Social Stratification in Urban America | School Choice | School Voucher

https://www.scribd.com/document/53223797/Social-Stratification-in-Urban-America

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Barbara Ehrenreich: Elyssa Durant: Bait & Switch, Nickel & Dimed

MODIFIED FROM THE ORIGINAL POST… IT WAS IN FACT “THE WORST DAY EVER”

We live in a society where one accepts responsibility for their mistakes, no one is held accountable for their actions, ao one EVER says they are sorry.

Let me you a small glimpse inside the day in the of the und/underemployed:

I spend day after day after may doing the same thing without any result: I can only offer you a glimpse into day in the life because there io room left to sit in my car, and I believe my apartment may actually be a fire hazard… This was my daily update posted at 7:30am:

I have done everything humanly possible to clean up the slack, however, I feel I have no other choice than to file a formal complaint so that my entire case is reviewed. The number of mistakes are so overwhelming that I simply don’t have enough time to documents each and every one with the respective agency.

I will try to be more specific later without going into too much detail, but unfortunately, that level of detail is required to file the necessary appeals. Ironic huh? This apartment is like my own little cage, and I am just pathetic enough to run around in circles, hoping to find the much like a hamster wheel, rodent chasing in circles hoping to found my way out my way out before I run out air. If only I had finished my damn PhD, I would do my own case study or reality show on how far we’ll go to have nothing at all…

I have taken care of the subrogation claim, however, that does bot minimize my level of frustration because I am DROWNING in paperwork. I have contacted several agencies to assistance such as the Disability Law and Advocacy Center, however, I do not have the resources necessary to provide them with timely response. There is a very limited time allowed to Request Reconsideration, or file an appeal.

I also want to be clear that every time I have to call Social Security or DHS, it only compounds my cost of living expenses (40 cents per minute on the telephone — a bill which is not even considered to be a justifiable expense) Most agencies do not include self-addressed stamped envelopes, and I can not afford the postage required to mail out all of the requested documentation (e.g., utility bills, medical bills, pay stubs, etc.)

Fortunately, a number of agencies will take online complaints. Unfortunately, my internet was interrupted for non-payment for several weeks and their is no funding resource or community agency that provides subsidized Internet access or free printer ink.

Transportation costs are ridiculous so going to the library is not an option. Neither is returning to work right now, since it would cost too much to get to the interview or provide official (expensive) copies of my graduate school transcirpts that were oh, such a good investment!

Set aside, I am not the most user friendly person right about now, so I have found it difficult to put on a happy face so I can work at McDonald’s which pays more than Metro anyway.

The subrogation claim has been resolved but I just learned that my breast biopsy was not pre-authorized and I was told by my INSURANCE CSR (the person who answers the phone!!!) that I should not have the surgery that has already been scheduled at the Women’s Hospital for 8/21/2008. AmeriChoice (United HealthCare) did they did not authorize the biopsy last month, and have not, as of yet, received a request prior authorization for the surgery next week…

This was a lovely 54 minute conversation because he would not mail me copies of my EOBs or confirm that what, if any, requests have been submitted for payment since my last inquiry and change of address. He finally told me to call the state (Tennessee) which I have already done several times, and they told me to call Social Security but it was already past business hours and I am not authorized to make changes to my file anyway.

I’ll be in touch when I can. Unfortunately each agency has different deadlines, and it takes a lot of energy and time to scan in, copy, or respond to each inquiry in writing, so I find myself running out of time since I can’t seem to get anything done unless I just do nothing at all.

And even though my life is a living hell, I have almost learned how to enjoy the sheer irony of it all… for someone with OCD and post-traumatic stress, this is truly a ridiculous little experiment.

I am becoming increasingly inspired to just burn every last document I own, throw away my keys and my cell phone and take Spotty some place where we can live off the land and ignore the fact that society has me chained to a computer screen that screen that does provide the basic necessities I need to live in this .

I have come this far, and I am becoming rather skilled and at expressing myself without needing an audience or the obsessive need to check every fact, throw, and typo for capitalization and perfection.

So for now… I write.

Maybe later, I’ll read, but if there is any justice left in this world, someday, I’ll actually live.

Good-bye for now. I need a break.

With love,Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
Cell: (615) 424-8810
E-mail: elyssa.durant@columbia.edu

“The paradox of education is precisely this– that as one begins to
become educated, one begins to examine the society in which he [or
she] is being educated.” – BaldwinElyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (DURANT)
Posted: 7:14:03 pm on 9/11/2008 Modified: Never
My first thought: You’re kidding, right?

My second thought:
Poor thing just deosn’t get it…
Take a look at “Good Fences” available online
http://www.nycvoices.org/article_1132.php
Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
Cell: (615) 424-8810
E-mail: elyssa.durant@columbia.edu

“The paradox of education is precisely this– that as one begins to
become educated, one begins to examine the society in which he [or
she] is being educated.” – Baldwin

  Appealing the Appalling (DURANT)
Posted: 9:39:44 pm on 9/11/2008 Modified: Never
Today I was finally able to submit the appeal I have waited over three years to submit. And it is just an APPEAL! Not even a decision. Not a win, but also not a loss.

The APPEAL has given me the strength to keep going. In part because it shows that I haven’t lost and in part because it means that somebody actually listening.

So listen carefully, my friends. It was not too long ago that I had almost everything a young person needs to succeed in this world.

Or maybe not.

As for my most current insurance dispute… I feel that I have done everything humanly possible to be sympathetic towards health care provider who is NOT providing care. I cannot sacrifice my own well being for every bright eyed bushy tailed wanna be who is too stupid to see that I am far from.

I had such a battle this week. It culminated in the end like every other battle I have taken on. I only won because ultimately but we are all losing.

For every underqualifed, health care provider who has NOT provided the adequate, there are many more like me. Alienated just enough to give up on fashion, etiquette and social norms, but not enough to walk from it all.

We are keeping watch. We are taking names, and I for one do not give a rat’s ass about “keeping the peace.”

Having been on both sides if the proverbial couch, I have the perspective is both enlightening and scary at the same time.
I look back and want to say shout “told you so” from the nearest roof top.

Crazy is crazy does… out loud. I may be enjoying this just a little too much.

Sometimes I try to look at this fight, (I meant to say this life) objectively.

I can see my own future, and I can see where it is taking me. I know how it will end it I don’t keep up the pace.

It is amazing at how far we will go to have nothing at all.

I have come this far, and on some level I almost enjoy the dance. No. On some level, I actually love the dance.

No. I won’t give up now. Because without this turmoil, this means to an end, this demonstration project of futility and determination, and without it, I am nothing at all. I can’t lose what I never had. I won’t be another sell-out– mostly because I don’t know how.

I am then the voice of perseverance. I am one voice of perseverance. I am one of 47 million Americans. And today I am I am still fighting the good fight.

This battle; this challenge; this half won war this fight has come to define me. And without that, I am not really much of anything at all…

As someone once told me, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. I’ve already fallen, but I sure as **** stand for something.

“… so for now, I write. Maybe later listen. And if there is any justice left in this world, maybe someday, I’ll actually live. “

Good night, folks. It is time for that break.

