoma Summit last year in Tacoma- well intentioned - no traction

This year’s freshmen at Lincoln most impoverished most mobile kids ill-prepared in Sept. had Eastside Children's Zone meeting with OSPI and community teachers team went back to Harvard Harvard group and Get Smart Tacoma now has a new name - Tacoma 360.
Essentially getting people to come up with a plan where kids have services around the clock that they need to be successful when it looked as though nothing.

Mt T principal came over to team pricipal with Pat and do extended day model. Could do enrichment activities, museums, etc. Some kids have never been to Downtown Tacoma.

Lincoln Center is extended day model –

Middle School’s are starting to get on board – new Portland ave middle school

Q: families that need most support- have no choice to leave area sometimes so what happens when they have to leave program.

A: have different agencies partner pierce transit community health so they don’t get slipped through cracks

Needs community support no question about it

Still wants to hold school system accountable while goes out to community school district still needs to provide resources and support too

Have meeting scheduled with DSHS and also want to bring mental health component into school as well

Model of school treating everyoned educational institutions second equally is limiting school systems are employment agencies first a

Mentoring programs with school of the arts and other programs robotics

Study shows students lost a years of academic growth in transition years 5-6 and we can’t afford thatso we need to teach time management

Historically Lincoln had night school that was bigger than day school people taking language etc.

Meeting with people about evening piece but day is first priority

Instead of wa state history teach Lincoln historand Tacoma history to get ou into community and then state get kids out into state mt st Helens Columbia gorge see what state looks like

Pull kids in for a week late summer in sugust

Safety- crime peaks in America from 3-6 problems happen after school on evenings and weekends

Model also does something for school in general- kids are better off in 1990’s school had chess team


This thurs hb 2722 meeting dexter goes to legislative mandate is to come up with a proposal to address achievement gap
Thifriday as part of alf project iviting about 20 people who are working on the frontline with kids who are already on the fringes of the school system tobring about 150 kids who are w orking insode a program with people who are direct funders scholarship

Race and Pedagogy- fall achievement gap summit

Parents summer spring

Next r n p conference 2010

Tacoma civil rights project- this fall at history museum- have interviewed a number of people- going to develop for k-12 and college and general information
Get smart Tacoma- came up and disappeared – reportsform this group that were part of conversation- one common reference what program is ther
Around that address these issues- r and p one of the constants- no follow up to get smart

Admin of k-12 administration has been disrupted for a year plus now so we would like to restart that connection dexter’s own perception is that Tacoma school district right now has to go through retirement cycle to change system need strong leadership to start from top and vertically go through system but believes in work that circumvents administration even though they do not get the work – this Lincoln center could be that work-
Conversation has educationally interest group to influence

Question put to Pat is giving him platform to say to us how can we help him do this and be thinking at multiple levels- all programs mentioned have connections at various levels-

More questions:

Q: In program is there a place to include mental health sessions to include parents
A: have to provide this and yes want to do work their

Q: why not a later start?
A: busing, sports but agrees

Q: dshs- a lot of families cannot make appointment so may want to have a dedicated liaison for Lincoln to help set appointments

Q: service learning, internships year 2-3?, use of computer for self programs that let students go at own pace for spelling etc.

Q: mentioned goal but would like to hear about process how will it work

A: this is tough iussue for the first right now relying on people saying want to be a part of it- working with middle school and doing home visits off their list or may say here are the services come take advantage of them need buy in and outreach

Q: danger of too much publicity- have success in paper tooting horns and then got backlash and sabotage- can get nasty stuff

A: yes can even come from in the school one expectation is all should take honors English but then would look like exclusive thing

Q: when rudy cruz was superintendent a teacher at mary lyon become endeavor center at mary lyon- lauries daughter went to it once the initiator left the whole program went away- howill you protect this

A: the more people we have involved iof work than less likely that it in process and creation to go away- rumor that pat will go downtown but wants to stay at Lincoln and like model of co-principal

Q: thanks for presentation what did not hear was full community involvement understands- knows school as place that does nothing after school hours most of time is just a building sense that trying to get kids to learn outside classroom didn’t hear the connection to parent learning and economic driver of small business- meetings could happen at Lincoln somehow if you could bring students and organizations together knows there are security issues but could be worked out would like to know that they are moving toward that connection.

