Tag Archives: Training

Language learning, local education, and lots of ideas

Spanish has always been my favorite language, especially after moving to the bilingual South West. Technically, I was hired for my experience in Unix which led to my MAT in mathematics, but on the ground, my love of learning languages proved to be more important in the classroom. As an adult education instructor at the Continuing Education division of the San Diego Community College District, my fluency proved helpful for many of my students, and also, of course, the ESL classes help our students from many nations contribute in the USA.

Every local educational institution has room for improvement, particularly when seen from both faculty and student perspectives. I posed some questions recently about ideas for implementing low-cost projects that would have been helpful to our students when I taught in North campus involving

1.) a small library or study area,
2.) workshops by CA Promise Program graduates, 
3.) an on-site nurse paid for by medi-Cal, and
4.) access to public transportation:

1.) Many of my students told me they didn’t have a quiet place to study.  While I know that space is in very short supply on the North campus, I wonder if a small area, possibly in the multipurpose room when it’s not being used, could be set aside with cubicles or movable small desks and a small movable lending library like the tiny libraries?

  2.)   I wonder, on the assumption of course that having graduated and started a new career as a professional with a bachelor’s degree anyone can be found who will have time, if any students having graduated with a bachelor’s degree after getting their first two years of community college paid for through the California promise program or with the San Diego promise program, could be persuaded to come back either as tutors, mentors, or even just to give workshops in the areas in which they got their educations?  Particularly accounting majors or paralegal/pre-law majors who could give small workshops on dealing with debt in California including, California statutes of limitations, or financial planning workshops or how to do your own taxes if you only need to do the 1040EZ, etc?  One-on-one tutoring, and also mentoring,  that supportive help, especially for our high school equivalency students, could be both useful and inspiring.  Seeing successfully graduated professionals with a bachelor’s degree who came through the community college system and are willing to spend individual time with them, even if only a couple of hours a week, could make a difference.  Could interns or SCORE volunteers put a program like this together?  Do we track or stay in touch with students who finish the California or San Diego promise program once they finish their bachelor’s degrees?

3.) Many of my students worked two jobs or for other reasons never had time to see a doctor even when they were ill. I wonder if it is possible to pay, through the Medi-Cal system, for a nurse to be on-site, perhaps based out of the office  of each campus, a couple of days/evenings a week?

4.)  One of the biggest problem areas that I saw for my car-free students was that neither the Continuing Education division, nor the CE faculty Union was able to get the transit authority to enforce acceptance of CE student IDs for the monthly bus and rail pass discount.  In planning for post-#Covid-19 classes, will we have any resources to address public transportation discount and access issues?

I imagine that some of these ideas may be a little overwhelming, because I understand that time and resources are extremely limited, but once in a while, as Dr. Rivera-Lacey noted: we do have to dream.

Please share your ideas for improving local education, or for supporting any other parts of our critical Public Domain Social Infrastructure!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19

May, 12020 HE

Review of a book worth buying: Separate and Unequal

Separate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American LiberalismSeparate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American Liberalism by Steven M. Gillon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How sad that the contents and conclusions of this report are still relevant, and still ignored, today, 50 years after it was released in response to the riots in Newark and Detroit of the “long hot” summer of 1967. I found this book after seeing Dr. King’s response to the question, during the Memphis garbage workers’ strike, of what it would take to prevent or call off his Poor People’s March on Washington: the answer was to implement the recommendations in this report.

The report was commissioned to find out what caused the rioting, not how to prevent further riots. The clearest distinctions between those who actively participated in the rioting and their neighbors who did not, at least at the start of each riot, was the trigger of having witnessed or experienced police brutality. But what primed that trigger for action was the underlying anger, poverty, constant discrimination, and despair to which the Black community in particular was subjected over a very long period of time.

The report called for various measures to be taken which would have improved the lives not only of members of the Black community, but also everyone else in the nation. Measures like the elimination of sub-standard housing in inner-cities, building new schools, health centers, and community facilities, and introducing a guaranteed minimum income would help all citizens, not only those bereft of resources and hope when they were freed with only the clothing on their backs, unable to melt into White American society. From the disrespect by police, to the lack of garbage collection in inner-city neighborhoods, Black Americans were fed up with White America’s deliberate disregard for “the realities of life for many poor blacks” in the United States. This anger, combined with the criminalization of poverty (which was just beginning to kick off the era of Mass Incarceration), the lack of Black faces in [the media, police, highly paid professions and other areas of potential] power, led to a sense of hopelessness and fear that non-violent resistance would never break down a system which was inherently designed to break down the Black community. Ideas like the War on Drugs, brought back by Reagan after the Carter years, and Law and Order, parroted by both right and left, muddied the discourse around solving the problems that led to the riots, instead creating a cloud of convenient reasons to blame inner-city Black communities for their problems while ignoring the structural issues that had created and perpetuated the problems since the slavery era.