Elyssa Durant
Nashville, Tennessee

exclamation Making Ends Meet When You Can’t the Paper? (DURANT)
Posted: 10:50:56 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: Never
Nashville Bar Association and / or Legal Aid have both reviewed my case, and though I meet the eligibility criteria to obtain services, I found them to be very diasorganized in the application process. And simply could not do anything I hadn’t already tried…

Limits federal limits for financial and certainly qualify for servies under various ADA protected categories, but what people don’t realize is this… All I need is a actual, LIVING-WAGE job.

Trust me, they are harder to find than you might think.

I am certainly far below the income threshold and meet all eligibility requirements for various programs, but all I really want is the opportunity to be judged on my merits– not be forced to identify myself as a recipient of federal funds so that corporation can CLAIM the welfare to work reduction.

Thanks, but no. I do qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation but the state messed up records so badly that I have absoultely no idea what the status of my PASS application is.

Pro-bono and nonprofits community agencies simply are not set up to deal with such complicated inter-related and complex issues. Legal Aid and TPA have both reviwed and evaluated the status of my case.

Neither handle bankruptcy, student loan disputes, or ERISA disputes. The Disability Law and Advocacy Center did not show up to a scheduled negotiation. My designated representative succeeeded at doing one thing: consitently missing every single possible filing deadline regardless of the how many times I called, wrote, or complained for over three years.

That is negligence in my book.

Forgive me for saying so, but those are “advocates” I could do without. It would be nice if I could find someone who is professional enough to at least show up when THEY are being paid.

It would be so much easier if I could, in fact, find a real paying job, however despite my best efforts, I have found very few people who can be sensitive to my situation and allow reasonable accomodations that are my no means too, too disruptive or annoying.

Unfortuantely I will never meet the criteria of a rank and file employee, however I’m starting to think that maybe employers are not making the best of decisions when I look at how many of them are closing up shop. I need a job that pays, in full, on time, and does not mind my attentiomn (or obsession) to detail.

I even once got fired from Red Lobster the management felt I was “not Red Lobster Material.” All in all, I guess that is not such a bad thing, because when I planned goals for myself, I cannot honestly say that being “Red Lobster Material” was not anywhere near the top of my list!

Unforutnately, good intent does not translate into the ability to pay salaries or related expenses such as INTERNET, telephone access or even basic transportation and realted expenses.

I am finding out that there are so many more people out there like myself who are “out-the-door ready and willing to go to work” were it not for the sinking economy and underwhelming job forecasts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I have tried looking at this from every angle, but the bottom line is this: I NEED A JOB!

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will no doubt be revisit your rsuggestions when I attempt to file my taxes again through the VITA program.

Sincerely yours,

Elyssa Durant
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

exclamation Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (DURANT)
Posted: 10:58:37 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: 11:06:45 pm on 2/3/2009
How did I miss this refreshing post?

Thank you so much for not doubting my efforts and sincerity when I tell you I’ve tried.

I know exactly how much money I am costing society, but what I have not done is abuse the system any more than it has abused me.

Surely, we all know that it is easy to skate by in American on less than $600 a month. And trust me if you have ANY illness when you go into the system, you will be so far beyond normal by the time you are through. assuming that is, that you are one the privileged elite who can meet their criteria and be poor like me!

I must be pretty freakin dumb if I thought I could try.

Thank you.

Elyssa

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (DURANT)
Posted: 11:06:03 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: Never
Do you still feel I am abusing the welfare system by paying for internet access? Because I would so love it you could donate some wifi access to anyoneother than myself so others can ennjoy that elusive privilege of speaking loud. Surely someone can donate wifi to all us who should go without voice or recognition for using our words on the government’s dime. Yeah, I guess you are right, I don’t deserve internet access. It makes me angry to see comments like yours that insult my intelligeence and my sense of humor.

Whatever. If it makes you feel any better, I hope you feel just fine.

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

question A Letter to the Editor: Are You Kidding Me? (DURANT)
Posted: 7:35:10 am on 2/4/2009 Modified: Never
Elyssa,

I am sorry if you feel that paying $7.50 for an article is too much. The reason as to why we charge for an article is because we offer breaking news before any other publication in Nashville. We have a three-month trial subscription for just $19 if you would like to purchase that. It is only $11.50 more than a single article and you will have full access to our site as well as receive emails alerting you of breaking news.

Please let me know if I can help you.

Thanks,

Allison Anderson
Circulation Coordinator
Nashville Post
624 Grassmere Park
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 301-9228 (desk)
My Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
________________________________________
From: elyssa.durant@columbia.edu [elyssa.durant@columbia.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 4:32 PM
To: feedback
Subject: NashvillePost.com Feedback from Elyssa Durant

I think it really sucks that I can’t read the article posted in account login and password. I have enough of those.

I wasted enough money at Vanderbilt. I should not have to pay $7.50 to read about someone else who feels the Powers That Beat are playing a sophisticated game of bait and switch.

Will someone please forward the text of this article to me online?

http://www.nashvillepost.com/news/2009/2/3/former_vu_student_sues_university

Thank you in advance!

Elyssa

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

exclamation Re: Terrified (DURANT)
Posted: 6:07:48 pm on 2/4/2009 Modified: Never
–repeat with me–

“overqualified.”
“overqualified.”
“overqualified.”

I am with you sister! Thank you for coming forward.

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

question How much am I worth? (DURANT)
Posted: 7:29:51 pm on 2/4/2009 Modified: Never
Morally Bankrupt: How Much Am I Worth?

Last year, it was the election commission… this time it was the Board of Ed who failed to secure the personal information, social security numbers, and financial data of local students and employees.

The Tennessean openly discusses the salary of Metro teachers in the The Tennessean. The reporter makes it sound like she has uncovered some profound secret: Teachers are underpaid. No ****?

The papers seem to gloss over the magnitude if the situation of teacher pay and mobility within Metro Nashville. I wasted a ton of money at Vanderbilt and almost as much in the Ivy League. By investing in a useless program and a worthless degree, I am the first to admit I have made some bad choices, but now I am asking for some advice.

I CAN’T FIND A JOB!

I cannot afford to complete the application, or find transportation to get to an interview.

I am beyond broke. I am so far in debt that I do not even bother to open my mail since it consists only negative balances, bank statements, and letters from collection agencies and the Department of Education.

When I found out that someone recently used my social security number to open an account in Jersey City, I was thrilled at the prospect that my credit score might actually go up!

I never dreamed that I would have to apply for a social services grant simply to find a job. I never thought about fees for fingerprinting, TB tests, official transcripts, examination fees, processing fees necessary to apply a position that really only requires a GED.

As an employee of the Metro Nashville Public Schools, I work part-time as an educator at the “Masters + 30” salary level. I earn $10.46 / hour, before taxes without benefits.

That does not go far, and they are currently eliminating employees, so any chance of a raise or future opportunities for advancement seem unlikely during these tough economic times.

I cannot afford additional application fees or costs associated with the Alternative Certification options, and I certainly do not have the resources required to obtain another undergraduate degree just so I can bypass the 6 months of student teach necessary for Metro to deem me qualified to teach Head Start, pre-k or even adult literacy programs.

The bottom line is this: regardless of good intentions or misguided mentoring, I am a financial burden to you all. I pay taxes out of your taxes. I am absolutely convinced that there must be a better way to live than relying upon government subsidies to keep a roof over my head and Ramen noodles in my tummy.

