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CHAPTER 4 SETTING: The History of the Bronx Neighborhood ***“GET A GRIP ON MY REALITY. DON’T PUT ME DOWN AND THEN SMILE AT ME!”*** Blacks and Latinos constitute.

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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 4 SETTING: The History of the Bronx Neighborhood ***“GET A GRIP ON MY REALITY. DON’T PUT ME DOWN AND THEN SMILE AT ME!”*** Blacks and Latinos constitute."— Presentation transcript:

1 CHAPTER 4 SETTING: The History of the Bronx Neighborhood ***“GET A GRIP ON MY REALITY. DON’T PUT ME DOWN AND THEN SMILE AT ME!”*** Blacks and Latinos constitute 53% of New York City. However, 84% of Bronx and 96% of South Bronx residents are Black and Latino. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the label “South Bronxed” occurred. In 1974 the Milliken v. Bradley case weakened Brown v. the Board of Education, stating suburban districts did not have to participate in regional integration programs.

2 Three results of the Milliken v. Bradley case Caucasians fled for the suburbs Poverty took its toll in the Southern Neighborhood Crooked landlords decided to commit arson and collect fire insurance payments instead of rent payments from apartment tenants As the text suggests, these results and issues came, “to signify the ‘South Bronxed’ which is a syndrome of social ills, an era even, not exactly a place.” Surrounding neighborhoods from this area began reporting Deteriorating Housing Stock AND Rising Crime Rates

3 TO CONTINUE WITH THE BRONX NEIGHBORHOOD CHAPTER 4 SETTING Economic Inequality in the Bronx In 1999, the Bronx had the lowest per capita income in New York City ($13,959), which is one third of the per capita income in Manhattan. North Bronx residents are generally much more financially stable than South Bronx neighborhoods ($10,148).

4 Sistas and Brothas United (SBU) is a youth organizing group that works to improve conditions at school around the South and Northwest Bronx. SBUs Background From the “South Bronxed” era in the 1970s and 1980s, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) was formed in 1974 and helped neighborhood residents to address tenant issues. Over time the NWBCCC addressed education and environmental justice concerns as well. SBU is affiliated with NWBCCC. SBU is encouraged by parents and high school students in organizing educational campaigns. The student members saw that policy makers were able to listen, SOMETIMES. Repairs to schools were made, SOMETIMES.

5 SBU has affiliations with NWBCC but the difference is SBU has more youth, and so, the youth made it their own organization. Every school day from 2:00 to 8:00 pm, dozens of youth show up to volunteer on outreach and political campaigns for: New school facilities School safety concerns AND Overcrowding concerns OVERALL RESULTS OF SBU These campaigns have won thousands of dollars’ worth of school repairs, staged large protests for New York State school funding, garnered new school safety protocols, and even, created a brand new school facility from scratch, complete with its own administration and pedagogical mission.

6 THE STATE OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THE BRONX AREA South Bronx schools attended by SBU members HAVE: Overcrowding rates at 175—300%. For example, schools that have a 1,200 student capacity are seeing 3,000 students enrolled Bathrooms have missing stall doors and no toilet paper School gyms outside are converted into teaching car parking lots Upper-floor windows are missing glass panes and safety bars ***A key detail from the text*** “The metal detector is often the only thing working properly.” For perspective, let’s play one of America’s Favorite Games.

7 What If??? What if students can navigate through the jam-packed overcrowded hallways (without getting pushed around or smothered by the over cramping conditions), and this is a big WHAT IF, and then, can be aware of all broken down facilities (without taking a shortcut to class because the stairways are unsafe and there’s a huge crowd about to form at the cafeteria, and even though you need to use the bathroom, you can’t because the stalls have broken off hinges). Let’s say a student is able then to reach their locker and this is a big WHAT IF, but what if the student is able to allude the safety hazards as already mentioned and still have enough time to grab their text books with missing pages while a leaking pipe above their locker is dripping dirty water that stings their eyes. A student still has one minute to get past harassing police officers and dehumanizing metal detectors. What if a student can do this after every class seven times a day?

