Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Sam Smith: Flotsam & Jetsam

Sam Smith: Flotsam & Jetsam

Flotsam & Jetsam


By Prorev.com Editor Sam Smith

THOSE WHO WATCHED 'West Wing' this week will recall that President-Elect Santos and his wife are looking for a school for their children. They wisely passed on St. Albans - purveyor of three Bushes plus a Kerry and Gore - as too "stuffy." After a brief discussion about the weaknesses of the DC public school system, they decide to visit one its units. To your editor's pleasure, they picked John Eaton, attended by both his sons and of which he was once president of the parents' association.

The school was described as about 40% black and 20% latino. Back in the mid-1970s it was approximately 20% black and 20% latino in a predominately white neighborhood. The rest included children from 34 countries.

The curriculum at the school was colored by two impressive biases. One was a prejudice towards writing. The kids were always writing something: diaries, plays, stories, speeches, advertisements. The school clearly understood the shortest route to good writing: do it. The other emphasis was the arts, particularly drama and music. With excellent teachers and adequate time, the kids threw themselves into their projects as though Broadway, rather than high school, was the next step. The encouragement came right from the top - not only from the principal but from Mr. Urqhart, her administrative assistant, who - dressed in his most colorful suit - would sing a single applause-stirring number in his mellow bass voice in each of the big shows - the only adult permitted to thus intrude.

I became conscious of how serious the dramatic side of Eaton was one day as I was taking a group of 4th graders home from an event. One kid stepped carelessly into the street and a companion called her back, saying, "Be careful, you could ruin your whole life that way.' Another added, "yeah, or even your career." Once safely in the car, there commenced the sort of surreal debate that only the young can withstand. The topic (clearly involving the stage rather than lesser trades) was: what is more important - your life or your career?

By that time I was ready from anything from the kids. One boy had appeared on the McNeil Lehrer Show with his father to discuss child finances. I asked him afterwards how it went. He said, "Well, they seemed kind of nervous. I don't think they ever had a kid on the show before." He ended up in Hollywood.

Over the next twenty years, the number of children in DC would decline by over 100,000 or 45%, although the central school administration would almost double. It was the largest demographic shift in the city but passed virtually unnoticed. The impact, however, didn't. Where once the school board had been the minor league for major politics, now fewer even knew who was on it. The parent constituency dwindled and eventually DC would become a majority childless city. Without power or allies, the school system suffered badly.

But I still hear good things about John Eaton School and would recommend it to President-elect and Mrs. Santos. And there are precedents. Jimmy Carter sent his daughter to a DC public school and one of my predecessors as president of the parents' association was Joan Mondale, wife of the soon to be vice president.

Besides if you put some kids on the show, they might let you back for another season, as well they should. And the kids at John Eaton would undoubtedly be happy to help you out with the performance.

ADVENTURES OF A PARENTS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

http://prorev.com/eaton.htm

GRADUATION SPEECH

http://prorev.com/gradspeech.htm

*************

FROM UNDERNEWS
FROM THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW
EDITED BY SAM SMITH
Since 1964, Washington's most unofficial source
E-MAIL: mailto:news@prorev.com
LATEST HEADLINES & INDEX: http://prorev.com
UNDERNEWS: http://www.prorev.com/indexa.htm
XML FEED: http://prorev.com/feed.xml
SUBSCRIBE VIA TOPICA: mailto:prorev-subscribe@topica.com
PROBLEMS SUBSCRIBING? SUBSCRIBE DIRECTLY: mailto:news@prorev.com
1312 18th St. NW #502 Washington DC 20036
202-835-0770 Fax: 835-0779

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news