Voices of Others: Somewhere in America

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“Kids are late to class for working the midnight shift. They give awards for best attendance but not for keeping your family off the street…every state in America the greatest lessons are the ones you don’t remember learning.”

Seattle is Lumping All its Homeless Children Into One School

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Just plain wrong on so many levels.

For all of the homeless shelters in metropolitan Seattle, the assigned elementary school is Lowell Elementary, up on Capitol Hill….Absolutely no one likes it there, it seems. Students report violence, bullying, and apathetic staff. And the staff claims they aren’t adequately supported to take care of students with special needs….With more training and a dedicated mental health staff, perhaps this school could be a light for students. But as it is, funneling the city’s growing population of homeless youth into one inadequate school is simply harmful.

Seattle is Lumping All its Homeless Children Into One School, LET’s Blog! ON LITERACY, EDUCATION, AND TECHNOLOGY by Mandy

Admiration List: Kandice Sumner

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This woman has some really good, and hard, things to say about education in the United States. A few quotes:

If you neglect a child long enough, you no longer have the right to be surprised when things don’t turn out well.”

“If we’re going to call public education ‘public education’ then it should be just that. Otherwise, we should call it what it really is: Poverty Insurance”

“Public education, keeping poor kids poor since 1954.”

 

Kandice Sumner:

Learning Through Listening

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For what? Chee thought. But he didn’t say it. His mother had taught him one learns through the ear and not the tongue.

People of Darkness (Navajo Mysteries Book 4) by Tony Hillerman

Education Lost To Labor

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“You didn’t have the mind for school, anyway,” his father had recently observed. Abdul wasn’t sure he’d had enough schooling to make a judgment either way. In the early years, he’d sat in a classroom where nothing much happened. Then there had been only work. Work that churned so much filth into the air it turned his snot black. Work more boring than dirty. Work he expected to be doing for the rest of his life. Most days, that prospect weighed on him like a sentence. Tonight, hiding from the police, it felt like a hope.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity by Katherine Boo

From the epilogue:

The events recounted in the preceding pages are real, as are all the names. From the day in November 2007 that I walked into Annawadi and met Asha and Manju until March 2011, when I completed my reporting, I documented the experiences of residents with written notes, video recordings, audiotapes, and photographs. Several children of the slum, having mastered my Flip Video camera, also documented events recounted in this book….When I settle into a place, listening and watching, I don’t try to fool myself that the stories of individuals are themselves arguments. I just believe that better arguments, maybe even better policies, get formulated when we know more about ordinary lives.

International Sorry Day – Alaskan Children

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May 26th is National Sorry Day in Australia. As I’ve stated before, the forcible removal of children from their families in an effort to destroy languages, cultures and religions is a human rights violation that has occurred world wide. In honor of International Sorry Day (an unofficial holiday), I am posting this quote is from a book about an Inuit child who suffered this violation. Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1867 and the last residential school closed in 1996, so the residential schools program is a history shared by Canada and the United States.

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“Olemaun,” he whispered. I had not heard my Inuit name in so long I thought it might shatter like an eggshell with the weight of my father’s voice. At the school I was known only by my Christian name, Margaret. I buried my head in my father’s smoky parka, turning it wet with tears. I felt a touch much gentler than my father’s strong grasp as my mother’s arms joined his. Together they sheltered me in that safe place between them.

Not My Girl, written by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

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The Voices of Others: F*ck I Look Like!

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More strong opinions and good words created by other people.

It will be noted that I am white and this poem is about black experience. I fully acknowledged that I do not have her experience. Our differences do not diminish the power of her words or make it wrong (or improper) for me to include them in my list of good words and strong opinions. Additionally, there were points where she is definitely speaking to my own experiences as a poverty survivor – a few quotes:

  • “You’re looking at me like I’m not supposed to be standing here next to you. Like we’re in the same class but your idea of advanced is to advance that my mind can’t match you.”
  • “White people think they run shit because they got money to buy the source.”
  • “As soon as I raise my hand for anything other than a bathroom break, I become a weirdo.”
  • “Why would I use big words? So I can sound like you? You know what I sound like? Like I’ve read a book before.”

Voice Depends on Wealth

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“Journalism is one of many fields of public influence—including politics—in which credentials function as de facto permission to speak, rendering those who lack them less likely to be employed and less able to afford to stay in their field. Ability is discounted without credentials, but the ability to purchase credentials rests, more often than not, on family wealth.”

The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by David Graeber

Higher Education and the Caste System

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“As anyone who has been to graduate school knows, it’s precisely the children of the professional-managerial classes, those whose family resources make them the least in need of financial support, who best know how to navigate the world of paperwork that enables them to get said support. For everyone else, the main result of one’s years of professional training is to ensure that one is saddled with such an enormous burden of student debt that a substantial chunk of any subsequent income one will get from pursuing that profession will henceforth be siphoned off, each month, by the financial sector.”

The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by David Graeber