Friday, March 23, 2012

Notes: March 23, 2012

Note: today's photos were copied from the halls and classrooms in Oakland Ca schools.

1. My pond has been found worthy – for the first time in the many years since I started the pond – frogs have gathered to sing their hearts out every night! This might not be music to everyone’s ears… but I love frog sounds! They are small Pacific Tree Frogs… but my goodness…do they have loud voices. They start at twilight each night and sing until long into the night…. I am curious to notice is their sound patterns are temperature related or if they are controlled by factors…They do stop their sounds if there is any sound or a yard light turned on... I wish them well...

Not sure if this for the benefit of the students or the teachers...

2. Also this week the first tree swallows returned (We will get cliff swallows later in the year aas well.) The first tree swallows are scouts – if it is too cold they will return to the south until warmer and then return – after one morning viewing them they were gone again.

Faculty lounge

3. What a strange year – still very dry - But there has been enough rain to allow many normal signs of spring – the blooming fruit trees, first green leaves, the progression of spring flowers… all earlier than normal this year. There are clumps of California poppies and deep blue lupines – but the grass and wild herbaceous plants are greatly reduced without normal rain. While the rest of the country has been sweltering in a March heat wave, we have had a real cold snap.

Classroom Hall

4. I urge you to take the time to listen to this rebroadcast of the Forum broadcast from KQED The Dropout Crisis: Solutions “ This is one not to miss!

Inner city student hallway

The program deals with the education realities of inner city schools. This program is of great interest to me because it describes the lives of the students and teachers in the schools where I’m supporting interns. The general population so easily blames poor people for being poor, not speaking English, being uneducated, …

Mills College exit gate

Many in the general population blame the schools – blame the students… blame the parents… but never offering positive solutions to the problems – because most people don’t understand the issues of daily life in the inner city. Most people have no idea what the vast budget cuts have done to the education system in California.

Inner city classroom wall

In fact the realities run deeply and intertwine with the lives of middle America too… Please take the time to listen to these interviews and learn more about what our American kids face, and what hard working teachers are attempting to do… What I heard here closely matches my daily observations as I visit these schools.

Inner city student's statement about High School
(Copied below)

5. "Well, high school is like a mountain for us students. We have a long way to go until we get to the top… There are times when most of our classes are getting harder and we feel like giving up…My advice for some people who are giving up is don’t stress yourself, believe in your talents, and have faith.

For me, life and making dream come true is like if you have land, and you have to work on it so you can harvest, but through all of that process you have to take care of it; that’s how life is.

I would like to graduate from high school and get a better life for my family because I want my mom to be proud of me and let her know that I didn’t waste her time. I would like people to graduate and be somebody in the future, to change the world with better people."

7th grade classroom wall