There is a plethora of young, talented individuals like myself who would be more than willing to work for MNPS or any other company if we could simply access the resources necessary to complete the application. We all know that teacher salary is ridiculous to begin with, so no kudos to the reporter at the Tennessean for pointing out the obvious.

This is the reality I live in. This is poverty. This is why I am hoping that someone out there knows someone or some way that I can contribute more to society than what I am taking. I am a leach on society. I will continue to be a leach on society.

Relying upon the “welfare” of others is a terrible way to live especially when you have something to give back.

People used to laugh when I would inquire about transportation funds, internet access grants or assisted technology funds and resources…

Surely, the AT&T cable bill could have included a measure to assist the disabled and economically challenged members of our community free or discounted online internet service. Certainly one of these big companies coming to Tennessee can help by hiring just one over educated, underemployed, and dedicated employee.

I live so far beneath the poverty line that I am willing to work for the necessities in life that I simply cannot afford such as toothpaste and internet access. I cannot afford the application fees Metro charges for new or returning applicants. I’m not eligible for community training programs or work force development… there are no grant based training programs for people who just made a few bad, BAD investments along the way– say, for example, a college degree?

I am not too proud to beg for a job or take some free advice if it will help me to get from here to there. I need someone, anyone, willing to give me a chance to prove myself. I need someone to invest in me!

I believe I deserve more out of life than this, and I think that if you knew me, you would think so too. Help become the person I was meant to be. Try to the see the person I could become.

I have so much to contribute, but few resources get there. All I want is a chance. All I need is a mentor. Will someone please take the time to invest in me?

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

overqualified

Barbara Ehrenreich Forum: The Worst Day Ever: FURB! (Elyssa Durant)

MODIFIED FROM THE ORIGINAL POST… IT WAS IN FACT “THE WORST DAY EVER”

We live in a society where one accepts responsibility for their mistakes, no one is held accountable for their actions, ao one EVER says they are sorry.

Let me you a small glimpse inside the day in the of the und/underemployed:

I spend day after day after may doing the same thing without any result: I can only offer you a glimpse into day in the life because there io room left to sit in my car, and I believe my apartment may actually be a fire hazard… This was my daily update posted at 7:30am:

 

I have done everything humanly possible to clean up the slack, however, I feel I have no other choice than to file a formal complaint so that my entire case is reviewed. The number of mistakes are so overwhelming that I simply don’t have enough time to documents each and every one with the respective agency.

I will try to be more specific later without going into too much detail, but unfortunately, that level of detail is required to file the necessary appeals. Ironic huh? This apartment is like my own little cage, and I am just pathetic enough to run around in circles, hoping to find the much like a hamster wheel, rodent chasing in circles hoping to found my way out my way out before I run out air. If only I had finished my damn PhD, I would do my own case study or reality show on how far we’ll go to have nothing at all…

I have taken care of the subrogation claim, however, that does bot minimize my level of frustration because I am DROWNING in paperwork. I have contacted several agencies to assistance such as the Disability Law and Advocacy Center, however, I do not have the resources necessary to provide them with timely response. There is a very limited time allowed to Request Reconsideration, or file an appeal.

I also want to be clear that every time I have to call Social Security or DHS, it only compounds my cost of living expenses (40 cents per minute on the telephone — a bill which is not even considered to be a justifiable expense) Most agencies do not include self-addressed stamped envelopes, and I can not afford the postage required to mail out all of the requested documentation (e.g., utility bills, medical bills, pay stubs, etc.)

Fortunately, a number of agencies will take online complaints. Unfortunately, my internet was interrupted for non-payment for several weeks and their is no funding resource or community agency that provides subsidized Internet access or free printer ink.

Transportation costs are ridiculous so going to the library is not an option. Neither is returning to work right now, since it would cost too much to get to the interview or provide official (expensive) copies of my graduate school transcirpts that were oh, such a good investment!

Set aside, I am not the most user friendly person right about now, so I have found it difficult to put on a happy face so I can work at McDonald’s which pays more than Metro anyway.

The subrogation claim has been resolved but I just learned that my breast biopsy was not pre-authorized and I was told by my INSURANCE CSR (the person who answers the phone!!!) that I should not have the surgery that has already been scheduled at the Women’s Hospital for 8/21/2008. AmeriChoice (United HealthCare) did they did not authorize the biopsy last month, and have not, as of yet, received a request prior authorization for the surgery next week…

This was a lovely 54 minute conversation because he would not mail me copies of my EOBs or confirm that what, if any, requests have been submitted for payment since my last inquiry and change of address. He finally told me to call the state (Tennessee) which I have already done several times, and they told me to call Social Security but it was already past business hours and I am not authorized to make changes to my file anyway.

I’ll be in touch when I can. Unfortunately each agency has different deadlines, and it takes a lot of energy and time to scan in, copy, or respond to each inquiry in writing, so I find myself running out of time since I can’t seem to get anything done unless I just do nothing at all.

And even though my life is a living hell, I have almost learned how to enjoy the sheer irony of it all… for someone with OCD and post-traumatic stress, this is truly a ridiculous little experiment.

I am becoming increasingly inspired to just burn every last document I own, throw away my keys and my cell phone and take Spotty some place where we can live off the land and ignore the fact that society has me chained to a computer screen that screen that does provide the basic necessities I need to live in this .

I have come this far, and I am becoming rather skilled and at expressing myself without needing an audience or the obsessive need to check every fact, throw, and typo for capitalization and perfection.

So for now… I write.

Maybe later, I’ll read, but if there is any justice left in this world, someday, I’ll actually live.

Good-bye for now. I need a break.

With love,Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
Cell: (615) 424-8810
E-mail: elyssa.durant@columbia.edu

“The paradox of education is precisely this– that as one begins to
become educated, one begins to examine the society in which he [or
she] is being educated.” – Baldwin

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (cookie)
Posted: 11:34:17 pm on 9/3/2008 Modified: Never
 
Elyssa

I feel for you but am finding it hard to understand your situation where you can’t afford money to print necessary forms or afford bus fair to a public library. Please understand that I am not doubting what you say, but rather that what you describe is a pretty desperate circumstance.

Have you tried asking for lawyer assistance pro bono? I checked for you. The Nashville bar offers a Pro Bono program for certain circumstances, and it would seem that you meet the criteria. Check out

http://www.nashbar.org/forpublic.htm

They prefer an email but if that’s too uncertain for you you could try them via phone or physical address:

315 Union Street, Suite 800 Nashville, TN 37201

Phone:
615-242-9272

Things may seem grim but don’t drown yourself in a negative spiral. Keep your mind pinned on the positive.

Best of luck to you.

Cookie

 

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (FedUp)
Posted: 7:19:19 pm on 9/10/2008 Modified: Never
 

No offense, but that was my first thought: you can’t afford bus fare, phone minutes or paper/ink, yet you still have internet access?

Are you still in your apartment?

 

 

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (Elyssa Durant)
Posted: 7:14:03 pm on 9/11/2008 Modified: Never
 
My first thought: You’re kidding, right?

