School Choice Question

Read Chapter 3 of the text ( A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Toughest Questions in K-12 Education by Frederick M. Hess and Pedro A. Noguera)

Watch the documentary “Waiting for Superman”(2010) written and directed by David Guggenheim. It follows the educational journey of Geoffrey Canada and others.

Write a one page reflection answering:

What is your position on school choice? Are you for or against? Why?

Time is of the essence is the first thought that popped into my head while I clicked the x before the credits rolled at the end of the documentary, Waiting for Superman. Time is of the essence for me in my own education as well as in the essence for my students. Time is of the essence if success is what we want. 

Nonetheless, concerning how we succeed ( in terms of which school has the road map and which doesn’t)  isn’t vital, as long as we get there. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said to the Sanitation workers in Memphis, “It really doesn’t matter…because I’ve been to the mountaintop … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land”. In this instance, education is one of the tools used to get us to the promise land. We want our children to be educated and able to think critically.

There seems to be no right and no wrong in public vs private vs religious vs independent vs charter vs homeschooling. What we want is success for our students and our communities and we are willing to try what promises to work. 

The trouble comes when virtues are mentioned. We will never succeed being dishonest. 

Michelle Rhee put it best when she said, learning ‘comes down to the adults and accountability’. We know if and when we are doing right by our children. 

I am for whatever choice works. The documentary mentioned that leading up to the 70’s the educational system worked for America. The system produced great men like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Neil deGrasse Tyson. 

However, the times changed. The material King and Tyson learned while in school is still relevant; however, the systems under how they were taught has changed. 

I wonder now if America is still waiting for Superman. How much have COIVD changed the face of education. Will there be a documentary showing the state of the Education post COVID?

Noguera, co-author of A Search for Common Ground reminded in his letters that each system put out something good. Even in flawed systems, there is always space for a ‘David and Goliath’ battle. The problem is that war happens constantly and the Battles are won far and few in between. 

Noguera stated “ America’s inability to create schools where poor children of color are learning has more to do with our nation’s history of segregation and unequal treatment than anything else”. 

It’s no wonder the nation was thriving in Education during segregation and 20 years after. Blacks were learning under oppression and White were the oppressors succeeding. It’s been over 60 years since Brown vs. Board and the fire is still boiling. The people haven’t learned to work together. Policy, law, Government,  officials are caught up in greed and comfort to even think about ways to fix the education system. Even though the laws came into place to end Jim Crow the spirit if separation is so great in America. The same evils that once allowed America to thrive are the same evils that are now killing America.

I wonder, are we going back into a complete segregated educational system? (We were never completely integrated) Organic personal school improvements, vouchers, charter schools, educational savings account and more are terms I’ve heard in conversations about the future of Education… when listening to policy makers, reading literature, and sitting in class. However, in the real world, around parents of the majority; parents are now in the same routines as before COVID.

You see, so already, we have started the conversation about school choice without the voice of the below the poverty line or lower class parent. So, where do we go from here?

Today’s Precept

Class, I started off, today’s precept is: “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are no footprints on the moon”. I then waited as I always do after I read the precept. Their job is to talk about its meaning. There are no right or wrongs. Just conversation.

Madison who sits in the front and is often fumbling with her papers and trying to avoid lifting her voice first, spoke back almost immediately.

But Ms. Hurley, it’s all apart of God’s work!

Well, look at you getting all spiritual and philosophical! Explain please.

This lead to a conversation about where dreams come from and how connected we are to the universe.

At the end I asked them, so, is the sky the limit?

Well, yes. It is the responded.

Then have to look past the moon when discussing our dreams in the fourth grade.

A 21st- Century connection between Art and the National Summit on Education

I found the connection between the National Summit on Education and the art at Utah’s museum of Art seasonable.

While at Utah’s Museum of Art, I came across a huge electrical wall panel created by Elias Sime from Ethiopia.

The plaque next to the ‘ Tightrope: Noiseless 1’ (it’s title) reads: Sime buys his materials at the Merkato In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the largest open- air market in Africa. It can take years for him to accumulate the necessary discarded computer parts to construct an individual work. In this series, Sime recognizes the uneasy balance between the advances made possible by technology and the impact those advances have had on humanity and the environment. Sime says, ” My work reclaims these machines in a tender way, as I am not in opposition to technology. It’s about how to balance it with “real” life. We’ve become off-balance. My title for my series of collages, “Tightrope,” has a double reaming, It’s about this equilibrium, but I also wanted it to evoke a string: if you pull it too tight, it will break.” 

The installation connected strongly with the keynote speakers at the conference. While looking at it, I had no questions, nor did it bring me peace. It was just about being in the moment while also thinking about the future.

Earlier that day, I sat in the Grand America Hotel and listened to founder Hadi Partovi, finance expert Tim Ranzetta and Professor of Applied Mathematics Dr. Steven Strogatz, map out critical skills for every 21st-Century student’s success.

Dr. Strogatz encouraged us to introduce our learners to Data Science which he said was the “modern version of statics, a fusion of many disciplines that give us opportunities touch every field.” Mr. Partovi pushed for us to teach finical literacy, especially to students in high school. As a true educator, he provided curriculum and even offered ways to teach others how to teach the topic. Tim Ranzetta also pushed technology – telling us that the vision of is that every student learn computer science.

The full video is posted on Youtube:

Almost all artist unknown in Arts of Africa Room

At Utah’s Museum of Fine Arts on the second floor towards the back is a room labeled Arts of Africa. It looks like a period room. Quite honestly, period rooms can be boredom rooms. But this one was intriguing because almost all of the art in there had no name on it. The artist was unknown for each artifact. Why?