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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 2.2.2024

“Are you with me now” A J Ryder



What? Pulling Back? You would think like I think that because of escalating problems they would contribute more funds to a city, not less to help resolve the problems. Are they kidding? Of course complex problems “cannot be easily fixed.” That’s why they are complex problems. Complex situations are dynamic, they never get completely resolved. They get understood and managed in ways that make sense. I remember when we first decided to go to Camden to start a school. The Gates Foundation objected, telling us we couldn’t go to Camden because it was too difficult a place to work. We told them, “That’s exactly why we are going.” Nuff said.


Danique’s talk at the staff meeting today reminded me of an article I read about the epidemic of limb amputations from diabetes of San Antonio men - Diabetes Is Fueling an Amputation Crisis for Men in San Antonio


“A lethal combination of genetics, poor access to health care and diets high in processed foods is fueling a diabetes crisis in Latino communities, especially in Texas.”


Not once did they talk about prevention by lifestyle measures to manage diabetes. Sadly, there’s lots of work to do out there.

Winnipeg – “Blow this shit up”

 That was the introduction of longtime friend and Superintendent Matt Henderson to his 60 or so middle and high school principals and the administrative team when he introduced Sonn and I. Needless to say we had a great four-day visit to The Winnipeg School Division (30,000 students). After this big meeting, we visited schools and spoke with staff and students. When you think of Winnipeg, Canada you may not think of diversity but when you get there, you’re shocked by who the students are and where they come from. To start off, there is a very large First Nations population and then, students from all over Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, The Philippines and a host of other places. Matt realizes BPL is a design that works for this community and is needed.


Throughout our visit Sonn and I exchanged origin stories with staff. As a teenager, Mohammad Rezai – Assistant Superintendent of Anti-racism, Equity and Climate Justice was shot twice leaving Iran on a two-year journey through the mountain region to get to Turkey and Vin Huynh, the Principal of Gordon Bell High School told us of his journey from Vietnam to Malaysia to the prairie of Manitoba. Vin spoke so eloquently about how his entire culture that went through hundreds of years of invasions deals with suffering. Both Mohammad's and Vin’s commitment to children is extraordinary because of their journeys.

When we visited Jennifer Donachuk at Children of the Earth High School, we participated in a ceremony facilitated by Objibway, Métis and Cree women and students that was just the highlight of our time. The ways of knowing and being made us feel part of and not apart from.


The work in Winnipeg has a fifteen-year history. Brian O’Leary, my first encounter in Winnipeg is now the Minister of Education in the Province of Manitoba and Ben Carr, former Maples Met principal is now in the House of Commons. We met with both while we were in Winnipeg and there’s a tremendous amount of potential here to make some significant change. Hold on!


Putting the pieces together

Last weekend I saw Ava Duvernay’s latest movie Origin. For me, this is far and away her best movie. It is a work of art. Highlighting the notion of castes as a way to view oppressors and oppressed made sense of the stories we heard while in Winnipeg. Then later, I was reading and thinking about A.I. and I combined the movie and the trip and A.I. to come up with The New Caste System: Those who tell A.I. what to do and those who A.I. tell what to do. In media history this is a story as old as the written word and pictographs. Now it boils down to: Those who produce – money makers and those who consume money spenders. Now What?


Next week, Andrea, Anthonette, Charlie and I have our first meeting with the staff of Harbor Freight Tools for Schools to do more extensive work in Los Angeles. To get ready, I started reflecting on how the trajectory of the work in the Skilled Trades and for that matter in all sorts of apprenticing and internship experiences might be framed through our learning and development: 


Apprenticing - Giving up your ego to learn the work from a master


Journeyman – Gigging – receiving payment for the work because your work is good enough – must have quality to get the next gig


Mastery – Giving back your knowledge – you give up your own career for your students so that they may develop the skills and standards



Happy Black History Month – This is Black History Month in Canada too!. I only knew of one of these famous Black Canadians. It is a great perspective for me.


 Enjoy the weekend!

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