My second thought:
Poor thing just deosn’t get it…
Take a look at “Good Fences” available online
http://www.nycvoices.org/article_1132.php
Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
Cell: (615) 424-8810
E-mail: elyssa.durant@columbia.edu

“The paradox of education is precisely this– that as one begins to
become educated, one begins to examine the society in which he [or
she] is being educated.” – Baldwin

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (MLCC)
Posted: 3:21:44 pm on 9/12/2008 Modified: Never
 
It’s the government. Gather your paperwork, make an appointment, haul it down there for them to make a copy of whatever they need. Might be nice if you typed up an itemized summary of whatever they are most interested in gleaning from said paperwork so they might not copy the whole darn pile so trees and taxpayer monies can be saved.

While in need you trade time for assistance (money, food, healthcare) because you have 40-60 hours that most working adults do not have. Spend that 40-60 hours helping others to help you. I hardly think that is asking too much. No free lunches without something in trade.

What really boggles my mind is that there are people out there who cannot afford these simple things that refuse to get out there and take a couple of jobs, any job, doing anything just to get money in their pocket. The illegals manage despite lack of English competency, what is the matter with these people?

Just an ant that can’t comprehend grasshopper attitudes.

exclamation Making Ends Meet When You Can’t the Paper? (Elyssa Durant)
Posted: 10:50:56 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: Never
 
Nashville Bar Association and / or Legal Aid have both reviewed my case, and though I meet the eligibility criteria to obtain services, I found them to be very diasorganized in the application process. And simply could not do anything I hadn’t already tried…

Limits federal limits for financial and certainly qualify for servies under various ADA protected categories, but what people don’t realize is this… All I need is a actual, LIVING-WAGE job.

Trust me, they are harder to find than you might think.

I am certainly far below the income threshold and meet all eligibility requirements for various programs, but all I really want is the opportunity to be judged on my merits– not be forced to identify myself as a recipient of federal funds so that corporation can CLAIM the welfare to work reduction.

Thanks, but no. I do qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation but the state messed up records so badly that I have absoultely no idea what the status of my PASS application is.

Pro-bono and nonprofits community agencies simply are not set up to deal with such complicated inter-related and complex issues. Legal Aid and TPA have both reviwed and evaluated the status of my case.

Neither handle bankruptcy, student loan disputes, or ERISA disputes. The Disability Law and Advocacy Center did not show up to a scheduled negotiation. My designated representative succeeeded at doing one thing: consitently missing every single possible filing deadline regardless of the how many times I called, wrote, or complained for over three years.

That is negligence in my book.

Forgive me for saying so, but those are “advocates” I could do without. It would be nice if I could find someone who is professional enough to at least show up when THEY are being paid.

It would be so much easier if I could, in fact, find a real paying job, however despite my best efforts, I have found very few people who can be sensitive to my situation and allow reasonable accomodations that are my no means too, too disruptive or annoying.

Unfortuantely I will never meet the criteria of a rank and file employee, however I’m starting to think that maybe employers are not making the best of decisions when I look at how many of them are closing up shop. I need a job that pays, in full, on time, and does not mind my attentiomn (or obsession) to detail.

I even once got fired from Red Lobster the management felt I was “not Red Lobster Material.” All in all, I guess that is not such a bad thing, because when I planned goals for myself, I cannot honestly say that being “Red Lobster Material” was not anywhere near the top of my list!

Unforutnately, good intent does not translate into the ability to pay salaries or related expenses such as INTERNET, telephone access or even basic transportation and realted expenses.

I am finding out that there are so many more people out there like myself who are “out-the-door ready and willing to go to work” were it not for the sinking economy and underwhelming job forecasts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I have tried looking at this from every angle, but the bottom line is this: I NEED A JOB!

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will no doubt be revisit your rsuggestions when I attempt to file my taxes again through the VITA program.

Sincerely yours,

Elyssa Durant
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

exclamation Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (Elyssa Durant)
Posted: 10:58:37 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: 11:06:45 pm on 2/3/2009
 
How did I miss this refreshing post?

Thank you so much for not doubting my efforts and sincerity when I tell you I’ve tried.

I know exactly how much money I am costing society, but what I have not done is abuse the system any more than it has abused me.

Surely, we all know that it is easy to skate by in American on less than $600 a month. And trust me if you have ANY illness when you go into the system, you will be so far beyond normal by the time you are through. assuming that is, that you are one the privileged elite who can meet their criteria and be poor like me!

I must be pretty freakin dumb if I thought I could try.

Thank you.

Elyssa

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (Elyssa Durant)
Posted: 11:06:03 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: Never
 
Do you still feel I am abusing the welfare system by paying for internet access? Because I would so love it you could donate some wifi access to anyoneother than myself so others can ennjoy that elusive privilege of speaking loud. Surely someone can donate wifi to all us who should go without voice or recognition for using our words on the government’s dime. Yeah, I guess you are right, I don’t deserve internet access. It makes me angry to see comments like yours that insult my intelligeence and my sense of humor.

Whatever. If it makes you feel any better, I hope you feel just fine.

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (new_wave_princes)
Posted: 12:18:21 am on 4/14/2009 Modified: Never
 
So you are on welfare, can’t afford paper, but can afford computer? No, I don’t feel sorry for you. You probably just don’t want to work.
  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (hagofall)
Posted: 6:33:44 pm on 4/16/2009 Modified: Never
 
I wonder if “new wave…” checks up on whether he’s been read? (I know I do.) I think your (nwp) response in “this” category is kind of reprehensible but in “others” you appear more reasonable–still very angry. So, you are the more newly kicked around and definitely feeling sorry for only your own ilk? Not to mention, we, none of us, want to look pathetic, pride is there and it, somtimes, makes it all the more complex, yes? no?….
  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (new_wave_princes)
Posted: 9:58:29 pm on 4/16/2009 Modified: 9:59:37 pm on 4/16/2009
 
Hagofall, I have no idea what you are asking. I just think it’s wrong that she manages to have internet on welfare but not paper. Her priorities are out of whack. Not one thing I’ve read about her mentions actually looking for any kind of job. I too have a MA, but I’ll take what I can get, and not take welfare.
  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (hagofall)
Posted: 8:56:33 am on 4/17/2009 Modified: Never
 
There are a lot of things going on here, for one, Bait and Switch might be a more appropriate forum for Elyssa. Not that it matters that much. People are just getting it off their chests. But the people Barbara Ehrenreich writes about in Nickeled and Dimed have always been poor and working. What I love greatly about BE’s books is the writing and I am laughing through out. Irony keeps me going. But some people aren’t like me in this and aren’t we all so vastly different when you look at the details? When it comes to what we write via the internet, that is where we seem more alike–in our ideas. Ideas vs. realities.
Anyway, nobody is going to argue with the numbers. I’ll venture to say that there have never been enough jobs for all the people who need them. And now? My local internet “help wanted” site showed 250 jobs with 18,000 job seekers. And this was before all hell broke loose. And don’t forget there is competition for low wage jobs too.
I am fascinated with how people survive. As far as I am concerned nothing is a piece of cake when you’re one us, us being the majority of human beings.
And New Wave Prince, I’ll apologize , because I thought you were being mean but instead we just have different ideas.
 

Barbara Ehrenreich: Elyssa Durant: Bait & Switch, Nickel & Dimed

MODIFIED FROM THE ORIGINAL POST… IT WAS IN FACT “THE WORST DAY EVER”

We live in a society where one accepts responsibility for their mistakes, no one is held accountable for their actions, ao one EVER says they are sorry.

