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robertogreco : regression   5

How a North Carolina School Segregated Again - CityLab
"From the mid-1970s until the early 1990s, Charlotte was the most desegregated major school system in the country, and West Charlotte High School was its flagship. A 1969 federal ruling mandated that each Charlotte school’s student body be 70 percent white and 30 percent black, to match the system-wide demographic.

After a few rocky years, families, students, teachers, and administrators settled in to busing and integration, and Charlotte became a national success story. In 1974, when Boston erupted in violence over its first year of full-scale, court-ordered busing, West Charlotte High hosted students from South Boston so they could see integration in action.

But in 1999, a year after Grundy decided to pen West Charlotte High’s story, a federal judge ordered the city to stop using race in school assignments. Busing ceased. “It was shocking,” says Grundy.

Today, West Charlotte High is 85 percent African American, and almost 83 percent of its students are economically disadvantaged.

Accordingly, Grundy’s book, Color and Character: West Charlotte High and the American Struggle over Educational Equality, published this month, explores not only West Charlotte High’s integration success, but also its subsequent devolution through legislation, increased inequality, and urban displacement.

CityLab caught up with Grundy to talk about the school’s trajectory and what residents can do to foster more equal schools in their communities.

What made West Charlotte High’s integration work?

West Charlotte was the only historically black high school left in the city, and there was a lot of conflict over which white kids were going to have go to it. In the end, a group of wealthy, white parents decided that they were going to put their kids on those buses, and this served as a catalyst. There was a strong sense among them that they were doing something bigger than themselves and their children. The city’s leaders also made integration a priority, as having Charlotte’s schools in racial turmoil did not advance the city’s reputation on the national stage.

It was tough for the West Charlotte community to see their school change. It was an elite black school with strong black teachers. But they welcomed the white students.

What were some successes of West Charlotte High School as an integrated school?

Having the children of powerful parents brought more resources to the school, which strengthened its materials and curriculum. It also had great music and drama programs and sports teams, and the community felt that the school's diversity played a key role in that success.

And if you talk to alumni from the heyday of integration, they all say how much it meant to them to know different types of kids. West Charlotte was very balanced: The black and white students came from a variety of economic backgrounds, and an ESL program brought immigrants as well. No one was dominant, and that meant kids felt that they could try on different identities, be part of different groups.

What about the challenges?

There were stereotypes and misconceptions to overcome. It took work to integrate some of the extracurricular activities, and especially to make sure that black students were in advanced classes.

The other problem, even as schools were integrating, is that Charlotte itself became more segregated by income and race. In the 1980s we see the income gap start to widen, as Ronald Reagan’s economic policies—tax cuts, decreased social spending, deregulation—benefit the well-off and harm the poor. Developers built housing for affluent, mostly white residents in the suburbs. Low-income housing for mostly black residents became even more clustered in the city’s center. These changes made it more difficult to bus, because blacks and whites were living farther from each other. [Editors’ note: See the maps below for an illustration of how segregation increased in Charlotte from 1970 to 1990.]

How did the increase in economic and spatial inequality contribute to West Charlotte High’s resegregation?

The city reassigned students to schools primarily based on where they lived. Because of the concentration of poverty in the city center, West Charlotte's population ended up as the city’s poorest and least diverse.

This occurred at a time when parents were feeling more anxiety about schooling, with a greater focus on the well-being of individual children rather than larger social goals. There was a scramble to get kids to what were seen as the better schools, and when families from better-off areas were given the choice to continue sending their children to West Charlotte, most didn’t. And many more-prosperous families who were newly assigned to West Charlotte sent their children to magnet programs instead. The school was faced with educating a large number of the city’s most challenged children.

For a long time, policymakers were operating with the idea that a school’s demographics didn’t matter, that the right combination of training, testing, and accountability could lift up any school. Charlotte has tried a lot of that, and it doesn’t work. Schools with high concentrations of low-income students are trying to counter all the challenges in those students’ lives—and they just can’t. There’s a lot of stress and instability when you’re poor. For instance, it’s hard for low-income families to find affordable housing, so a lot of families are constantly moving. That’s hard on kids.

