Well you certainly got this one wrong. But vilify me if it brings you pleasure. It is YOU who assumes that free and reduced lunch students are part of our Hispanic population. I claim poverty is the best predictor of educational outcomes and this is where we need to commit resources such as those in the head start program. There is a near one to one correlation. It always has been and the proof is easy to find. As a matter of fact, you should look up the ethnic group who is most impoverished and you would be very surprised to find out they are NOT Hispanic. I only mentioned free and reduced lunch students and you assume they are Hispanic and you call me prejudiced? Did you know I contribute my salary to Take Stock in Children so these free and reduced students can go to college? I’ll take your arrows Sloan because people who know me know better. You obviously don’t know me. AndyHere is what Larry Murray of the Audit & Finance Committee had sent to me:
According to today’s Citizen, during a discussion on the abysmal attendance rate in District schools, Andy Griffiths was quoted as saying:
“These are staggering numbers. Most of these numbers come from those free and reduced lunch programs, I’m guessing.
I crawled out of bed and went online and saw nothing. Then, your email came in, which confirmed my worst fears. I apologize and will publish your email and my reply tomorrow.
You told me the night Craig Cates was reelected that you contributed your salary to college scholarships for high school graduates who needed financial help, and you had, when times weren’t so lean, been able to get matching donations from the State of Florida, yes? And from other Keys people, yes? I told you I had not heard of that and commended you for it.
I imagine African-American families are the most impoverished ethnic group. They are in Alabama and seem to be in Key West.
Thank you Sloan,
I truly appreciate your reply.
Further from Andy:
TSIC contributions used to be 4:1 so I was generating an incredible amount of funds and loving it. The local group has stopped their match and now we only get the state match which is 2:1. However they purchase the scholarships when the student is in 7th grade so they beat inflation over the next five years.
Nationally the most impoverished group are WHITES. I am not sure how Monroe County compares but my whole point is that poverty does not have a monopoly on any ethic group. The difference in poverty is that some eat dinner with two parents at the table every night and they may attend church every Sunday. They parents might read to them. So in education we recognize there are differences in the poverty group. Students who come from impoverished families can still have non monetary assets that help them with their education. It is our responsibility (speaking as a Democrat) to assist those without assets. Philanthropy just won’t quite foot the bill. Kids don’t pick their parents so the village has to step up or pay the consequences down the road but you know that.
Audit & Finance Committee member Larry Murray’s reply to yesterday’s post:
Wish you had said something to Andy at the meeting or later. I wouldn’t have known had Gwen not reported it in her last paragraph.
I like your idea of requiring fluency in Spanish of new teachers. I think it’s an idea well worth pursuing.
You certainly are as deservedly proud of your daughter as I am of my two girls. Aren’t we lucky dads?!
Have two daughters. Eye doctor Alice is youngest. They have declined to communicate with me since early 2000, no reasons given. Internet allows me to keep up with them somewhat.
Got clobbered in nap dreams after putting up today’s post, re what I wrote about Andy. The part about requiring fluency in Spanish in Keys school children and Keys teachers was okay.
Only three minutes for citizens to speak at school board meetings. I spoke to the .5 mil referendum and dire consequences of it not being passed, and to the dire need for the school board and school district to rectify next year’s budget shortfall, minimum $4 million, even if the .5 mil referendum passes. I also spoke to the issue of school should be interesting to kids, which it was not for me until my senior year at Vanderbilt. I said every day in grammar school was like being sent to prison as far as I was concerned.
I understand. Can’t win ‘em all, but we’ll try. Your blog compensates for time limitations at meetings. Don’t fret about what you said about Andy. He has it coming.
As for daughters, I, too, am estranged from my youngest, an attorney/lobbyist in Tacoma. Fortunately, I have a strong and positive relationship with my oldest.
Sloan Bashinsky has offered what I think is a good idea. He suggests that all new teachers be required to be fluent in Spanish.A requirement may be a bit strong, but a preference should be, at a minimum, mandatory. We need to prepare our students for the real world, particularly South Florida and 90 miles from Havana.
