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  • John Blakely posted an update in the group Group logo of Rural and Small Schools PLNRural and Small Schools PLN 6 months, 1 week ago

    Colby and members of the Rural and Small Schools Group,

    I am genuinely disappointed to be unable to attend this month’s meeting. I can’t skype as I’ll be in the OR at Redwood Memorial (nothing too serious). Educationally, of the myriad meetings we attend I feel like ours is the most important. Below are a few quotes and brief notes (I couldn’t limit myself to one) from our reading that I thought were particularly significant.

    Cheers,
    John

    3-19-18

    Rural Education in the Twenty-First Century
    Notes

    I’ve included this note from Chapter One because I think it is a unifying thread that runs through all of reading.

    Chapter One

    P1 Learning that to be rural is to be sub-par.

    This rings true. Even within Humboldt County I think there is an attitude that more remote districts are fundamentally inferior to districts in and around population centers like Eureka, Arcata, and even McKinleyville and Fortuna.

    Chapter Five

    P95 transient students tend to be low income, low achieving, and high needs

    This has become painfully apparent to me this year through my work at Bridgeville. We have students who not only shuffle between local districts but move back and forth across the country as situations dictate.

    P97 … federal penitentiary system…long noted as one of the growth industries for the rural United States.

    This point is echoed in Chapters Seven and Eight and is exemplified locally by Pelican Bay in Crescent City and High Desert in Susanville. A particularly pernicious development in my view and sad commentary on the state of rural economies. And, another aspect of rural America’s sullied image.

    P104 …highly mobile students are institutionally unrecognized…
    This runs deeper than the fact that highly mobile students are not recognized an at-risk population and consequently not supported financially, it verifies CDE’s conscious refusal to recognize small and rural school districts in general.

    Chapter Six

    P117 Community into the Curriculum then was an attempt to develop curriculum from community sources.
    P 154 (From Chapter Eight) …teachers express frustration with the curriculum they are often asked to teach because they find it irrelevant to the lives of their students

    Warf Talk, Home Talk, and School Talk was revelatory for me in a lot of different ways helping me consider points of view and issues I had previously not been aware of.
    The above two excerpts are inextricably linked as a problem and an approach to a solution. The lives of rural/remote children do not have the same more global frame of reference as the lives of suburban and urban students. Districts and students are different, often fundamentally different. Common Core State Standards don’t work. Yikes!

    P119 When we say or even imply to an individual that the way they use language is wrong, we say a great deal about the worth of that person.
    I’d never considered this particular perspective when “correcting” (insisting on Standard English) students,’ or even adults for that matter, speech. It makes me rethink my position, currently without resolution, regarding the issue of correct speech. This quote, P124 I wanted them to be bilingual, code switchers using context bridging knowledge, makes sense to me. I’ve always been a proponent of, what I call, the Appropriateness Rule often when disciplining students for use of profanity at school; different situations are appropriate for different behaviors.

    P123 …disembodied and abstract institutional spaces “expert systems”, where crucial “symbolic tokens” like educational credentials are dispensed and transformed into various forms of capital.
    This extract is valuable for reminding us to put formal education in perspective and understand some of its crasser implications. Also, helps us make sure that we don’t need wider doors for those with varying degrees of degrees.

    Chapter Seven

    I honestly found this selection the weakest and least relevant of our current readings. Help me if you disagree.

    P 133 …looking at two complementary spheres: the school system and labor market.

    Consensus theory and conflict theory.

    Chapter Eight

    Conversely, I thought this chapter extremely rich.

    P150 …the demographics of rural Pennsylvania parallel many of the socioeconomic characteristics of urban core areas.

    This is another idea I had never considered and immediately struck a chord. Low wages, service sector jobs, out-migration, etc. are phenomenon that both hold in common. It also is evidence the development of an ever more polarizing class structure in America.

    P162 The drive for efficiency and standardization has moved decisions away from local groups to the hands of the state and corporations.
    P162 Young people are schooled to compete with one another and ultimately leave the rural community in search of economic prosperity, which depletes the population, resources, and potential for many rural communities.

    Education systems designed for urban-centered school districts stifle small, rural/remote districts creating draconian workloads for staff, irrelevant curriculum for students, and a disintegrating influence on communities.