There are dedicated, hardworking teachers at these schools, as well as students who overcome great obstacles and succeed. But there’s also a lot of turnover. It’s hard to recruit experienced teachers, and the less-experienced teachers tend to burn out quickly or move to higher-income schools as soon as they can. High-stakes standardized testing creates a huge amount of stress, and it often turns into an exercise in shame and punishment when scores are low.

I strongly believe that if you want schools to be equal, they have to be racially and economically integrated. The community as a whole has to have a stake in all the schools. But there’s so much emphasis on choice now—on making what you think is the best individual decision for your child—rather than working toward a common good. Choice and competition mainly benefit families and communities that already have resources. And there isn't much appetite at the state or federal level to pursue integration. Nor is there a desire among leaders at any level to challenge the market forces that are increasing inequality. Without some of these larger shifts, there’s a limit to what schools can do.

So, in many ways, it doesn’t seem like change is coming down the pike. But we can start with small, local efforts. For instance, the Charlotte school board recently decided to pair two sets of schools—two low poverty and two high poverty—that are relatively close to each other. In each pairing, all the students will go to one school for K-2 and the other for 3-5. Some parents will send their kids to private or charter schools to avoid the arrangement. But others will do it.

It isn’t nearly enough, but we have to start somewhere."

[See also:
"The Resegregation of Jefferson County: What one Alabama town’s attempt to secede from its school district tells us about the fragile progress of racial integration in America."
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/magazine/the-resegregation-of-jefferson-county.html ]
schools  publicschools  integration  segregation  histoy  race  racism  us  charlotte  northcarolina  history  housing  2017  mimikirk  inequality  equality  pamelagrundy  economics  choice  magnetschools  competition  policy  politics  society  regression  charterschools 
september 2017 by robertogreco
Urbanism Took a Beating in 2014 | Voice of San Diego
"This time last year, I took a look at all the things happening in San Diego that suggested the city was accepting its role as a major metropolis and embracing urbanist thinking.

“Urbanism seems to have taken hold of San Diego in 2013,” I wrote.

That seems to have been absurd.

In the year since, some of the crumbs that led me to that conclusion have been dismantled or dismissed. New efforts aimed at making the city a more urban place, with denser development and increased use of public transportation didn’t fare well.

The biggest piece of evidence to suggest San Diego was getting serious about planning and development — the hiring of nationally renowned smart-growth champion Bill Fulton as the city’s planning director — was also the biggest counter-argument in 2014. He was welcomed with open arms in 2013.

He’s already gone. He was pushed out, left unsatisfied or took a can’t-pass-up job, depending on who you ask. He’s now running a university planning institute in Houston.

In Fulton’s last months, Mayor Kevin Faulconer created a position above Fulton that would limit his decision-making ability, and the economic development department that had answered to him was taken away, too.

One thing he was left in control of — the Civic Innovation Lab — was born in 2013, and shut down this year.

The brainchild of former Mayor Bob Filner and two UCSD professors, it was meant to be an ambitious mod squad working between city departments to solve urban problems.

Faulconer stripped its funding after it had only been operating a few months. His office said the four full-time employees weren’t fired – but they were.

San Diego’s pivot away from urbanism isn’t all about personnel, either.

Fulton’s planning department this spring unveiled plans in Bay Park near two planned trolley stations in the area.

The new development plan would have increased the number of homes and the height of buildings that could be built in the area. Residents did not like that idea. At all.

Former Councilman Ed Harris organized a three-hour town hall meeting for residents to protest the whole thing. The few plan supporters who got on stage were shouted down, and the city frantically tried to back away from the plan. Fulton said the city would no longer pursue an increase in building height limits, though that change isn’t official yet. A Council race under way at the time became a competition to declare who hated the plan the most.

A few months later, Fulton took the gig in Texas.