Let me you a small glimpse inside the day in the of the und/underemployed:

I spend day after day after may doing the same thing without any result: I can only offer you a glimpse into day in the life because there io room left to sit in my car, and I believe my apartment may actually be a fire hazard… This was my daily update posted at 7:30am:

I have done everything humanly possible to clean up the slack, however, I feel I have no other choice than to file a formal complaint so that my entire case is reviewed. The number of mistakes are so overwhelming that I simply don’t have enough time to documents each and every one with the respective agency.

I will try to be more specific later without going into too much detail, but unfortunately, that level of detail is required to file the necessary appeals. Ironic huh? This apartment is like my own little cage, and I am just pathetic enough to run around in circles, hoping to find the much like a hamster wheel, rodent chasing in circles hoping to found my way out my way out before I run out air. If only I had finished my damn PhD, I would do my own case study or reality show on how far we’ll go to have nothing at all…

I have taken care of the subrogation claim, however, that does bot minimize my level of frustration because I am DROWNING in paperwork. I have contacted several agencies to assistance such as the Disability Law and Advocacy Center, however, I do not have the resources necessary to provide them with timely response. There is a very limited time allowed to Request Reconsideration, or file an appeal.

I also want to be clear that every time I have to call Social Security or DHS, it only compounds my cost of living expenses (40 cents per minute on the telephone — a bill which is not even considered to be a justifiable expense) Most agencies do not include self-addressed stamped envelopes, and I can not afford the postage required to mail out all of the requested documentation (e.g., utility bills, medical bills, pay stubs, etc.)

Fortunately, a number of agencies will take online complaints. Unfortunately, my internet was interrupted for non-payment for several weeks and their is no funding resource or community agency that provides subsidized Internet access or free printer ink.

Transportation costs are ridiculous so going to the library is not an option. Neither is returning to work right now, since it would cost too much to get to the interview or provide official (expensive) copies of my graduate school transcirpts that were oh, such a good investment!

Set aside, I am not the most user friendly person right about now, so I have found it difficult to put on a happy face so I can work at McDonald’s which pays more than Metro anyway.

The subrogation claim has been resolved but I just learned that my breast biopsy was not pre-authorized and I was told by my INSURANCE CSR (the person who answers the phone!!!) that I should not have the surgery that has already been scheduled at the Women’s Hospital for 8/21/2008. AmeriChoice (United HealthCare) did they did not authorize the biopsy last month, and have not, as of yet, received a request prior authorization for the surgery next week…

This was a lovely 54 minute conversation because he would not mail me copies of my EOBs or confirm that what, if any, requests have been submitted for payment since my last inquiry and change of address. He finally told me to call the state (Tennessee) which I have already done several times, and they told me to call Social Security but it was already past business hours and I am not authorized to make changes to my file anyway.

I’ll be in touch when I can. Unfortunately each agency has different deadlines, and it takes a lot of energy and time to scan in, copy, or respond to each inquiry in writing, so I find myself running out of time since I can’t seem to get anything done unless I just do nothing at all.

And even though my life is a living hell, I have almost learned how to enjoy the sheer irony of it all… for someone with OCD and post-traumatic stress, this is truly a ridiculous little experiment.

I am becoming increasingly inspired to just burn every last document I own, throw away my keys and my cell phone and take Spotty some place where we can live off the land and ignore the fact that society has me chained to a computer screen that screen that does provide the basic necessities I need to live in this .

I have come this far, and I am becoming rather skilled and at expressing myself without needing an audience or the obsessive need to check every fact, throw, and typo for capitalization and perfection.

So for now… I write.

Maybe later, I’ll read, but if there is any justice left in this world, someday, I’ll actually live.

Good-bye for now. I need a break.

With love,Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
Cell: (615) 424-8810
E-mail: elyssa.durant@columbia.edu

“The paradox of education is precisely this– that as one begins to
become educated, one begins to examine the society in which he [or
she] is being educated.” – BaldwinElyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (DURANT)
Posted: 7:14:03 pm on 9/11/2008 Modified: Never
My first thought: You’re kidding, right?

My second thought:
Poor thing just deosn’t get it…
Take a look at “Good Fences” available online
http://www.nycvoices.org/article_1132.php
Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
Cell: (615) 424-8810
E-mail: elyssa.durant@columbia.edu

“The paradox of education is precisely this– that as one begins to
become educated, one begins to examine the society in which he [or
she] is being educated.” – Baldwin

  Appealing the Appalling (DURANT)
Posted: 9:39:44 pm on 9/11/2008 Modified: Never
Today I was finally able to submit the appeal I have waited over three years to submit. And it is just an APPEAL! Not even a decision. Not a win, but also not a loss.

The APPEAL has given me the strength to keep going. In part because it shows that I haven’t lost and in part because it means that somebody actually listening.

So listen carefully, my friends. It was not too long ago that I had almost everything a young person needs to succeed in this world.

Or maybe not.

As for my most current insurance dispute… I feel that I have done everything humanly possible to be sympathetic towards health care provider who is NOT providing care. I cannot sacrifice my own well being for every bright eyed bushy tailed wanna be who is too stupid to see that I am far from.

I had such a battle this week. It culminated in the end like every other battle I have taken on. I only won because ultimately but we are all losing.

For every underqualifed, health care provider who has NOT provided the adequate, there are many more like me. Alienated just enough to give up on fashion, etiquette and social norms, but not enough to walk from it all.

We are keeping watch. We are taking names, and I for one do not give a rat’s ass about “keeping the peace.”

Having been on both sides if the proverbial couch, I have the perspective is both enlightening and scary at the same time.
I look back and want to say shout “told you so” from the nearest roof top.

Crazy is crazy does… out loud. I may be enjoying this just a little too much.

Sometimes I try to look at this fight, (I meant to say this life) objectively.

I can see my own future, and I can see where it is taking me. I know how it will end it I don’t keep up the pace.

It is amazing at how far we will go to have nothing at all.

I have come this far, and on some level I almost enjoy the dance. No. On some level, I actually love the dance.

No. I won’t give up now. Because without this turmoil, this means to an end, this demonstration project of futility and determination, and without it, I am nothing at all. I can’t lose what I never had. I won’t be another sell-out– mostly because I don’t know how.

I am then the voice of perseverance. I am one voice of perseverance. I am one of 47 million Americans. And today I am I am still fighting the good fight.

This battle; this challenge; this half won war this fight has come to define me. And without that, I am not really much of anything at all…

As someone once told me, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. I’ve already fallen, but I sure as **** stand for something.

“… so for now, I write. Maybe later listen. And if there is any justice left in this world, maybe someday, I’ll actually live. “

Good night, folks. It is time for that break.

Elyssa Durant
Nashville, Tennessee

exclamation Making Ends Meet When You Can’t the Paper? (DURANT)
Posted: 10:50:56 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: Never
Nashville Bar Association and / or Legal Aid have both reviewed my case, and though I meet the eligibility criteria to obtain services, I found them to be very diasorganized in the application process. And simply could not do anything I hadn’t already tried…

Limits federal limits for financial and certainly qualify for servies under various ADA protected categories, but what people don’t realize is this… All I need is a actual, LIVING-WAGE job.

Trust me, they are harder to find than you might think.

I am certainly far below the income threshold and meet all eligibility requirements for various programs, but all I really want is the opportunity to be judged on my merits– not be forced to identify myself as a recipient of federal funds so that corporation can CLAIM the welfare to work reduction.