8 STUDENTS ARE AWARDED THESE DEPARTING GIFTS! A teacher who is unwilling to relate to an urban student A teacher who is not qualified to teach their discipline A teacher unwilling to teach any lesson, unless it is an assessment question A classroom that has no seats available, so you have to stand during class time Even if you could sit, the harassment from police has left you too sore Dehumanization from stupid antagonizing metal detectors A detached eye from the dirty water pipe drippings AND A ruptured bladder from excessively holding in your urine

9 “HELLO, LET’S MEET HECTOR…” We previously met Hector earlier in the text. Hector makes a cameo in Chapter 4. Hector attended John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx that had: High rates of violence Severe shortage of guidance counselors Broken escalators AND Unsuitable fire-safety mechanisms Hector was looking forward to talking to the Established Administrators about fixing up his school. Before Hector met with the Established Administrators, his academic record was secretly viewed by the Established Administration. Hector’s grades were not good

10 To the Established Administration, Hector’s critiques went unheard. In fact, the Established Administration viewed just the act of Hector critiquing the school’s issues reflected Hector’s low value of education rather than listening to his concerns, the Established Administration prejudged. Prejudging students is NOT cool! ***100% Positive Regard*** Is a key term and will be on the test later class. Hector transfers to a Satellite school. Hector is a founding member of Student-Teacher Alliance to Reform Schools (STARS). STARS unites Teachers and Students to work together toward the goal of reform. Hector took surveys for issues concerning Bronx teachers.

11 SURVEY TOPICS FOR BRONX TEACHERS 1.Overcrowding 2.Professional Development After the surveys and data was taken, Hector met with teachers in his Satellite school. Teachers praised his good work Teachers commended his Administration skills Teachers were down for helping Hector From this uniting teachers and students together as one, Hector is invited to go to exclusive Department of Education (DOE) meetings. Why? Why was there this resentment from when Hector originally addressed his thoughts and concerns to the Established Administration on his own? Key aspect, There was resentment by untrue biases and stereotypes of who Hector really is. How were these stereotypes believed?

12 AMERICA’S FAVORITE GAME: THE BLAME GAME! Bill Cosby and Orlando Patterson make cameos in this chapter as well as throughout the text. ***EXCESSIVELY POINTING THE FINGER AT OTHERS, OR THE BLAME GAME!*** Is another key term that will be on your test later in class. For this GAME, so-called experts like Cosby and Patterson and people who support these so-called experts JUST POINT THEIR FINGER AT GROUPS OF AMERICANS AND BLAME THEM FOR ISSUES IN SOCIETY!!! (This is prejudice. Even though you cannot expect a serious multifaceted problem be solved by pointing a finger at any one group because the problems facing schools are caused by many different factors, But, The Blame Game is fun for elitists.)

13 Cosby and Patterson and the media and anyone who believes this logic, love to play this silly game. These so-called experts believe… Because Urban Students (respect hip-hop music and hip-hop culture) AND Because Urban Students (wear hip-hop clothes) AND Because Urban Students (recite hip-hop lyrics) AND Because Urban Students (party) THEN, ***All Urban School issues are caused by Urban Students or Urban Parents. This reason is viewed as a “CULTURE OF FAILURE.” This logic is hasty overgeneralizing and is bluntly prejudiced.***

14 The objective of The Blame Game is once every American can believe in the “Culture of Failure,” then it doesn’t matter if urban schools are funded. Urban students, Blacks and Latinos, are stereotyped as “not valuing education.” (However, there has been Urban School issues for many years. Whenever there is injustice in society, whenever blaming a group for problems in society, whenever there is an issue facing Urban Schools, Think!) ***Unconditional Positive Regard***

15 FACT CHECK! A Youth Social Movement, Right Under Our Noses Since 1995 and 2000, twenty youth organizations were formed in New York City alone. In 2004, two groups joined SBU and formed Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC). By 2007, twelve groups and still more are banning together to join with UYC. The Funders’ Collaborative for Youth Organizing, began to award grants to these organizations as recent as 2001. Since then, cities across America have began a movement and the movement for change is only growing.

16 What do these organizations want? Ohio organizers lobbied for the state’s first law guaranteeing homeless students the right to a public education Oakland, California, organizers lobbied for subsidizing $27 monthly bus passes for low income families Philadelphia organizers insisted the city council require preparatory, and not generic versions of, math and science classes Eric Braxton, a Philadelphia Student Union’s Founder says, We questioned why shootings in suburban schools, like at Columbine, triggered the addition of support services, while our schools respond to putting in more metal detectors and more cops (which can take away basic education and counselling funding.