And while the city’s ever-hopeful urbanists won a second court victory in their lawsuit against the region’s transportation plan — which they say is too reliant on cars, highways and sprawl — the regional planning agency SANDAG’s board last month voted to go for one more appeal to see if they could avoid making changes to the plan.

But the news wasn’t all bad for urbanist in 2014.

Significantly, Faulconer threw his support behind the Climate Action Plan, a city outline to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by 2035.

The plan would do that, in part, by committing the city to direct new development so that 61 percent of people living within a half mile of a major transit station — as many as 470,000 people — will walk, bike or take transit to work.

It would do that by building lots of homes in dense clusters around transit stations.

And on the micro-scale, the city did see another parklet this year, plus the imminent opening of a temporary commercial space made out of shipping containers downtown from a vacant lot, meant to revitalize the area until it can be developed.

And the city’s oft-delayed bike-share program is tentatively scheduled to open in January.

Nonetheless, 2014 showed anyone looking to make San Diego more like San Francisco, Portland or Denver that they have their work cut out for them."
urbanism  urban  sandiego  2014  regression  andrewkeatts  2013  planning  urbanplanning  transportation  bikes  biking  kevinfaulconer  billfulton  bobfilner  civicinnovationlab  edharris  sandag  policy  politics  density  cities 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Damian Bariexca on Twitter: "Two must-read blog posts for my #LTPS friends by @chrislehmann (http://t.co/GVPN7L2QQe) and @garystager (http://t.co/M4QJe4UVdH). Thoughts?"
Damian Bariexca: "Two must-read blog posts for my #LTPS friends by @chrislehmann (http://practicaltheory.org/blog/2014/11/20/curriculum-design-putting-the-horse-before-the-cart/ …) and @garystager (http://stager.tv/blog/?p=3408 ). Thoughts?"

[Pointing here for the subsequent back-and-forth between Chris Lehmann and Gary Stager (selectively chosen here), including a couple of comments from Ira Socol.

I share Gary's philosophy of education much more than that of Chris Lehmann's and I admire Gary's knowledge and body of work, but Gary's condescending tone often does his attempts to convince others a disservice. He frequently dismisses others with snide remarks and belittling comments. Gary also falls into self-aggrandizement. For example, complaining the other day that *he* hadn't ever been invited to the White House* (see end for references). So, while I don't share Chris's interest and preference for structure (more the type and source of structure than the presence of structure), I agree with his responses here, especially regarding the day-to-day realities of progressive schools and the need for measures to make working in them sustainable. That's why the majority of the tweets quoted here come from him. Notes added.]

Chris Lehmann: "Gary's a great revolutionary but a lousy policy-maker. Sooner or later, the May Day speeches need to lead somewhere."
[I would love to see Gary get off the workshop and conference circuit and start a school to show others how his approach and philosophy can be the core program of a school and stay intact over time.] https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535788736374910976

"Gary, I think you fundamentally underestimate the need for useful structures to help teachers teach this way." [I'd add that there is also a fundamental underestimation of the day-to-day toll that countercurrents have on those in progressive schools.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867057074872320

"It isn't just about workshops. It's about sustaining the effort over years and finding ways to keep getting better." [Standalone workshops, events, or summer classes are one reality that is often embraced. A core progressive/constructivist/constructionist program is something different altogether and it comes with an unrelenting set of apprehensions, anxieties, doubts, ambivalence, undermining, and accusations from adults who aren't fully committed.] https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867165208231936

"And you, too often, downplay any effort to create structure because of your own dislike of structure. But that is+"
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867291507130368

"too much about you, and not enough about the people you would support - teachers and students. The many failures of+" [Here Chris calls Gary out for making things about him. I have seen this too. For example, rather than critiquing what went on during #FutureReady and suggesting others (day-to-day educators) who should have been there, he griped about not being included, placing himself at the center of the conversation.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867469966352384

"progressive schools that had beautiful visions and insufficient roadmaps toward implementation and therefore suffered"
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867633892347904