A: would like to have opp to do at school what they do not do at home ornald ferguson will be speaking at Lincoln high school on aug 18th “excellence with equity” is new book his concluding chapter talks about teaching crisis
Working with parents is key- did not get go ahead until may Jarvis had to do some budget things have community advisory panel wants Lincoln to become community school model for Tacoma have investment classes and parenting classes talked with frank Russell

Q: what ave you done with community parrtnering kmart target uw foundation grants and things that may come under their purvey what about those who have disability should be a portion of program so that children are raised feeling normal-
A: has meetingwith bob has good history with Lincoln high school looking at universities worked with terri b and uni’s don sloma shared with him would be embarrassed what people give money to for achievement gap there is money to be had gates foundation fn kyle miller – gates does work with schools but do it all over the place- still oppp there

Q:mmight there be opp for student reemployment for those that have to choose between work and school to have option

A: have done some

Q:might their be mentoring programs for students who are shut down toaway form top down teacher control model get

A: Lincoln has become palce to be for educators who make it great and will be looking for community members to come in

Q: what does faculty look like in terms of being representative of students-
A:have 5 teacherss 4 are cauc and one af-am just don’t have it is an issue in Tacoma right now just don’t have a good representation

Q: what about admin team?

A: has addressed that with admin – district has missed opps over the years

Q: could one af am asst principal at stadium be assigned to Lincoln for this program role modeling is so critical to being engaged that worried that the intentions of this program could be lessened without staff representation

A: oner thinghero used to have in Tacoma was peoplein system that know Tacoma are from Tacoma , have hero and achievers in school to mentor but cannot serve all –once at hero assembly and student thought they were lying bc never meet af am male that had college degree before this spurred him onto doing hard work in amy’s class

Q: are there assistant teacher positions to get more people in class

A: ups does good job plu and evergreen first year and Lincoln had 17 dif students and was a mess so had to straigten that out

Q: hisotrical black college students could come to intern has been done before in Tacoma- 2 places to check on that- diversity initiative at Puyallup school district

A: tim heron act 6 has gone to whitworth trinitiy Lutheran-

What can conversation do: mentoring piece, access points for kids- sitting on a panel

Adult soccer at lincoln on Sundays – more than 100 men pass through and students need role model so could connection be made-

Questions of presenting models or modules for work seek to highlight innovative programs – would part be willing to present this model at achievement gap summit

We do know that not only is there resistance in system to thorough going ans straightforward program but straight out rejection of this work
We are invested at various levels in doing this work

Q: concern for advocacy of students- worked wsith gear-up program and found thaaf am collegues had very solid relatiohip and students and students would share with them so feels it is ab essential bc youth do not trust adults really need rep in that if do not have the faculty than really need support system be there consostenly multiple times a week

A: has talked to korbet mosely and men of action to get o board- dr ingrahm

Q: nationwide strong push to identify students from communities that need to be rep as educators could get in that pipeline

A: WSU has program

Q: now really curioushow to get this to work

A: goes back to identification and getting and into certain profind a way to be able to control who teaches at school must be able to break contract and schools be able to

Q: find a way…………..

A:In one way nclb is terrible flawed but is also a civil rights and have to look differnelty so don’t push self out of job

Q: teachers that are quality get involved in unions etc.

A: Ronnie

Q: exchange with conv for adults and youth

A: can use space anytime and do sessions on Sunday

Q: What are the barriers to getting teachers of color in schools?

A: pat’s responsibilities in American society in general do not value education media telling that edu is not happiness city council just added education to advisory committee
Maybe hoping for educational revolution maybe with Obama as president wants to replicate harlem model

Q: You have a lot of optimism but do not have the ability to select people that you think are best for your school is a pessimistic reality-

Q: y are teaachers who exp is actually in what theople in union need to figure out how to structure union and senority different

Q: need to get teachers who are actually trained in what they are teaching

A: do in ctc system- do have some trainined in their professions - again certification process


Should be alternative approach to cert. but that is often used to impune teachers- anti-intellectuals=ism gets advanced by saying people in classroom do not know what they are doing- when teaching is a craft

Encouragethat conversation is taking place on multiple levels 2 years ago it was not. 2 yrsd ago chair and another rep made presentation to a community group and were asked question about failure in district and they said thay have 75 % rate ( a c grade if you accept that #) comes from admin who do not respect our communities with pat on notion that you cannot expect- if you are committed to students of color you can tell them the truth- when talk about 75% rate inside of that the % in there is above 50 and sometimes lower. I say lets continue to change the players and the game.