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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 1.19.2024

Updated: Jan 25

“Are you with me now” A J Ryder


The Late, Late Show – Nat King Cole


I’m writing this TGIF late because the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Earlier in the day, Andrew was feeling that perhaps our time has come. Perhaps he’s on to something. Nevertheless, I’m feeling there’s something in the air.


And speaking of air…. 

Danny Corwin, Executive Director of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools got some airtime. He testified at a Congressional Hearing on CTE referencing the data showing that only 3% of the entire federal educational budget is spent on CTE. This low percentage is in the context of so many policymakers, industry leaders and educators talking about internships, apprenticeships and the value students get by entering into the trades and other workforce programs. Our work with Harbor Freight Fellows supports this effort by elevating the trades showing integration of academic and tacit learning through developing strong relationships with adults in the field. In our latest efforts to get the word out, I was on a call with Beth and Zoe (the videographer of Habitat for Aviation) about ways to promote the trades both new and old. To go along with the question of rigor or as I say vigor, one notion was to show on social media the rigorous work that our Fellows are actually doing with the tagline – Says Who? Who says, this is not academic? Who says, this is not difficult?



At the same time as this Congressional hearing on CTE, The Center for Education and Workforce released its latest report:

 I read the report and unfortunately for me the bad news about closing gender and racial inequalities with regards to numbers of degrees and earnings from attaining those college degrees outweighs the good news of a higher percentage of people obtaining college degrees with higher earnings.


Here’s a few quotes:

“While all racial/ethnic groups increased their educational attainment, substantial attainment gaps persist between white adults and Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Indigenous adults. Attainment gaps by race/ethnicity were significant in 2010, and they remained significant in 2020.”


“among adults with the same level of educational attainment, those from marginalized racial/ethnic groups are not paid the same as white adults.” The same is true for woman from any race.


One day I hope they change the name of this center to The Center for Workforce and Education. Perhaps then, they will also focus on the 55% of Americans who do not have college degrees and the type of education they need and want. Maybe, a focus on education for the workforce where students have the opportunity to do work that is meaningful to them will help us get the funding necessary for CTE. ‘Nuff said.


“There’s no room in my room!” Jill Olson-Crowley

Things are busy outside at our house. I’ve been involved with the building of shed as a new place for me so, I can get out of the way of all the constant company that we have coming in and out of our place.


One of the fun parts of this build is meeting all of the tradespeople. From carpentry to stucco, to concrete, to electrical to plastering everyone has to take a load of time to prep the space and then, with the flick of the hands, heart and head, et viola, it is up. How they work reminds me of how planning is done through prepping. This is where the little unseen problems get revealed. Here you are not just thinking your way to making but also making your way to thinking. This is the opposite of how schools operate. This is about muddling through problems and resolving them.

Given all of these goings on in the news and at home around the trades, it is no wonder that I noticed some old materials and writings I did on building and in this particular case, it was building cathedrals. I’ve always been in awe of cathedral builders – masons who by academic standards were mostly illiterate and had little knowledge of formal mathematics. So, how did they build these long-standing magnificent structures without written plans? Here’s a few notes I took from reading Etsuro Sotoo’s Dreams in Stone. Etsuro is the third-generation sculptor of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona:

  • There are no straight lines in the natural world. Curves, spirals, and twists are the energy of nature itself.

  • Create architecture with transparency

  • There are no design plans. He put more importance on 3-D models than on paper plans.

  • Good food is indispensable to produce good work

  • “You have to like work. If you like it, the more you work,the more energy you feel within yourself. If you get tired

          of working, it means, it’s not real work.”


Finally, going from one dreamer (Etsuro Sotoo) to another and as my deference to our Sankofa Retreat/Advance what caught my eye on my annual reading of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail on MLK Day was:


“If I have said anything in this letter that is an understatement of the truth and is indicative of an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything in this letter that is an overstatement of the truth and is indicative of my having a patience that makes me patient with anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me. Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,


Enjoy the weekend!

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