"mission drift and founder fatigue, and in time, regressed to the mean is the thing we work daily to avoid. Thus, the+" [Regression to the mean. I've seen that happen in a school. I know of many other schools where that has happened. And sometimes I wonder if it's even worth the while to work in a progressive school rather than focus my energy on supporting those that opt out of school altogether.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867774846119936

"need for thoughtful systems and structures that help good people do the work together through reflective practice."
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535867907071541248

"I impune nothing, Gary. I think you are brilliant. I also think you let the perfect being the enemy of the good." [Agreed. There is no need to pit one school against the other. Again, why not create a new school (or lea an existing school) as an example rather than cut down those that are doing their best, aligned with their philosophy? I often say that I have no problem with traditional schools as long as they own what they are doing and don't belittle what others are doing through direct comparison or bashing.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535881338604498945

"not discredit. Merely speak to different experiences. Everything I do is toward SLA as a sustainable structure."
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535881898250473473

"I do not reduce your work. I'm tired of you reducing ours. We at SLA believe in more structure than you. We know." [Here Chris is owning what he believes and what he tries to deliver at SLA. So much respect.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/535884701266092032

Ira Socol: "the everyday is very different. It just is" [This. The everyday cannot be compared to workshops, camps, conferences, theory, etc. It's also dangerous to hide (by not sharing or by implying that everything is unanimously embraced by the adults in the community) the very vocal contrary voices that begin to appear when implementing a constuctionist program as the core school day.]
https://twitter.com/irasocol/status/535885352788303872

Gary Stager: "I don't think balance is the goal. This is a matter of stance, of choices." [I agree with Gary here, but that is our philosophy and it's not for everyone. Similar thoughts by Alfie Kohn: http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/progressive.htm ]
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/536214550329044993

Ira Socol: "and where/how one chooses to work" [Yes. One can choose to disagree with the way SLA does things, but one doesn't have to work there.]
https://twitter.com/irasocol/status/536215980184465408

Chris Lehmann: "so when you say "Bridging Differences," you mean "convince Chris he is wrong."" [I think Chris is right here. Impasse is impasse. Time to move on.]
https://twitter.com/chrislehmann/status/536217394193383425

----------

*"Anyone led more professional development on teaching for the future than me? Funny how I never get invited to the tea party."
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/535485803552456706

"Perhaps a Republican President will invite me to the White House."
https://twitter.com/garystager/status/535487172225146880
garystager  chrislehmann  education  progressive  teaching  structure  2014  irasocol  cv  tcsnmy  disagreement  policy  practice  constructivism  burnout  regression  mediocrity  balance  missiondrift  fatigue  implementation  purity  condescension  alfiekohn  respect  difference  differences 
november 2014 by robertogreco
We're sharing more photos but getting less in return
"Theoretically, we could have an up-to-the-minute photo database of any popular location. We'd just need Instagram to include more metadata by default and allow users to sort by location (or let a third-party app do the same).

If we were properly organizing the photos we're already putting online, I could see how a festival was going, and Google Maps could show me all the photos taken from the Eiffel Tower in the last five minutes. I could even see if a popular bar is crowded without any official system. We'd be able to see the world right now, as clearly as we see its past on Google Street View, as quickly as news spreads on Twitter.

We have the data and the technological infrastructure, but we're stuck because no developer can access all the data.

If anyone was going to deliver these capabilities, it would be Flickr. In 2006, it was the canonical destination for photos. If you wanted to see photos of a certain place or subject, that’s where you went. But Facebook replaced Flickr as a social network, killing it on the desktop, and Instagram released a simpler mobile app, killing it there too. That would have been fine if Facebook and Instagram kept their photos data-rich and fully exportable. But both services give fewer tagging, grouping, and other sorting options, and they built their photos into incompatible databases. Facebook won't organize photos any way but by human subject or uploader. Instagram has just a few view options and focuses solely on the friend-feed.

We're photographing everything now, building this amazing body of work, but we're getting less and less out of it.