The conclusion drawn by the report, above all, was that the entire nation needed education and “a richer portrait of life in urban areas” and to hire many many more Black police officers.

I think that many of the issues of perspective mentioned in the book by the author in his analysis of the report and its time are now beginning to be looked at again, as the discussion around White Privilege becomes louder and more mainstream. That discussion is a necessary but insufficient part of the solution to our current problems, which go back to pre-existing problems pointed out by the report. Please read this book on the Commission report (and also see Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin), and then, write your reps!

Pages I found especially relevant included:

P. 6: 1966 result of creation of ghettos by the 1930s-50s urban renewal aka Negro Removal all across the USA
** P. 12: What a contrast: only 1/100 white people thought that blacks were poorly treated in the USA…
***Ribicoff P. 37: recos…
P. 100: “in the ghetto” last garbage collection (if at all), police disrespectful, school & housing dilapidated
P. 228 (and the answer to that boot-straps baloney:) discrimination and segregation prevented many blacks from following the same patterns which had been followed by immigrant groups, and limited blacks to all but the lowest … jobs

Let’s #EndPoverty & #EndMoneyBail by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting for ALL!!!!, Walk !


March, 12019 HE

View all my reviews

The Bright side of PTSD: become a Body Guard?

Smells, noises or lights can suddenly awaken some of us, and refuse to let us sleep until identified. Long-lasting childhood traumas can leave your Inner Child reluctant to come out from under the coffee table. Some ideas, illustrated by examples from historical and fictional sages, may help your Inner Parent to teach safety and trust to that Frightened Inner Child so that your Inner Adult, your competent and ambitious self who’d rather ignore both Child and Parent, can get on with succeeding in life.

First, one possible intrepretation of Hillel’s famous pair of questions:
A. אם אין אני לי, מי לי (Im ein ani li, mi li: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me,”) is that each of us must parent and protect his or her own inner child, and

B. ? וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני ; (Vekesh’ani le’atzmi, mah ani ? “And if I am only for myself, what am I?”), also stand with others who have been wounded.

Second, if, like Harry Potter, you’ve sustained significant losses in your life, even very early on, is there someone you can recall, or as Harry uses to conjure his first #Patronus, even some imaginary memory, showing love or kindness, even if from or to a stranger just for a moment? Your Inner Parent can use that image to show your Inner Child that there is hope for this world, and that is worth holding on to and fighting for, to motivate your ambitious Inner Adult to keep going. This is being for yourself in the most crucial way: parenting yourself through the panic and soothing those constantly jangled nerves until you learn to trust life. Then your ambitious and centered Inner Adult can take it from there to build the life you want to live.

Third, if, like Amelia, you see that it would be safer to give up than to fight, perhaps your Inner Adult can take the lead, having learned by watching your Inner Parent defend your own Inner Child, that sometimes an adult must sacrifice to create a better world for all Human Children. And like Feruze Hatun, healing all those around you may come at a high personal cost, but honesty and love, even shown to our enemies, as Gandhi and Dr. King proved, can indeed defeat hate, and bring you greater self-confidence and feelings of security.

So, warrior like Amelia or Intergenerational Community Parent to all, like Feruze Hatun, or just competent, capable, and knitting lots of hats for House Elves like Hermione, parenting yourself can lead to parenting others , for the good of All Humankind. Or you could still become a Body Guard.

Some more of my thoughts on how local government Policy such as accepting part of local taxes in local currencies/Time Dollars can help stimulate local community employment and inclusion for PTSD survivors are found in my related paper on Building Community and the crucial role of Intergenerational Participation in Community : Shavuot (Pentacost) as one of four Biblical pillars of building community.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
My books on Economic and Social Policy: Shared Monetary Governance, and Stayed on Freedom’s Call…

September 10th, 12017 HE

– Where I fit via how I’ve contributed?

I recall giving a class on Community Cooperation that had far more impact than I’d expected, generating heated discussion, and thanks.  I was surprised that folks thanked me for bringing up the topic of Community, and protection of the most vulnerable members of society, but I was also grateful to have been able to make that impact.  To reach people who otherwise may not have seen Community in that light.

