For those who don't understand my title, I went to s Jesuit run school called Nativity. It was pretty much free. The point is it was a school for lower income inner city kids that was supposed to connect them with elite high schools.
I have talked to some people about what it would mean to start something like this in Chinatown because I thought a version of this type of school (not all boys, and not all low income) would be a way to promote Chinese culture among a diverse student body. Diverse both in race, culture, and economic background... just like Chinatown is. At the same time what would hold this group together would be that they would learn Chinese and learn about Chinese culture.
Recently I was approached for a gig at Josiah Quincy for their after school program and I heard something disturbing which I haven't given much though to since my mother had to fight for a spot at that school.
A lot of kids from Chinatown, who live within walking distance of the Quincy lower and upper schools, are shipped to Harvard Kent, Edward School, Charlestown High...
The parents are in tears because their kids get home pretty late, and their after school program is pretty much being on a bus.
(It would be good to do an interview with some of these kids and their families huh? Anybody know anyone or want to share their story?)
Some people blame this on the high rise condos and "those parents" taking up the spots.
Someone else can share that story if they want. I am going to briefly share a story from one of "those parents."
Living in JP I had the opportunity to talk to a Gay father of an adopted black child. His partner was Chinese. From his perspective, a lot of low income Chinese are bigoted towards blacks, towards gays, and he and his family had a hard time with the other parents and he had some stories about the administration as well. His tactic was to raise a shitload of money for the school and then suddenly people listened to what he needed.
On the other side people feel that higher income parents might be better represented and that's unfair to the lower income parents.
I immediately say to this, "Doesn't more money for the school mean more money for everyone in the school?"
But actually this series of posts is not so much about that issue, but about solution.
Chinatown just needs more schools.
I'm sure the CPA and other groups are fighting for the Government to provide this. Let them. That's great. Send me something to post and I'll post it.
But having gone to Nativity I know there is yet another solution.
We.. and I mean WE, can make a few small private schools for lower income families.... and have them be affordable for higher income families too. Why not? Everyone wants to go to a school down the street. And a smaller school means they will have more say and flexibility fro what goes on at that school.
Chinatown already has the buildings and the organizations.
Kwong Kow Chinese school could totally have a school during the day. The building is there, it just isn't being used.
The CCBA building used to be the old Josiah Quincy School. During the school day those classrooms are underused. It could have a school in there again.
The On Leong Building could have a school in there.
Boston Chinese Evangelical Church has a lot of stuff for the community. They could also have a school.
St. James Church is probably the most underused building I have ever seen. You could totally have a school n there.
Oak Tin association is a powerful Family association. It could house a school.
Wong's Association too.
All of these locations could have small schools in them. Would they be exactly like Public schools? As big? As impressive in there INSTITUTION? No. But they can have a few kids in there learning something during the day for local kids whose parents are working and need the kid to be taken care of.
So we have the buildings.. what about the teachers?
Okay so you don't necessarily need accredited teachers. Don't we have a lot of Chinese people looking for work in Chinatown?
Think of the most anti-Chinese racist you know. Can you ever imagine them saying, "Chinese are no good at math." Can you imagine them saying, "Chinese are no good at Chinese." So there's your first to subjects.
What about English and Science? What about sports and art? What about Creativity? Okay I'll get to that in my next post.
But the focus of these schools should be Chinese, Math, Science, and programming. And these schools, small as they are, will have high income families fighting for spots because of their location and because of what they are offering. How?
I'll get into that in my next post.
Now I know some of my friends are like, "Adam just likes to talk."
But consider this. I started talking and e-mailing about a Chinatown Library at the CCBA. Now I didn't do any of the legwork.... but before I started talking and e-mailing there was no library at the CCBA. And now there is. So I figure if I talk and e-mail about these schools, a few might start to appear. And Chinatown can totally use more than one.
Oh yeah. The function rooms in the several projects and Condos. Tai Tung, Mass Pike, Archstone, Metropolitan, Castle Court. Yes you could have schools there too. I don't know about the legalities of this... but at Mission Park, (a housing project with a lot of Chinese... a lot of whom go to JQS in Chinatown) they have a little Chinese School and other programs. Now you can say that there is a big difference between having an after school program and a full day school in a building. You need this, this and this. Okay. I'm not arguing with that. But can you physically teach about 30 kids in some of these spaces. Yes you can.
Next post: Whose teaching?