We do get some benefits from not having one monopoly in charge of photo sharing: Instagram did mobile better than Flickr, Facebook can link a photo of someone to their whole social profile, and Foursquare efficiently arranges photos by location. These advantages, however, have replaced Creative Commons licensing, advanced search, and any other tool that relies on treating the world's photo pool as a mass data set rather than a series of individualized feeds.

Twitter, Tumblr, and Imgur siphon off bits of the photo market without giving them back into the mass set. Meanwhile, any photo service that dies off (RIP Picasa, Zooomr, Photobucket) becomes a graveyard for photos that will probably never get moved to a new service.

Why are we giving up this magical ability to basically explore our world in real-time? The bandwidth is lower than streaming video; the new-data-point frequency is lower than Twitter; the location sorting is less complicated than Google Maps or Foursquare. But no one service has an incentive to build this tool, or to open up its database for a third party. Instead they only innovate ways to steal market share from each other. Flickr recently downgraded its mobile app, removing discovery options and cropping photos into squares. The new app is an obvious Instagram imitation, but it won't help Flickr recapture the market. If any photo service beats Instagram, it won't be by making data more open.

Our collective photo pool suffers from a tragedy of the commons, where each service snaps up our photos with as few features as it can, or by removing features. (Snapchat, for example, actively prevents photos from joining the pool by replacing the subscription model with a one-to-one model, efficiently delivering photos straight from my camera to your feed.) We are giving our photos to these inferior services, they are making billions of dollars from them, and what we're getting back is pathetic.

The best agnostic tool we have is the archaic Google Image Search, which doesn't effectively sort results, doesn't distinguish between image sources, and doesn't even touch location search. The lack of agnostic metadata is keeping us in the past. As Anil Dash pointed out in 2012, the photo pool (like blogs and status updates) is becoming fragmented and de-standardized. Everything we're putting online is chopped up by services that don't play well together, and that's bad for the user.

Dash wrote, "We'll fix these things; I don't worry about that." I do. I don't think technology has to work out right. We can build expressways where we should have built bullet trains. We can let an ISP monopoly keep us at laughable broadband speeds. We can all dump our memories into the wrong sites and watch them disappear in 10 years. We can share postage-stamp-sized photos on machines capable of streaming 1080p video.

Even if we do fix this, it will not be retroactive. There are stories about whole TV series lost to time because the network stupidly trashed the original reels. Now that we take more photos than we know what to deal with, we won't lose our originals—we'll just lose the organization. When Facebook and Instagram are inevitably replaced, we'll be left without the context, without the comments, without anything but a privately stored pile of raw images named DCIM_2518.JPG.

Just a heap of bullshit, really."
nickdouglas  flickr  metadata  photography  2014  instagram  tags  tagging  search  storage  facebook  tumblr  imgur  twitter  picasa  zooomr  photobucket  archives  archiving  creativecommons  realtime  foursquare  googlemaps  snapchat  anildash  googleimagesearch  technology  regression  socialmedia  fragmentation  interoperability 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Why trains run slower now than they did in the 1920s. - By Tom Vanderbilt - Slate Magazine [via: http://www.good.is/post/trains-getting-slower-all-the-time/]
"Hovering over all of these causal factors is a widespread societal shift that occurred, one that saw the streamliners of the 1930s eclipsed by the glamour of the jet age, as well as the postwar automobile boom and the building of the Interstate Highway System. Passenger trains lost their priority to freight, and there simply wasn't the same cultural imperative for speed and luxury on the trains (a condition rather unintentionally satirized in the schlock 1979 TV series Supertrain—the conveyance in question was atom-powered—whose magnate decried "the pitiful state of rail passenger travel in this country today"). Where the Twentieth Century Limited had once touted its trains as having a "barber, fresh and salt water baths, valet, ladies' maid, manicurist, stock and market reports, telephone at terminal [and] stenographer," Amtrak is now scrambling to simply equip itself with Wi-Fi—a technology already available on the bare-bones Bolt bus."
trains  us  transportation  speed  regression 
may 2009 by robertogreco

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