17 To expand on the previous quote, these organizations also deal with police, safety and metal detector urban school issues like, Chicago protested a set of cruel and unusual policies that prompted thousands of expulsions and police arrests for many students who were playing in a snowball fight New York City pledged to refrain from name-calling and homophobic language and convinced Bushwick High School to open a second entrance so students would not to have to wait more than ninety minutes each morning just to go through metal detectors to enter the school 1,500 students walked out of DeWitt Clinton High School and marched two miles to protest the use of metal detectors and excessive force by armed police at their school Two weeks later in New York City, John F. Kennedy High School organized a silent sit- in to protest eliminating 4 of the 10 guidance counselor positions ***For three text pages, urban students across America have gone out of their way to demand access to a meaningful and challenging preparatory education.***

18 YET, In his 2004 Brown speech, Cosby claims “These people” are spending money on expensive sneakers instead of on Hooked on Phonics. A FINAL COSBY WORD Ultimately in the 1980s, Bill Cosby had a Jell-O Pudding Pop commercial campaign. Maybe he sucked and ate too many and his brain became a gelatinous mess of incoherent beliefs and ramblings that have no concrete evidence of research and logic to make any sense of school systems and how to solve any issue with sincerity, or: ***Unconditional Positive Regard***

19 OTHER MEDIA BIASES There is one point the author of this chapter makes by conducting his research. The writer uses KEYWORD INTERNET SEARCHES FROM NEWSPAPER ARTICLES For Example, Let’s Take an Issue Such As: School Reform Results were: News articles about Caucasian youth students who want school reform, Have detailed “quotes” and “pictures” of these students, and this “Humanized” their concerns. However, Urban students, Black and Latino youth students who want school reform, Are not represented by “quotes” or “pictures” AND include misinformed or sidetracked stories about hip-hop, drug use and other stereotypes that “dehumanize” their character and their concerns.

20 Fact check, Furthermore, another source did research and their results were similar. “When members of Youth Force, an organization dedicated to reducing the incarceration of young people, systematically analyzed all ninety-three New York Times articles, they found that identifiable white youth defendants were quoted in roughly half of the articles; while identifiable Black or Latino youth defendants were quoted zero times.” In addition, there is an interesting recent NY Times article. s-before-hes-even- born/?_r=0

21 THE “LOVE THING” AT SBU Meet ROSALINDA, she… Loves books, is a “good” student, and teachers have said about her… *** “If there were more students like her, then…WELL?” *** Others may claim also, “If students were more like Rosalinda, students and schools would succeed.” Although Rosalinda is an “A” student, sometimes “good” students may somehow believe that they deserve a good education more than other youth peers at school. Teachers and Students have fallen victim of Cosby and other so-called experts who have fun playing The Blame Game!

22 Since joining SBU Rosalinda states she is a less “judgmental person.” … I was young and kind of naïve… I was so ignorant about the world outside me. I used to look at young people and see them cursing, talking about things on the street. I used to look at them with contempt, to be honest. Now, I kind of understand… I’ve met a lot of people here who are those kids who have changed or seen things happen. To be honest, to use a term I’ve been using a lot lately, I was “in the box.” SBU members are inclusive to all urban students! Some may have “good” grades. Some may have “bad” grades. The one common thread between all members is they want SOCIAL CHANGE and EMPOWERMENT. ***TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX*** is a key term for battling social injustice!

23 Meet Nathaniel, he… Spent time in Western Pennsylvania living in a trailer, in order to reacquaint with his father. Nathaniel returned to the Bronx because his mother’s apartment burned down. While in Pennsylvania, Nathaniel, held an after-school job and used his earnings for his mother’s well-being. Nathaniel and his mother live in a homeless shelter. Meanwhile, Nathaniel’s brother is in prison. Nathaniel helps to look after two younger siblings Nathaniel’s grades were not good from ALL these concerns Nathaniel’s friend happened to be a SBU leader, Michael, who encouraged him to join SBU. Nathaniel was inspired to see his friend, Michael, who was “just like him” in a powerful position. From SBU the youth became more involved in official and unofficial school affairs and were able to trust people and learn about positive collective activity with a sense of agency.

24 CHANGE CAN HAPPEN When, Urban teachers give the urban youth a chance AND Urban youth and urban teachers ban together in strength by numbers

25 Meet Lisa, she… Enjoys the outdoors and was a member of New York Conservationists (NYC). Lisa met Earnest from SBU. Lisa switched because SBU was: More vocal and active Were doing more constructive things AND SBU youth understood her Lisa was always concerned about her public school. SBU gave her a platform to vocalize her outrage, Before I never knew where to start, or where to go from here… I thought, ‘What could I do here by myself?’ And the truth is, you can’t do anything by yourself; you have to have a crowd of people with you to make sure you’ll be heard. And when I came to SBU people said, ‘Hey, you think school sucks?’ ‘So do I.’ ‘That’s great; let’s work on it!’

