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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 2.24.2023

Nope, Logan Lane is not a student from our school. In this case BPL stands for Brooklyn Public Library. It is the place where a group of ‘Luddite’ teens I’ve been writing about meet behind the library in Prospect Park. I know the spot from my childhood. Storytellers would come there once a week and continue the oral tradition of storytelling behind the library. Now this self-organizing group of teenagers meet there to draw, talk and hangout without smartphones. What a concept! And, guess what? It is their parents who are going nuts because they can’t tell where they are at any given moment. Who’s got a problem? I do remember my folks saying all the time, “#@##$$, where #$%$%#$%#$%#$ have you been?” I’m toning that down just a bit from what they really said. I didn’t live in Leave It to Beaver Land. You had to be careful out there.

Making A Way Out of No Way

In this month’s Celebrating CTE issue produced by ASA they discuss how “kids and adults are realizing that the best pathways are those that let them dip in and out of an array of education and work experiences as and when they need them; those that let them learn by doing.” Sound familiar? You bet. We are the practice to their policy. The peanut butter to their jelly. In this article, Julie Lamers, ASA’s Policy Director states, “Let’s remove the stigmas associated with non-degree options, in order to ensure two things: that the next generation is equipped to make informed decisions, and that our workforce is brimming with top-tier talent from a variety of backgrounds.” The headline here is that Julie wrote a large section of our Looking Ahead chapter in Scott and my new book Learning to Leave. There are so many connections here to how Juile personally comes to this work but we will leave that for the book to reveal. One more thing. A few things that always seem to be missing in this work of work is finding meaning and starting before someone turns 18. We are changing these missing links.

At our Wednesday meeting we had a moment when four of our initiatives were in sync. Harbor Freight Fellows, B-Unbound, BPLiving an IBPLC were all a part of Habitat for Aviation – Beth White’s brainchild. It was great to see how all of this can fit under one roof outside of a school with youth working alongside of adults giving everyone such a great sense of place. Also, the data collected from the B-U platform around all of these initiatives can be part of the IBPLC as we move forward on New Measures work. Do the Six Measures of BPLiving matter in a workplace? You bet! Read the article on the reduced work week below and see the results.

Our work through grades 7-12 on the 311, Carpentry Clubs and Harbor Freight Fellows is bursting with energy. We had meetings with Joe Youcha to do a 311 in Philly as well as start looking at the potential for this work in LA. Charlie made a great connection to Dr. Harris in LA who wants HFF spread throughout LA Unified and also, Charlie inked a contract with Yolo County for both B-U and Harbor Freight.

We are starting to pull together data from Harbor Freioght Fellows. Thus far: Eighty-six percent of Harbor Freight Fellows received or planned to receive further trades education. That’s four times better than data on results from best pathway/certification that high schools get albeit a much smaller sample. We’ll take it.

Yesterday, Andrea, Anthonette and I had dinner as a pre-meeting to the LEGO event Andrea & Co. put together for IBPLC work that spans k-12. LEGO Builders Paul and his son Matt will be there to do some of the facilitation.

A meeting with ASU is being set up to discuss our New Ways, New Forms and New Measures initiatives. The hope is that they will partner with us and become a kind of vetting and warranting agent for IBPLC similar to the University of Melbourne as well as adopt our other programs in the high schools and online programs they have.

This study done on 61 companies going to a 4-day week (32 hours) with no reduction in pay was done in the UK. It points to lots of positive outcomes as well as what I call becomes. The results show major benefits to both the health and productivity of workers. For example: there was a 1.4% increase in productivity with 8 hours less work time; absenteeism fell; people worked at a faster pace; had higher job satisfaction; and people didn’t quit their jobs even during the Great Resignation. Transitioning to the becomes side of things what did people do with their extra time? What did they become? They rested. They exercised, They had more time with their families. And, forty-six percent of the employees felt they were less fatigued. Shades of BPLving? And, what would that mean if, we did this in schools? Thirty-three years ago, I read The End of Work and met with the author Jeremy Rifkin who has been involved in the many ways, whys and how’s that work will change. It was that many years ago, I presented his findings to our education reform minded people from all sorts of ed reform groups and as usual, they just laughed at me because they thought it had nothing to do with teaching academics differently i.e. projects, habits of mind, etc. And, they had a point it did have nothing to do with teaching academics differently but it had a great deal to do with how everyone in education works regardless of how they teach and that impacts not only how you teach but how you learn. FYI, in 1992, Rifkin wrote Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of The Cattle Culture. Well we’ll see, who will have the last laugh.

Be well!

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