Thanks, but no. I do qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation but the state messed up records so badly that I have absoultely no idea what the status of my PASS application is.

Pro-bono and nonprofits community agencies simply are not set up to deal with such complicated inter-related and complex issues. Legal Aid and TPA have both reviwed and evaluated the status of my case.

Neither handle bankruptcy, student loan disputes, or ERISA disputes. The Disability Law and Advocacy Center did not show up to a scheduled negotiation. My designated representative succeeeded at doing one thing: consitently missing every single possible filing deadline regardless of the how many times I called, wrote, or complained for over three years.

That is negligence in my book.

Forgive me for saying so, but those are “advocates” I could do without. It would be nice if I could find someone who is professional enough to at least show up when THEY are being paid.

It would be so much easier if I could, in fact, find a real paying job, however despite my best efforts, I have found very few people who can be sensitive to my situation and allow reasonable accomodations that are my no means too, too disruptive or annoying.

Unfortuantely I will never meet the criteria of a rank and file employee, however I’m starting to think that maybe employers are not making the best of decisions when I look at how many of them are closing up shop. I need a job that pays, in full, on time, and does not mind my attentiomn (or obsession) to detail.

I even once got fired from Red Lobster the management felt I was “not Red Lobster Material.” All in all, I guess that is not such a bad thing, because when I planned goals for myself, I cannot honestly say that being “Red Lobster Material” was not anywhere near the top of my list!

Unforutnately, good intent does not translate into the ability to pay salaries or related expenses such as INTERNET, telephone access or even basic transportation and realted expenses.

I am finding out that there are so many more people out there like myself who are “out-the-door ready and willing to go to work” were it not for the sinking economy and underwhelming job forecasts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I have tried looking at this from every angle, but the bottom line is this: I NEED A JOB!

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I will no doubt be revisit your rsuggestions when I attempt to file my taxes again through the VITA program.

Sincerely yours,

Elyssa Durant
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

exclamation Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (DURANT)
Posted: 10:58:37 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: 11:06:45 pm on 2/3/2009
How did I miss this refreshing post?

Thank you so much for not doubting my efforts and sincerity when I tell you I’ve tried.

I know exactly how much money I am costing society, but what I have not done is abuse the system any more than it has abused me.

Surely, we all know that it is easy to skate by in American on less than $600 a month. And trust me if you have ANY illness when you go into the system, you will be so far beyond normal by the time you are through. assuming that is, that you are one the privileged elite who can meet their criteria and be poor like me!

I must be pretty freakin dumb if I thought I could try.

Thank you.

Elyssa

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

  Re: Making Ends Meet When You Can’t Afford the Paper (DURANT)
Posted: 11:06:03 pm on 2/3/2009 Modified: Never
Do you still feel I am abusing the welfare system by paying for internet access? Because I would so love it you could donate some wifi access to anyoneother than myself so others can ennjoy that elusive privilege of speaking loud. Surely someone can donate wifi to all us who should go without voice or recognition for using our words on the government’s dime. Yeah, I guess you are right, I don’t deserve internet access. It makes me angry to see comments like yours that insult my intelligeence and my sense of humor.

Whatever. If it makes you feel any better, I hope you feel just fine.

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

question A Letter to the Editor: Are You Kidding Me? (DURANT)
Posted: 7:35:10 am on 2/4/2009 Modified: Never
Elyssa,

I am sorry if you feel that paying $7.50 for an article is too much. The reason as to why we charge for an article is because we offer breaking news before any other publication in Nashville. We have a three-month trial subscription for just $19 if you would like to purchase that. It is only $11.50 more than a single article and you will have full access to our site as well as receive emails alerting you of breaking news.

Please let me know if I can help you.

Thanks,

Allison Anderson
Circulation Coordinator
Nashville Post
624 Grassmere Park
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 301-9228 (desk)
My Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
________________________________________
From: elyssa.durant@columbia.edu [elyssa.durant@columbia.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 4:32 PM
To: feedback
Subject: NashvillePost.com Feedback from Elyssa Durant

I think it really sucks that I can’t read the article posted in account login and password. I have enough of those.

I wasted enough money at Vanderbilt. I should not have to pay $7.50 to read about someone else who feels the Powers That Beat are playing a sophisticated game of bait and switch.

Will someone please forward the text of this article to me online?

http://www.nashvillepost.com/news/2009/2/3/former_vu_student_sues_university

Thank you in advance!

Elyssa

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

exclamation Re: Terrified (DURANT)
Posted: 6:07:48 pm on 2/4/2009 Modified: Never
–repeat with me–

“overqualified.”
“overqualified.”
“overqualified.”

I am with you sister! Thank you for coming forward.

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

question How much am I worth? (DURANT)
Posted: 7:29:51 pm on 2/4/2009 Modified: Never
Morally Bankrupt: How Much Am I Worth?

Last year, it was the election commission… this time it was the Board of Ed who failed to secure the personal information, social security numbers, and financial data of local students and employees.

The Tennessean openly discusses the salary of Metro teachers in the The Tennessean. The reporter makes it sound like she has uncovered some profound secret: Teachers are underpaid. No ****?

The papers seem to gloss over the magnitude if the situation of teacher pay and mobility within Metro Nashville. I wasted a ton of money at Vanderbilt and almost as much in the Ivy League. By investing in a useless program and a worthless degree, I am the first to admit I have made some bad choices, but now I am asking for some advice.

I CAN’T FIND A JOB!

I cannot afford to complete the application, or find transportation to get to an interview.

I am beyond broke. I am so far in debt that I do not even bother to open my mail since it consists only negative balances, bank statements, and letters from collection agencies and the Department of Education.

When I found out that someone recently used my social security number to open an account in Jersey City, I was thrilled at the prospect that my credit score might actually go up!

I never dreamed that I would have to apply for a social services grant simply to find a job. I never thought about fees for fingerprinting, TB tests, official transcripts, examination fees, processing fees necessary to apply a position that really only requires a GED.

As an employee of the Metro Nashville Public Schools, I work part-time as an educator at the “Masters + 30” salary level. I earn $10.46 / hour, before taxes without benefits.

That does not go far, and they are currently eliminating employees, so any chance of a raise or future opportunities for advancement seem unlikely during these tough economic times.

I cannot afford additional application fees or costs associated with the Alternative Certification options, and I certainly do not have the resources required to obtain another undergraduate degree just so I can bypass the 6 months of student teach necessary for Metro to deem me qualified to teach Head Start, pre-k or even adult literacy programs.

The bottom line is this: regardless of good intentions or misguided mentoring, I am a financial burden to you all. I pay taxes out of your taxes. I am absolutely convinced that there must be a better way to live than relying upon government subsidies to keep a roof over my head and Ramen noodles in my tummy.

There is a plethora of young, talented individuals like myself who would be more than willing to work for MNPS or any other company if we could simply access the resources necessary to complete the application. We all know that teacher salary is ridiculous to begin with, so no kudos to the reporter at the Tennessean for pointing out the obvious.

This is the reality I live in. This is poverty. This is why I am hoping that someone out there knows someone or some way that I can contribute more to society than what I am taking. I am a leach on society. I will continue to be a leach on society.

Relying upon the “welfare” of others is a terrible way to live especially when you have something to give back.