Audit & Finance Committee
Monroe County School District
I don’t think Larry’s recommendation to Superintendent Jesus Jara goes nearly far enough. I say again what I said yesterday, all Keys school children should be fluent in Spanish, and the teaching should begain in first grade, and all Keys teacher new hires should be fluent in Spanish, with a goal of all Keys teachers eventually becoming fluent. More on that further along.
Received this reply to yesterday’s post from a career educator in south Florida, whom I met at Looe Key Tiki Bar in 2006. He summers in this area of the Keys and sometimes in the past has contributed his words of wisdom to topics I address in posts:
Sloan – No doubt in my mind that the free and reduced price food programs in schools is an incentive to attend, not a basis to be absent. I have had students tell me that if they didin’t come to school they would not eat….for a board member to make a “guess” in a public forum does not say good things….bottom line – free/reduced price lunch programs have absolutely nothing to do with attendance or lack of attendance…..in my oppinion, based on 39 years in the business, poverty is an incentive to attend, not a deterrant – not sure where Andy is coming from…que bueno que tu hija habla español..es maravilloso tener 2 idiomas, y en nuestra patria hay mucha gente de habla español, especialment en el sur de la Florida y los cayos……Miguelito
Here’s my dilemma. I don’t trust myself to know what I should write and publish. I got full clearance to publish the remarks about Andy Griffiths being racially prejudiced against Hispanic people. If I don’t trust my writing guidance to be 100 percent bullet proof, which I no longer do after yesterday, what do I do? What I did was tell the angels find someone smart enough to do it right without their help, or at least smart enough to know when they fuck up. I would not have written anything about the school district yesterday, if the angels had not given me those dreams. You cannot imagine how terrifying it is for me to slam the angels in this way. You cannot imagine what they can do, and have done, to me with just a wave of the hand.
After writing that with trepidation yesterday in a draft of this post, I took a drive just to get out of the house, er, trailer. I drove to Looke Key Tiki Bar, where I had met Mickey in 2006. I went there before I had gotten Mickey’s email. En route, I received information along the line that children born into families whose first language is Spanish have trouble learning in American schools, compared to American students whose first language is American English. Moreso, if Spanish children are not encouraged to speak English in their homes. Made sense to me, but I had no way of verifying it, until I returned home and read Mickey’s email.
I have the same problem Spanish kids have, whose families speak Spanish at home. Angel is not my first language, and I have as much trouble with it as I imagine kids from Spanish-speaking homes probably have with being taught in American English at school. However, Spanish kids are not given what I am given to address, and their language difficulties carry different consequences than my language difficulties. Just as Spanish-first-language kids need to be taught by teachers who are fluent in Spanish and in American English, I need to be taught by angels who are fluent in my native toungue – IF THEY WANT ME TO GET IT RIGHT. If that isn’t their aim, then what is their aim – PANDEMONIUM? SOUL DAMAGE?
Let me say it somewhat differently. Imagine you speak only American English. Imagine angels start speaking to you in hieroglyphics (dreams). Now imagine the angels start speaking to you in Spanish instead. Did that help you understand the angels any better? Of course not. How long would you have to study and speak Spanish to understand it in its various idioms? Many years, like happened with my daughter Alice. How many years longer would you have to study and speak hieroglyphics to understand it in its various idioms? Perhaps half your lifetime, or longer.
I still say the angels should find someone smart as them to do their dirty work. LOL. And I still say all teachers in the Keys should be fluent in Spanish and in American English, and all English-speaking Keys students should be fluent in Spanish. LOL. Keys Anglos are more concerned about being Americans than about teaching Anglo and Hispanic school children what will help them get along in life. If that ain’t racial prejudice against Hispanic people, then what is it?
Meanwhile, perhaps Andy Griffiths might wish to consider rerouting his school board salary back to the school district, to insure the district can afford to hire dieticians who know pizza is not a vegegable. In Alabama, the poorest, least-educated black families know pizza is not a vegetable, and if you don’t eat collard and turnip greens regularly, you have bad health.
I usually can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.