26 THE LOVE THING IS APPARNT So-called experts like Cosby or others who agree with him suggest, “Only tougher standards will get students to motivate and suddenly do better in school. Furthermore, Urban Students do not value education.” FACT CHECK When students are challenged, work hard, and find a way to communicate with their teachers, students feel excited for learning. In order to make change, students need structure and a means of EMPOWERMENT before openly challenging school reform. SBU changed Nathaniel’s view of being hardened by society. Nathaniel never felt safe or comfortable in his school. SBU has “Opened his eyes.” He used to feel powerless.

27 SBU provides students with the means to express frustrations with their schooling that they could not convey before. Many of these students had become resigned to the notion that their opinions would never be taken seriously, that their attempts to change things would not make a difference, and they did not have the power or recourse to gain the attention of people who mattered anyway. GETTING THE ESTABLISHED ADMINISTRATORS ATTENTION SBU knew school the conditions of their public schools were, “appalling” and “inferior.” Heard on the evening newscasts: “These schools are full of violence.” No matter if these stories were exaggerated, or not, there was no doubt a presence of: Police Metal Detectors Harried Teachers

28 Nathaniel puts his finger on the issue by stating when he tells others he is from the Bronx area, some respond, “Oh, you’re from there, have you been shot before?” Nathaniel casts these responses as “closed-minded” and “ignorant.” However, from the media influences and from his experience attending Urban Schools, Nathaniel felt like he was “walking on eggshells in school.” LISTEN TO US, WE ARE YOUTH The Established Administrators have voiced their viewpoint at the meetings: ***“You’re students, you have no place in the system, what are you doing here?”*** Rosalinda, a SBU member’s hopeful viewpoint: ***“Yes we do and that’s what we are demanding. Sometimes it is hard because people do not listen to us. But that’s another motivation to keep us going. We’ll go to the next person.”***

29 CLIMAX OF CHAPTER 4 The obstacles facing SBU youth were (and are) high. Sometimes it took guts for these students to show policy makers that they meant business. Michael’s account of one incident: Once at a huge meeting we were having with Dennis Wolcott, the Deputy Mayor of Education, in a huge auditorium at Martin Luther King High School, I see that he is not paying attention. He’s sitting there, playing with his palm pilot like this, when I am talking about the concerns we have. So I stop talking, lift up my chair, and walk across the room, around the table to where he is sitting, and plop my chair down next to him so I am in his face and he can listen to me. I saw (the then director of NWBCCC) looking at me like, ‘What are you doing!!?” But after I did that, he listened. And at the end of the meeting, we were all going, and he comes up to me and says, ‘Do not leave me without shaking my hand.’

30 Even with a happy ending handshake, this quote suggests the Established Administration originally presumed that Urban Students at the meeting did not value their education enough or had nothing to voice. The SBU needed knowledge of how schools are supposed to work. SBU used statistical analysis and political structures. They were trained by each other and the organization to: Read government documents Access and process public data Work with universities and research institutions to collect evidence of inequalities in the school system. Issues of concern were: Discipline rates Overcrowding Building occupation rates Percentages of certified teachers Etc. And so on…

31 Do Inequalities exist? Listen to Michael’s account: With my little cousin—he went to summer school, and that’s punishment alone. Then, I am helping him with his homework and picking up his book. I see that I can’t help him with his homework because there’s a hundred pages missing. Before, I would just feel like it is all right, that’s the way it usually goes, and just leave it alone. This time, I thought of the history of resources going into the different schools, and about school budgets, how they are determined. Me, myself and I need to learn about the larger picture. I got mad.

32 Nathaniel stated that despite the numbers, he had not believed that funding disparities ran along racial lines. Until he drew from his life away from the Bronx and living with his father in Pennsylvania. He compared overcrowding conditions in the Bronx: My father was already living out there, so I decided to go out there and live with him…In the trailer park, it was beautiful; all that space! Whoa! They had a good sense of community in that school, too. They had Homecoming, they had a football field, they had basketball games, they had concession stands, they had Pajama Day, when you wore your best pajamas there, they had Halloween parties, Christmas parties, parties all the time…These things made a big difference because schools are kind of like a home; you’re there most of the time…I never knew what field hockey was until I got there. I was like, ‘What is that?’ I thought it was a new sport they just made up when I got there.

