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Elliot Washor's TGIF 08.05.22

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder


­­Vast New Study Shows a Key to Reducing Poverty: More Friendships Between Rich and Poor

The study found that if poor children grew up in neighborhoods where 70 percent of their friends were wealthy — the typical rate of friendship for higher-income children — it would increase their future incomes by 20 percent, on average.

These cross-class friendships — what the researchers called economic connectedness — had a stronger impact than school quality, family structure, job availability or a community’s racial composition. The people you know, the study suggests, open up opportunities, and the growing class divide in the United States closes them off.

Although I like parts of the story that the data tells and I like the size of the data pool, isolating one variable when there is way more to this story is dangerous and sends many folks down the trail of chasing THE GOLDEN algorithm for the sake of efficiency and scale. Once again correlation may not equal causation and more income does not necessarily equate to better health, quality of life, being part of a community and more

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”

Ah! If only our instruments were only as good as our eyes. My bet is that these researchers knew what the outcome was going to be before they started the study and in this case, it is economic connectedness. Once again, money is what matters. But, two of the many things they didn’t tackle were the peer to peer and adult to youth relationships around shared interests and searching for meaning. Now if these were measured along with to economic connectedness what do you think the eureka of the study would be? Thus far, these types of mega (Meta - Facebook) researchers always seem to miss so many important factors.

Once again, we are left with What? So, what? Now what? questions. And unfortunately, the Now what? response will be to move solely toward economic connectedness and perhaps away from - Who You Know or even more sadly, Who Knows You Know What You Know – social capital. We already know this will take us right to where we are presently. Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose.

Go up for Glory by Bill Russell

Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man – By Bill Russell and Taylor Branch

Starting in the 7th grade, when I finally could read, I read biographies of athletes. Then, my favorite was Roy Campanella’s – It’s Good to Be Alive. I had a strong emotional connection to this book because I was sitting in the front seat between my dad and uncle when the news came on the car radio about Roy Campanella being in a horrible car crash. Being in a car myself right at the time and watching the reaction of my dad and uncle were two marks in time that have stayed with me my entire life.

I continued to read biographies of athletes throughout my life. Their lives tell the history of race, class and gender in the US. Decades later, Bill Russell’s autobiographies, Go Up for Glory and Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man still top my list. I bought these books for loads of people and used them in book talks with groups of students.

I don’t get star-struck much but one of those times was meeting Bill Russell. How he dealt with life’s up’s and down’s, the righteous decisions that he made and actions he took that both defied and changed public opinion will remain with many of us for a very long time.

Graduation for the 3-1-1 Credential is set for August 18th. The Mayor and the Superintendent of Newark will be there along with others. I can’t believe this is really happening. All to the credit of this wonderful diverse team. As Casey Stengel once said, “It’s easy to get good players. Getting ‘em to play together –that’s the hard part.” This statement also holds for our Wednesday meeting. Really the entire purpose of these meetings that have been on-going for the last two years is what Casey manifested. The Wednesday Meeting is a group of directors that each have their own practices and where each one has been at it for over two decades. I keep singing the song, “If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never know me.” For my part, I have to keep on playing what Count Basie called the two-note philosophy of keeping the band together. This story goes something like, one band member said to the others, “Basie doesn’t do shit around here. All he does is play the same two notes over and over.” One of the other members said, “Yeah, that’s right but you outta here the band when Basie doesn’t play those two notes.” And, if the two notes don’t work, one of his other line calls the question, “This bands gotta disband.”


Here’s a sample of Namahana’s Design Set. Above is the land the buildings will be on. There’s a great deal to do before the school officially opens in 2025 and the capital campaign is high up on the list.


This week I gave a keynote at the What School Could Be Summit on Learning Through Play. The feedback was great and my finale was from our Leaving to Learn Duck Walk at Big Bang










Checkout the Blog Andrea Calvin put together the LEGO activity from Big Bang. It’s great.


In by inch,

Row by row,

And Now,

Brick by Brick



Next week, Charlie and I are off to Port of Los Angeles, Alta Sea and Dana Point


Be well!

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