[Hpn] Pappas School's funding is saved; Re: school segregation;homelessness

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@hotmail.com
Fri, 15 Jun 2001 23:38:08 -0400

While I have been putting it differently than you have in what you wrote 
Jason, I have been saying much of the same sort of thing; especially with 
how resources are used in segregating students versus how they are, or can 
be, better used in supporting students to attend non-segregated schools.

In addition, more resources are then freed up and made available to go 
toward building or finding suitable permanent, affordable, safe and decent 
housing for these students and their families -- instead of being used to 
further segregate which in-turn culturally and socially institutionalizes 
and isolates them in that fashion -- so they are not kept homeless, and thus 
institutionalized, over a prolonged period.

All to say that I agree with you. I cannot disagree with the thinking, as I 
understand it, which you put forward and shared on this subject so far.

In my opinion, what it and most things like this come down to is that we 
will only begin to realize the results and goals we say we are after when we 
finally and collectively recognize and act upon the fact that it is chiefly 
about a matter of will and priorities and exercising power.

That is what guides who gets what funding, where that funding goes and how 
it is used.

It certainly is not, and never has been, about having enough money 
available; those are just excuses.

It is about having the will, using it meaningfully and powerfully in 
determining how priorities are set and who sets those priorities of course.

Without proper and true citizen oversight via active and open participation, 
there can never be the accountability that is always needed to keep power in 
check which would keep people more honest than they otherwise would tend to 
be when given and exercising such power.

It means that each of us needs to use our power to command collectively, 
mutually, equally and respectfully -- without competing for command; rather 
than merely being relegated individually or in small groups to demanding, 
begging or settling for crumbs to trickle down off the table or otherwise 
left to fight with each other over the scraps thrown in the trash by those 
indifferent to our needs and circumstances.

Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont

---Original message---

On: Friday, June 15, 2001 at 08:50:42 -0700
Re: [Hpn] Pappas School's funding is saved; Re: school 
Jason Albertson <blakjak@attglobal.net> wrote:

I think, and have thought that there is a difficult question here, in 
regards to the Pappas school and similar school-based efforts.

In health care,

The Federal government is just starting to realize that setting up 
completely separate systems of care for homeless people has a couple of 
un-intended effects. The first is that it lets the existent providers off 
the hook--by declaring homeless folks a 'speciality' population, or
'hard to serve', requiring specialty clinics and providers, the existent 
providers never work to develop the skills to serve homeless folks. This is 
not good. The second un-intended effect is the growth of a second
system of care that requires a dedicated funding stream, rather than being 
able to utilize the multiple funding streams already in existence.
This means that the secondary system of care is vulnerable to legislative 
cuts in ways that, oh, say Medi-Care funded or Medi-Caid funded programs are 
not. The third un-intended effect is the continued
ghettoziation of homeless people, again, as hard to serve instead of 
admitting homeless folks more into the mainstream. The waiting rooms of 
clinics which are set up to serve homeless folks--and do it well in some
cases--become mono-chromatic. Of course, it's easier on the social workers 
because if all you clinic clients are homeless, you can organize there, you 
can get better at finding people housing, helping them find housing and the 
doctors develop  an appreciation of what homeless folks
need. So people might end up getting served better--but they are off to one 
side, instead of in the main light, and their needs don't get seen except by 
a small group.

I think the same problems and theory applies to homeless schools. There are 
arguments that a school for homeless kids works better than mainstreaming, 
that the continuity of education is the reason for the segregation. Just 
like the medical clinics. Overall, though, I wonder, we will set home 
medical clinics for homeless folks, schools for
homeless folks, housing for homeless folks and thus complete the ghetto, 
requiring nobody who is  not 'experienced with the needs of this
population' to serve them, and taking the folks who need and use these 
services farther and farther from the eye of the public--as well as not 
helping homeless folks to try to make their needs known to the larger
society, which I think is damn important.

So it's a conundrum. What I am thinking is that the resources which go into 
that Pappas homeless school need to not go to bricks and mortar buildings 
and teachers, but rather be tied to the condition of homelessness for kids. 
So that if a kid becomes homeless, their school
would keep them, which would ensure continuity, and the dollars which are 
needed to support a youth who has become homeless in school would stay in 
his/her community, at his school. So you'd pay a school with a
homeless youth more than a school without a homeless youth enrolled.
It's special funding for special needs, rather than a special (segregated) 
program for special needs.

We do this already of course for folks with learning disabilities. Why don't 
we do it for folks with housing disabilities?

What do you think?


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