People used to laugh when I would inquire about transportation funds, internet access grants or assisted technology funds and resources…

Surely, the AT&T cable bill could have included a measure to assist the disabled and economically challenged members of our community free or discounted online internet service. Certainly one of these big companies coming to Tennessee can help by hiring just one over educated, underemployed, and dedicated employee.

I live so far beneath the poverty line that I am willing to work for the necessities in life that I simply cannot afford such as toothpaste and internet access. I cannot afford the application fees Metro charges for new or returning applicants. I’m not eligible for community training programs or work force development… there are no grant based training programs for people who just made a few bad, BAD investments along the way– say, for example, a college degree?

I am not too proud to beg for a job or take some free advice if it will help me to get from here to there. I need someone, anyone, willing to give me a chance to prove myself. I need someone to invest in me!

I believe I deserve more out of life than this, and I think that if you knew me, you would think so too. Help become the person I was meant to be. Try to the see the person I could become.

I have so much to contribute, but few resources get there. All I want is a chance. All I need is a mentor. Will someone please take the time to invest in me?

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee
E-mail: ed70@columbia.edu

overqualified

The Nashville City Paper || Educated Decision? Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.

Educated decision?

If I didn’t know better, I would think that the local media is supporting the ridiculous decision to transfer MNPS principals from one failing metro school to the next after reading “State reorganization moves on to school principal assignments,” July 9, 2008.

I find it deeply disturbing that the media (and the community) have failed to recognize this for what it is: a desperate attempt to convince the community that we are actively working to improve the quality of education in our public schools.

This last minute attempt to restructure neighborhood schools will most likely do more harm than good to the community at large. The high rate of student mobility in Metro (approximately 40% per year) is compounded by the constant shifting of district-wide changes to school personnel by transferring teachers, administrators, and support staff on a regular basis.

Everything we know about the sociology of education in urban schools shows us that there is a strong correlation between parental involvement and student performance.

One thing that makes magnet, lottery, charter, parochial, and private schools so good is the fact that parents, teachers, students and administrators fight to get in, and fight to stay there.

Successful schools are an extension of the community at large, where everyone works together to create a common set of experiences; creating an environment that encourages parental involvement and community participation.

If Metro continues to alienate educators by disemboweling the organizational structure within public schools, we may just lose the few experienced and dedicated teachers we still have left to surrounding districts, cities, and states.

By failing to examine the issue in further detail, the press and our community leaders are failing in their mission to provide the community with the information they need to participate in the political process that is MNPS. The media have a responsibility to examine and provide the community with the information they need to make informed policy decisions.

Elyssa Durant

http://nighseencreeder.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Educrap from an educrat
After reading Elyssa Durant’s anti-standardized testing harangue in the Nashville City Paper (“Equity in Education,” Aug. 21), I was not at all surprised to learn that the author is a product of a graduate-level education program. Schools of education have long taught future teachers – and other members of the education establishment – to blame everyone but themselves for children not being able to read, write, and do simple math.

The assertion that the ACT and SAT are racially biased is pure poppycock. A student’s score on the ACT or SAT is an excellent measure of his or her ability to do college-level math, science, and writing. If a student cannot solve a simple algebraic equation, or if the same student has but a rudimentary grasp of the rules of grammar, the test that points out the student’s shortcoming should not be impugned. Instead, the parents, teachers, and educrats who allow students to march toward graduation without receiving a proper education are the ones who deserve derision.

Furthermore, Durant’s contention that standardized tests “do not accurately predict academic performance at the college level” is in desperate need of qualification. Some 40 percent of college freshmen require remedial courses in reading, writing or mathematics. These courses, according to Harvard education professor Bridget Terry Long, “are intended to address academic deficiencies and to prepare students for subsequent college success.” Thus, high school students who a generation ago would have been forced into the workforce are given a fifth year to complete their high school coursework. And let’s be clear: remedial classes may be, well, remedial classes; but students enrolled in such classes are expected to learn the material or face the consequences, i.e., a quick and inglorious end to their college experience. For many – nay, most – remedial students, it is the first time in their academic careers that they are forced to learn.

# posted by Joltin’ Django @ Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Nashville City Paper || Educated Decision? Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.

Educated decision?

If I didn’t know better, I would think that the local media is supporting the ridiculous decision to transfer MNPS principals from one failing metro school to the next after reading “State reorganization moves on to school principal assignments,” July 9, 2008.

I find it deeply disturbing that the media (and the community) have failed to recognize this for what it is: a desperate attempt to convince the community that we are actively working to improve the quality of education in our public schools.

This last minute attempt to restructure neighborhood schools will most likely do more harm than good to the community at large. The high rate of student mobility in Metro (approximately 40% per year) is compounded by the constant shifting of district-wide changes to school personnel by transferring teachers, administrators, and support staff on a regular basis.

Everything we know about the sociology of education in urban schools shows us that there is a strong correlation between parental involvement and student performance.

One thing that makes magnet, lottery, charter, parochial, and private schools so good is the fact that parents, teachers, students and administrators fight to get in, and fight to stay there.

Successful schools are an extension of the community at large, where everyone works together to create a common set of experiences; creating an environment that encourages parental involvement and community participation.

If Metro continues to alienate educators by disemboweling the organizational structure within public schools, we may just lose the few experienced and dedicated teachers we still have left to surrounding districts, cities, and states.

By failing to examine the issue in further detail, the press and our community leaders are failing in their mission to provide the community with the information they need to participate in the political process that is MNPS. The media have a responsibility to examine and provide the community with the information they need to make informed policy decisions.

Elyssa Durant

http://nighseencreeder.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Educrap from an educrat
After reading Elyssa Durant’s anti-standardized testing harangue in the Nashville City Paper (“Equity in Education,” Aug. 21), I was not at all surprised to learn that the author is a product of a graduate-level education program. Schools of education have long taught future teachers – and other members of the education establishment – to blame everyone but themselves for children not being able to read, write, and do simple math.

The assertion that the ACT and SAT are racially biased is pure poppycock. A student’s score on the ACT or SAT is an excellent measure of his or her ability to do college-level math, science, and writing. If a student cannot solve a simple algebraic equation, or if the same student has but a rudimentary grasp of the rules of grammar, the test that points out the student’s shortcoming should not be impugned. Instead, the parents, teachers, and educrats who allow students to march toward graduation without receiving a proper education are the ones who deserve derision.

Furthermore, Durant’s contention that standardized tests “do not accurately predict academic performance at the college level” is in desperate need of qualification. Some 40 percent of college freshmen require remedial courses in reading, writing or mathematics. These courses, according to Harvard education professor Bridget Terry Long, “are intended to address academic deficiencies and to prepare students for subsequent college success.” Thus, high school students who a generation ago would have been forced into the workforce are given a fifth year to complete their high school coursework. And let’s be clear: remedial classes may be, well, remedial classes; but students enrolled in such classes are expected to learn the material or face the consequences, i.e., a quick and inglorious end to their college experience. For many – nay, most – remedial students, it is the first time in their academic careers that they are forced to learn.

# posted by Joltin’ Django @ Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Urban Education: Planting Seeds of Trauma by Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.

Urban Education: Planting Seeds of Trauma

NY Times: Multicultural Critical Theory. At B-School

Is Equal Opportunity Just a Myth?