33 This culture shock of living in western Pennsylvania gave Nathaniel a notion of what school could be like. Nathaniel continues: I felt like there was better education out there. They had resources…I do not think they had money problems. Like when it came time for science class, you actually get to do science experiments. Now, we just take notes…We do not have science labs; we do not have any of that stuff. It was experience in other school districts that the students realized suburban residents were not more deserving of a good education than they were. Nathaniel, who is African American and was greeted with the Confederate Flag and quite a bit of overt, racist hostility in Pennsylvania.

34 Nathaniel also says: There just isn’t enough diversity in both parts—not enough whites in our schools, and not enough Blacks in their schools. And most of the kids there, they all had money! And people say, oh, that they want it based on academics? No, they can’t. A lot of kids out here, that are the same as out there. It is not based on academics at all. Many people out there, they are poor and on welfare just like here, but they get to go to great schools?! I was like, ‘Wow.’ A lot of people out there had better schools, resources…better gyms, with better equipment there were no problems, no problems. With all the statistics and his life experience of attending a suburb school in Pennsylvania and returning to the Bronx school district. Nathaniel’s conclusion is: ***“Race is a key factor in these differences.”***

35 OVERVIEW SO FAR The meetings the SBU had with DOE Established Administration, these Established Administrators ignored the SBU members. Some of these Established Administrators may have been Latino and African American. But, the “culture talk” stories from so-called experts and people who support this reasoning, was too imbedded within society. Making things worse, American schools are so racially segregated, most SBU leaders did not know that White students show that they too behaved well sometimes and poorly sometimes. Segregation makes it easier for policy makers and media pundits to sell racial stereotypes, since most individual students do not have personal experiences to refute these messages.

36 STARS QUEST FOR A FRESH, NEW SCHOOL SBU leadership has led to the STARS program, Rosalinda notes: When I first joined, we were starting to do interviews with teachers, we worked on making a survey. We came up with survey questions, formatted them, put them in order, and then we started to talk to teachers and students about how they felt about each other…I was discouraged a little by it because it was not as active as it should have been…We had asking questions face to face in mind, but then the teachers never had time to meet with us; there was always something going on. At each step along the way, SBU members went through a slow, painstaking process of proving themselves to each authority figure they wished to impress and disproving their stereotypes about lazy teenagers who cared for nothing but “Bling” and “Sex.” Most of the Established Administration feel urban students had no right to speak about their schools.

37 ***But, Urban Students persisted!*** Laura, a youth organizer’s take: The teachers who came to these meetings were blown away. They saw students who they had pegged as troublemakers leading discussions about teaching and learning. Our point was to show teachers that youth do care about their learning. If teachers took the time to talk with the students, they would know what is going on in the student’s life and why they missed school or acted the way they did. We said, ‘Your job is to find out—What leadership qualities does this student have? How can you draw out those qualities at school?’ If students had a chance to shine in schools, they would do better. But that means someone inside the school has to take the time to get to know the student.

38 Eventually, SBU members were invited by New Visions for Public Schools to submit a proposal for a brand new school under new construction under the New Century High School Initiative, a program that began in 2002 and focuses on opening dozens of small public schools in New York City. Fernando Carlo, a high school student who worked on this proposal during his high school years says, We are trying to design a school where youth have an actual voice—besides sitting on a student council and figuring out what parties to throw—in figuring out what funds go to what programs and how teachers are hired, and in designing the curriculum…A lot of educators are not used to hearing that type of thing from youth, and it scared them.

39 New Visions for Public Schools was approved. The new school is called: The Leadership Institute. The school focuses on leadership, social justice, and community action, the themes that made such a tremendous difference in the lives of SBU members. IN THE END According to Shoshana Daniels, a Leadership Institute faculty member, We developed an interdisciplinary curriculum that links academic learning with…the skills they need to develop campaigns for social change: how to conduct research on land- use policies, for example: how to analyze and present data about available tracts for land in our neighborhood that could be used for new school facilities: how to interview experts; how to develop well-supported position papers on key strategies; how to write compelling letters to elected officials; and how to speak persuasively at press conferences. We believe that true learning happens when students, not teachers, are at the center of the learning experience. The role of the teacher is to create an environment in which students can ask critical questions and develop projects that help them find answers.

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