I think it was actually the class I taught in 2011, but this class, in 2010, taught me how to teach in Community:

Page 1 of Handout:

Community Empowerment via Local Currencies “Mifnei Tikkun Ha-Olam”
Shira Jones, DC Beit Midrash, DC JCC, 16 August 2010, Ki Tetse
In Ki Tetse, Aliyah 5, (24:1-24:4 of Dvarim), a man is required to write a Get in order to divorce his wife.
Rabban Gamliel: Mishnah Gittin 4:21
“At first, a man would convene a court in a different location [from where his wife was living]and cancel the get [he had sent and not inform her of his actions]. Rabban Gamliel the Elderpassed a law prohibiting men from doing so, in order to repair the social order Mipnei TikkunHa-Olam.”
Other uses of the principle of Tikkun Ha-Olam occur with an apparently similar aim, accordingto Jill Jacobs2, namely the aim of protecting society and the most vulnerable members ofsociety.
In this vein, money which is created by and issued in and for the local community alsoconstitutes an act of Tikkun Olam, benefiting the most vulnerable members of society.
Local currencies are forms of money created by communities for local circulation in thosecommunities. These locally created forms of money accomplish three main objectivesrelated to protecting vulnerable members of society.
•When issued on the basis of local goods or services, they increase the amount of moneyavailable in local communities, further empowering communities to create sustainable localbusinesses and making more money available for loans, donations and local projects;
•They encourage buying local, thus keeping resources in local communities and reducingsupply and distribution chain travel distances, thereby reducing carbon emmissions;
•When issued on the basis of real goods or services, local currencies incentivize long-terminvestment in the local economy, rather than short-term investment in capital markets.
These currencies return monetary decision-making to communities directly affected bymoney (while by contrast, monetary decisions are generally made outside the community),and retain more overall money in the local community. Local currencies are often referred toas Green MoneyGreen MoneyGreen MoneyGreen MoneyGreen Money Green Money Green MoneyGreen MoneyGreen Money for reasons related to both Governance and Economic Benefit of Money.
1Drawn from “Annulment of Marriage”, Judith Hauptman, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/annul.html
2Jill Jacobs, The History of “Tikkun Olam”, http://www.zeek.net/706tohu/index.php?page=2
Shira D. Jones, destinie_jones@yahoo.com, DC Beit Midrash, “Green Money, Tikkun Olam”

Page 2 of Handout:

How do Green or Local Currencies provide (get, keep and grow) these benefits?
Governance of Money
Economic Benefit of Money
By increasing overall levels of available money, theyprovide more opportunities for community participationin economic decision-making and project development.
By increasing overall levels of available money, theyprovide more resources for donation, loans to theunemployed, the vulnerable, local businesses, etc.
By keeping more resources in local communities, theyallow greater (practical) economic priority-settingparticipation by more members of those communities.
By keeping more resources in local communities, theystop the draining of local resources to distant areas (sothe wealth is no longer accessible to the community).
By providing a stake in local institutions, localcurrencies provide incentives to ensure transparencyand accountability in local community institutions.
By providing a stake in local institutions, localcurrencies provide incentives to invest in long-termlocal production and to upgrade local infrastructure.
Local Currencies in Washington, DC:
Anacostia Hours, issued and accepted in Mt. Rainier, MD and accepted by some DC businesses
Potomacs, exchanged and accepted at local businesses in Petworth, DC
TakomaTime, a Time Bank3 issuing Time Dollars in Takoma Park and Adams Morgan, DC
The Catalyst Bank, a Time Bank issuing Time Dollars in DC and VA
Currencies which are issued by community based institutions are generally easier to obtain,particularly for vulnerable members of the community who have difficulty accessing market-based (jobs or credit) means of obtaining more scare Federal money.
Local currencies also tend to allow greater levels of inclusion to members of the localcommunity in the decision-making processes of those currencies, while General PurposeMoney, such as the US Dollar, tends to have far more closed (non-inclusive) and lesstransparent and less publicly accountable decision-making processes. This lack of inclusionshuts out most of the direct stakeholders from governance, preventing most money usersfrom having a voice in money, which so vitally affects all of our lives.
Community-based currencies expand the number of Direct Currency Stakeholders who canexcercise participatory decision-making power over money. Thus more people can create,keep, and grow their own resources, to the benefit of the entire community, by building,using and investing in local community institutions.
3With thanks to Deborah Hittleman Flank for information on both Time Banks listed here…
Shira D. Jones, destinie_jones@yahoo.com, DC Beit Midrash, “Green Money, Tikkun Olam”

DC Beit Midrash Sources for 16 August class:
Mishnah Gittin 4:2
“Annulment of Marriage”, Judith Hauptman, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/annul.html
Jill Jacobs, The History of “Tikkun Olam”, http://www.zeek.net/706tohu/index.php?page=2
Shira Destinie A. Jones, Mphil dissertation, 2010, University of Bath, http://opus.bath.ac.uk/18960/
Bio Blurb:
Shira Destinie Jones is a native Washingtonian, teacher of mathematics, Hebrew, and Greekfolk dance, and singing enthusiast with 12 years of Unix expertise. She holds a Master ofArts in Teaching Secondary Mathematics, a Masters of Philosophy in economic social policy,and is a published poet and author working to help restore the balance of justice in our damaged world.
(Now I am grateful to be working to build a Kinder world…)
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

29 February, 12016 HE