[Hpn] Bag Lady Poster teaches school kids "object" lesson. Your opinion? opinion?

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Fri, 22 Dec 2000 13:08:40 -0800 (PST)


Email HPN list your opinion of the NEA-funded POSTER cited below: Watch out in a school near you for this year's poster, which shows a sad, hunched-over street person carrying her home in three paper bags. ``Need one good reason to stay in school?'' asks the caption. ``How about two million good reasons? In the United States alone, there are now two million homeless people that lack the education to get a job.'' ...The distribution of the latest poster showing the homeless woman was paid for with money from the National Education Association... http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302 6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/692702408/_k/XqGBLcuB1F3UCW7s FWD Source: AP - AP Wire Service - Dec 17 10:40 JANITOR PUSHES VALUE OF EDUCATION, DESIGNS POSTERS WITH STAY IN SCHOOL MESSAGE By TONY REID (Decatur) Herald & Review BROWNSTOWN, Ill. (AP) _ Janitor and poet David Arnold is quick to brush off any notion he is someone special. In a little poem he calls ``Just a Janitor,'' the head custodian at Brownstown Elementary School doesn't dust around the bush: ``I'm just a janitor at an elementary school./A job some say, befitting for a fool./While some work at a desk or in offices from 9 to 5, I sweep, clean and mop so my family can survive.'' But don't get swept away with Arnold's profound sense of modesty. This is also the ``just a janitor'' who designs posters aimed at persuading kids to stay in school, posters so popular they have been taken to schools throughout Illinois, the nation and the world. They're a hit because they work like a visual dope slap, cracking kids upside the head and making them think about how important school is. ``Some Places Don't Require A Good Education,'' reads one, its words underlining a picture of a forlorn-looking inmate behind prison bars. Watch out in a school near you for this year's poster, which shows a sad, hunched-over street person carrying her home in three paper bags. ``Need one good reason to stay in school?'' asks the caption. ``How about two million good reasons? In the United States alone, there are now two million homeless people that lack the education to get a job.'' Arnold, still looking modest, lays a proprietary hand on his poster: ``I am kind of surprised at how popular they are,'' said the 48-year-old janitor. ``I just hope they help kids to realize that while life in school can be tough, life outside without an education is a whole lot tougher.'' Arnold started designing the posters five years ago for American Education Week because other poster efforts he'd seen lacked the necessary punch; he thought he could hit harder. He's been writing poetry for years _ some of it published _ and so crafting gritty captions wasn't a big reach for him. The picture art he just finds wherever, using stark black and white photos that reach out and grab passing students by the eyes. The janitor originally did his work just for the local high school, right next door to the elementary, and got his shot at statewide and beyond distribution thanks to the muscle of the Illinois Education Association, a union representing 110,000 teachers and school staff. ``When I first saw his posters several years ago _ it was the one with the guy in the prison cell _ I was very impressed,'' said Marcus Albrecht, director of the IEA's UniServ, which is a liaison to local union associations. ``The IEA immediately paid to have it reprinted for distribution across the state, and we've been involved in supporting his work since then.'' Teachers grab handfuls of the posters at local and national conferences and his work goes wherever they travel; Arnold posters are known to be tacked up in schools as far away as Guam and Scotland. The distribution of the latest poster showing the homeless woman was paid for with money from the National Education Association, a school staff union _ of which the IEA is part _ with a combined membership of more than 21/2 million. ``Everybody who sees his work loves it,'' adds Albrecht, 52. ``Dave is a very good teacher.'' He'd like to have worked as one, too, but there was no money for college when Arnold graduated high school in 1970. His dad was a carpenter and the son became a chip off the old block, working various carpentry jobs before deciding to try his hand at custodianship 18 years ago. ``No regrets there,'' he says. ``I love the kids. If I'm sweeping the hallway and I see kids coming to school in the morning looking a bit down or something, I'll try to cheer them up a little, and I usually get a smile out of them.'' The man pushing the broom sees himself as a custodian of their futures, too, and offers practical help whenever he can. For one elementary student who couldn't grasp how flowers grew, Arnold had him plant a bed of them with him while talking through every aspect of plant growth. ``Every adult that comes into contact with children becomes an example to them, whether the adult realizes it or not,'' he says. ``Why not make the most of that opportunity?'' AP-CS-12-17-00 1139EST Received Id AP1003525A154797 on Dec 17 2000 11:14 END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** *********************************************************** 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***********************************************************