But there the revolt halted, because in the America, which had so warmly praised itself for its “widespread popular free education,” there had been so very little education, widespread, popular, free, or anything else, that most people did not know what they wanted—indeed knew about so few things to want at all.
There had been plenty of schoolrooms; there had been lacking only literate teachers and eager pupils and school boards who regarded teaching as a profession worthy of as much honor and pay as insurance-selling or embalming or waiting on table.
When his father still lived in Korea, Lobetto swaggered everywhere. One of the smartest children in school—as well as the richest—he was able to present Respected Teacher with weekly gifts of coffee, cigarettes, and nuts dipped in chocolate. Lobetto was chosen leader of the class almost as much as I was. But when his father left for the States and did not return, Lobetto stopped swaggering. The teacher stopped calling him to the front, then stopped seeing him at all. Eventually, Lobetto joined the other ainokos at the missionary school for children of GI whores.
I believed I could become more than what their statistics believed I could. I also knew, outside of my mom and sister, no one else believed I could beat the statistics. But there comes a time where you have to follow your heart, where you have to make your own decisions to better yourself, even if everyone else calls you crazy. I knew to Mr. Robertson and English, I sounded crazy, naïve . . . a little homeless boy trying to dream big. I was being overlooked. I knew there were other non-homeless students in better schools who were given an opportunity. Wanting the same opportunity shouldn’t be a crime. How could they expect me to look around at my life and just accept it, and just roll over and die? Why couldn’t I have more? I didn’t choose the life I lived. But I could choose to opt out for a better life for myself since I was the only one who had to live it…Most kids I knew were dropping out. I knew I would have to fight the public school system with everything I had if I wanted to come out college ready. If, and only if, living on the streets didn’t kill me first.
This memoir covers the latter part of my homeless journey, ranging from age fourteen to seventeen, predominately my high school years. The horror of my homelessness is what I call it. Allow me to take you down my path and to walk in my footsteps along my own hellacious underground railroad. If you are reading this in the midst of your own overwhelmingly challenging journey, it is you for whom I write….It is you whom I urge not to quit. I know your pain and through my pain, I wish to give you strength. For everyone else reading this, please understand my story is only one of millions of other homeless people.
Paul tells me he’s learning the Tlingit language so he can believe the stories of his people, not just know the plots. When he was young, missionaries and the government prohibited Alaskan Natives from speaking their language and living traditionally. They often took Tlingit children from their homes and families, placing them in boarding schools as far away as Washington and Oregon. Now Paul is a grandfather and is committed to relearning a way of living that he says is not lost but rather hiding, just below the skin. He is proud of Duane and watches for a moment as his son helps his wife. “When I sing the old songs,” Paul says, “it’s like my chest is opened up and my heart is showing.” Paul’s words are poetry. I know because there is nothing I can say afterward. I just watch him resume his carving and try not to look too closely at the eye sockets of those dried fish.
–If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende
Today is National Sorry Day in Australia – it seeks to repair events that also occured here in the United States
“What we lack in education and experience, we more than make up for in gumption, and a willingness to put ourselves out there. We know a lot more today than we did a year ago, and each new lesson has empowered us with a deeper understanding of how capable we are, if we allow ourselves to simply learn, without fear.”
“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.”
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.
The huge owl blinked in wonder at these young owls. They seemed to know nothing. And yet…He let the thought trail off. Certainly their survival skills must be pretty good if they got out of St. Aggie’s. Still, there was no education like the one he had received. The education of an orphan. The orphan school of tough learning. He had to learn it all himself. How to fly, where to hunt, what creatures to stalk and which to avoid at all costs. No, nothing could compare to figuring out on one’s own the hard rules and schemes of a forest world—a world with uncountable riches and endless perils. It took a tough owl to figure it all out. And that was exactly how Twilight thought of himself. Tough.