    Colby and members of the Rural and Small Schools Group,

    I am genuinely disappointed to be unable to attend this month’s meeting. I can’t skype as I’ll be in the OR at Redwood Memorial (nothing too serious). Educationally, of the myriad meetings we attend I feel like ours is the most important. Below are a few quotes and brief notes (I couldn’t limit myself to one) from our reading that I thought were particularly significant.

    Cheers,
    John

    3-19-18

    Rural Education in the Twenty-First Century
    Notes

    I’ve included this note from Chapter One because I think it is a unifying thread that runs through all of reading.

    Chapter One

    P1 Learning that to be rural is to be sub-par.

    This rings true. Even within Humboldt County I think there is an attitude that more remote districts are fundamentally inferior to districts in and around population centers like Eureka, Arcata, and even McKinleyville and Fortuna.

    Chapter Five

    P95 transient students tend to be low income, low achieving, and high needs

    This has become painfully apparent to me this year through my work at Bridgeville. We have students who not only shuffle between local districts but move back and forth across the country as situations dictate.

    P97 … federal penitentiary system…long noted as one of the growth industries for the rural United States.

    This point is echoed in Chapters Seven and Eight and is exemplified locally by Pelican Bay in Crescent City and High Desert in Susanville. A particularly pernicious development in my view and sad commentary on the state of rural economies. And, another aspect of rural America’s sullied image.

    P104 …highly mobile students are institutionally unrecognized…
    This runs deeper than the fact that highly mobile students are not recognized an at-risk population and consequently not supported financially, it verifies CDE’s conscious refusal to recognize small and rural school districts in general.

    Chapter Six

    P117 Community into the Curriculum then was an attempt to develop curriculum from community sources.
    P 154 (From Chapter Eight) …teachers express frustration with the curriculum they are often asked to teach because they find it irrelevant to the lives of their students

    Warf Talk, Home Talk, and School Talk was revelatory for me in a lot of different ways helping me consider points of view and issues I had previously not been aware of.
    The above two excerpts are inextricably linked as a problem and an approach to a solution. The lives of rural/remote children do not have the same more global frame of reference as the lives of suburban and urban students. Districts and students are different, often fundamentally different. Common Core State Standards don’t work. Yikes!

    P119 When we say or even imply to an individual that the way they use language is wrong, we say a great deal about the worth of that person.
    I’d never considered this particular perspective when “correcting” (insisting on Standard English) students,’ or even adults for that matter, speech. It makes me rethink my position, currently without resolution, regarding the issue of correct speech. This quote, P124 I wanted them to be bilingual, code switchers using context bridging knowledge, makes sense to me. I’ve always been a proponent of, what I call, the Appropriateness Rule often when disciplining students for use of profanity at school; different situations are appropriate for different behaviors.

    P123 …disembodied and abstract institutional spaces “expert systems”, where crucial “symbolic tokens” like educational credentials are dispensed and transformed into various forms of capital.
    This extract is valuable for reminding us to put formal education in perspective and understand some of its crasser implications. Also, helps us make sure that we don’t need wider doors for those with varying degrees of degrees.

    Chapter Seven

    I honestly found this selection the weakest and least relevant of our current readings. Help me if you disagree.

    P 133 …looking at two complementary spheres: the school system and labor market.

    Consensus theory and conflict theory.

    Chapter Eight

    Conversely, I thought this chapter extremely rich.

    P150 …the demographics of rural Pennsylvania parallel many of the socioeconomic characteristics of urban core areas.

    This is another idea I had never considered and immediately struck a chord. Low wages, service sector jobs, out-migration, etc. are phenomenon that both hold in common. It also is evidence the development of an ever more polarizing class structure in America.

    P162 The drive for efficiency and standardization has moved decisions away from local groups to the hands of the state and corporations.
    P162 Young people are schooled to compete with one another and ultimately leave the rural community in search of economic prosperity, which depletes the population, resources, and potential for many rural communities.

    Education systems designed for urban-centered school districts stifle small, rural/remote districts creating draconian workloads for staff, irrelevant curriculum for students, and a disintegrating influence on communities.

    • Thank you John for your thoughtful comments. We’ll miss you, but even your notes will add to the dialogue. Your quote from page 162 really resonated with me. In my experience as a rural student and parent this is exactly what I saw–the driven students leave the area to “succeed.” While I think it’s important for them to have experiences in a larger context, perhaps we can do more to make them cognizant of the powerful (and personally fulfilling) impact they can have here.

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