Friday, January 29, 2016

Career Fair at Reagan HS

Today, we participated for the third year in the annual Reagan HS career fair.  It's one of the only high schools that still does career fairs, and it's a good opportunity to meet other folks who are providing post-high school options to students.  We learned from an Americorps member who helps Reagan students with college prep that 15 Reagan students plan to graduate this spring with not only their HS diploma, but with an Associates Degree from ACC through the Early College program at Reagan.  That shows a lot of hard work.
Hart counting pennies from the Penny Poll jars after the career fair

We appreciated having the opportunity to talk with students, and the t-shirt challenge elicited some good comments from students and staff, too.  As always, the Penny Poll showed strong support for funding Education (31% of the penny votes) and Health Care (28%), and 21% for the Environment, 13% for the Military and 7% for Humanitarian Aid. When students see the tape unfold showing actual government spending priorities, we can see the surprise on their faces.  The tape shows 6% for Education.

Susana showing the graph of actual federal spending after student votes in Penny Poll

The down side of the day was seeing Army and Navy recruiters there who were asking students to fill out forms with their contact information.  I went over and showed them the written AISD policy prohibiting that, but the Navy recruiters continued to ask students to fill out the forms throughout the career fair, directly flouting AISD policy.  We are following up with AISD about this.

Our reflection poster received thoughtful responses, as always.  The question was:  Which Super-villain do you want to fight:  Sexism, Racism, Ecocide, Poverty or War -- and how?

  And one student said that she would fight against Trump, because he represented all the super-villains!  We don't promote candidates at our tables, but we appreciated that response!

Thanks, Reagan students, for visiting our table and sharing your thoughts with us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"The Four Freedoms"

As part of our t-shirt challenge, we ask students to name the 5 basic freedoms guaranteed in the US Constitution's First Amendment.  Today, thanks to the "Today in Peace History" message from Carl Bunin's Peace Buttons website, I was reminded of the "4 Freedoms" that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stressed on this date in 1941, which overlap with our Constitutional rights, but add more.  They seem particularly relevant now:

January 6, 1941
President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
in his 1941 State of the Union 
address,introduced the idea
of the "Four Freedoms":

freedom of speech and expression;

freedom of every person to 
worship God in her or his own way;

freedom from want; 

and freedom from fear.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

SOY tabling in big cat country

We were glad to visit LBJ HS today with our crew of 5, the t-shirt challenge, our materials and optimism for the new year.  As LBJ is home of the jaguars, we included a question about that noble animal in our challenge questions, and our reflection poster had to do with environmental effects of war.  One conclusion based on responses:  students could benefit from learning more about the environment altogether, especially now, when the effects of climate change are all around us.

As always, student priorities showed a strong interest in more funding for education -- and, if their voices were heard, it wouldn't be a problem to fund more classes in environmental science, for example.

Penny Poll results showed 42% of the vote for Education, 20.6% for Health care, 18.7% for the Environment, 12.7% for Humanitarian Aid and 6% for the Military.  Students expressed surprise and dismay when they saw the graph showing how the US federal budget is really allocated.

Thanks to the Jaguars for welcoming us today. (And be sure to read up about your mascot).