America claims to be dedicated to equal opportunity, yet equality is not sufficient in urban communities. These kids need more. We need to think about equity, not equality. It is not enough to hide them away. These are visions we should never forget.

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I remember thinking back to my days living in Manhattan, coincidentally around the same time Jonathan Kozol conducted his interviews in the South Bronx regarding the social inequalities that contribute to declining (or extinction) of the middle class in America. 

I lived in what is often thought of as “Liberal West Side,” as Harlem was undergoing rapid transformation and gentrification when Mayor Rudolph Giuliani took office.

Once Clinton moved his office to onto West 125th Street, the heart of Harlem. I can now say with near certainty, that the process is complete as America continues to push out the poor through gentrification, homelessness, and institutionalization.

I remember thinking back to my days living in Manhattan, coincidentally around the same time Kozol conducted his interviews in the South Bronx when writing  I lived in what Kozol refers to as Manhattan’s “Liberal West Side,” an area that was undergoing rapid transformation and gentrification at the time Mayor Rudolph Giuliani took office.

In Amazing Grace: The lives of children and the conscience of a nation, Jonathan Kozol paints a vivid picture of the conditions in the poorest sections of New York City. During the early to mid 1990’s, Kozol made several visits to Mott Haven in the South Bronx. As he describes in Amazing Grace, the South Bronx is one of the most severely segregated and poorest Congressional Districts in the United States.

The members of this community have been segregated into a hell plagued with sickness, violence and despair. Kozol argues that this strategic placement serves to isolate the rich from the realities they have thrust upon their fellow man. New Yorkers do not stroll through the streets of Mott Haven, and taxicabs take no short cuts through Beekman Avenue. Many taxicabs will not even venture past East 96th Street. Out of sight is out of mind.

There is no excuse for the conditions in which these people must live. No person should be forced into an apartment that has a higher ratio of cockroaches and rats than human beings.

In 1995, the American Sociological Association (ASA) held its annual conference in New York City. Prior to that meeting, they sent out a fact sheet that may be of interest to ASA members. In this sheet, they too described the same social conditions and asked their members to take note of the changes that occur at 96th Street. I can assure you that the conditions Kozol describes in his book were not exaggerated.

These children are desperately in need of the best schools, yet we give them the worst. They have few libraries, few safe havens, few doctors, and few role models. They have every reason to believe that they are throwaway children and we have certainly not shown them anything else. The social services we have provided are a bureaucratic nightmare. People in need are treated as sub-human, and made to feel ashamed of being poor.

These are among the sickest children in the world. Americans claim to be dedicated to the children and fool ourselves into believing that we are doing them a favor by providing them with medical care, public education, and public housing. Yet, the quality of their neighborhoods speaks volumes of our sentiment and intentions.

Shortly after Amazing Grace was published, managed care rapidly moved onto the New York scene. Around the same time, the Mayor announced he would be closing some of the hospitals that served the poorest of the poor because of financial problems associated with payment and large trauma departments.

Kozol makes the point that people could attempt to gain admissions at a better hospital than Bronx-Lebanon; yet, the privatization of Medicaid has now made this completely impossible. Further restrictions on medical care are inevitable as the result of Medicaid managed care. The law is not designed to protect these people, and this was made obvious in a recent conversation I had with a friend who practices medicine in New York.

My friend John works as a board certified trauma physician at a private hospital on the Upper East Side. The last black patient he treated at Beth Israel was famed rock singer Michael Jackson. I asked him if he ever gets any asthma patients in his ER. He knew immediately of whom I was speaking. “You mean the kids from the South Bronx?” he asked. He told me that they know better than to show up at Beth Israel. “But if they do?” I asked, and he replied, “We ship them back.”

This is the reality. The best doctors treat the wealthiest patients rather than the sickest. Schools educate the best students rather than the neediest. It is no wonder that these children perform poorly in school. By every measure, these children are destined for failure. Their home life is less than enchanting, and they do not benefit from enriched environments and educated parents.

Certainly, there are many dedicated parents who care about their children, but is that enough? When I was in school, children frequently asked the teacher, how will this help later in life. In my class, there was an unequivocal reply, but it could be argued that what children in the South Bronx need to learn couldn’t be taught in the classroom.

There is no doubt that the prevalence of violence in urban neighborhoods affects the ability of children to perform well in school. There is a large body of empirical evidence that demonstrates the effects of chronic stress on memory and the learning process. Rather than taking the children out of these communities, we have constructed prison like buildings for them to attend school. They routinely have gunfire drills reminding them that danger is never far behind.

Children cannot learn in this environment. This constant stress triggers “hot-memory.” Hot memory can be thought of as learning with your heart and not your mind. It is no wonder children perform inadequately in this environment.

It is bad enough that children live in such conditions, must we educate in them too? If we want underprivileged children to learn and grow spiritually, we must create an environment that allows their cool memory systems to take over.

It is only under these conditions that children will permit themselves to learn and develop their intellectual strengths. We have failed to create a safe home environment for urban children, but we can give serious thought to creating a school environment outside of the community so they have fewer fear-driven hours each day.

Studies consistently report lower academic achievement in urban neighborhoods like Mott Haven in the South Bronx. Children growing up in urban neighborhoods have a much higher incidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most researchers believe this to be the direct result of living in stressed communities plagued with street crime and violence. The potential impact of chronic stress on academic performance and achievement is not known, but reading scores in neighborhoods like Mott Haven certainly seem to indicate some type of causal relationship. There is virtually no research on looking at the long-term effects of this inflated incidence of PTSD among urban populations. It is important to develop an understanding of the effects of fear on the academic performance of urban adolescents so we can begin to dismantle the myths regarding school performance and minority children.

Under these conditions, it is not surprising to learn that students also report pervasive feelings of fear and do not feel secure despite the added presence of security personnel on school grounds. For these students, school is a mere extension of the violent communities in which they live.

Since urban communities have many different sources of stress, it is important to examine how school policies contribute to the learning environment in public schools. The quick response has been to install weapons detectors and hire school security for urban schools. The presence of school security certainly affects the climate of American public schools by establishing school environments that focus more on student behavior than student achievement. Together, the urban public school and the communities they serve are a constant reminder of the poor living conditions and social reality of urban America.

The secured environment is an indication of the roles students are expected to play later in life. This is a lesson they will not soon forget.

Kozol makes it quite clear that there are several exceptional children in this community. There are probably as many exceptional children here as every other community around the country, yet, so few of them will make it out of the South Bronx. Kozol is careful not to dwell on the exceptional cases of children who successfully navigate their way into the main stream of society. Kozol does this so we do not develop a false sense of hope. If we cling to a few exceptional cases, we may come to believe that what we are giving enough to children like Anthony or Anabelle. Clearly, we can do more. Failure should be the exception—not the rule. Success should be the norm, and until it is, we should not give up hope for these children.

America claims to be dedicated to equal opportunity, yet equality is not sufficient in a community like Mott Haven. These kids need more. We need to think about equity, not equality. It is not enough to hide them away. These are visions we should never forget.

Welcome to America. The Wealthiest Nation in the World.  Now leave.

Reference: Amazing Grace: The lives of children and the conscience of a nation. (by Jonathan Kozol)

http://thepowersthatbeat.blogspot.com/2010/01/urban-education-planting-seeds-…