top of page
  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 7.7.2023

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

MY Back Pages……. Can we mandate what matters?

In 1954 the Supreme Court with the Brown vs Bd of Education case delivered a milestone decision. It stated that separating children in public schools based on race was unconstitutional. Two years later, I was in kindergarten in Brooklyn where our school was already integrated given our neighborhood. Throughout my time as a student in k-12 with all the struggles, good times, tragedies, and joys we worked through, I attended integrated schools. In 2004, at the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Bd of Ed decision, NPR reported on a survey taken of adults who were part of the integration of schools in the 1950’s and 1960’s based on the Supreme Court ruling. When asked about their experience with school integration as children in the 60’s and 70’s, Black, Brown, and White adults reported:

It was one of the most valuable experiences of my life.

It was difficult but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

It taught me life lessons.

Now the kicker question: Would you send your child to the same school? It didn’t matter Black, Brown, or White, a very high percentage responded they would not. And now, we have a school system more segregated than it was back then and arguably more inequitable.

Over the years, many parents who are challenged and confused about where to send their children to school have asked me what to do. My answer is always if your words and actions really match, I strongly suggest you send your child to an integrated public school.

This Big Bang, I’m glad we are going to the National Historical Park in Topeka, Kansas commemorating this Supreme Court decision. We are now one year shy of the 70th anniversary of Brown vs Bd of Ed Topeka, Kansas. For this ruling, the lawyer representing the NAACP was Thurgood Marshall and the Chief Justice was Earl Warren. Fifteen years later, Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court. Do you think the times were different “then that now”?

Does the difference live in the legal system or in the hearts and minds of the people who have the free will to act on their beliefs? Never listen to what people say, watch their feet. Where you sit is where you stand!

Scott’s latest evaluation of LA Leaves to Learn begs lots of questions for us while at the same time laying out New Ways to work with large schools and large districts. There are loads of great parts of the evaluation that should be widely distributed.

Here’s an example. Andrea asked Wilson and David to collect data on ImBlaze/B-U about BPliving. Here’s the results. Although this sample size is small, it clearly makes a point of how poorly students in schools in LA measure up to ACLM’s six measures and then, we say, “Learn!”

To go along with this graphic, Stanford is about to do a small study using BPLiving measures with two middle schools in the Bay Area. We are involved in the study along with Bay Area Community Resources.

A BPL story without BPL

Adam Swanson, a high school graduate from Minnesota saved his own money and mostly solo cycled around the world for two years. When I read Adam’s story, I sensed him Mingling with, Muddling through the things that Matter to him while on this journey.


“I did not plan my route,” he says. “I did not train for it. I just bought the ticket and started when I touched down in the Netherlands.”

“Pretty early on, I realized that it’s best to plan with no plan,” he says. “So, just talk to the locals, and people who are traveling through the area and figure out the best places to go based on the opportunities that present themselves to you instead of planning everything before you get there.”

I’m about to read a new book by Jinan K B who spent decades with villages where people are not literate. His surprise, which is no surprise to many of us, is that “Literates learn the WORD whereas illiterates learn the WORLD.” Schools are places of the WORD with little WORLD. Most of the time in schools:

“We are made to ANALYZE secondhand information whereas they (illiterates) CREATE KNOWLEDGE of their contexts.” Both ways of knowing must be valued and woven together to move forward.

Finally, a billboard from Pam of a photo her brother-in-law took in Truckee, CA.

Ya Think???

Be well!

8 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page