I was honored this past weekend (and I accidentally lied)

Posted on September 18, 2014

When I wrote my earlier post about simply attending the Rising Tide new media conference in New Orleans this past weekend I was really just planning to check it out and meet up with some folks. When I wrote that post I was not intending on speaking, just mingling . . . and then I was notified I would be receiving a reward, the Ashley (Morris) Award – a blogger of the year for the New Orleans area.
Ashely Morris is best known for this FYYFF post after Katrina that crassly but directly gave voice to the anger and spirt of many displaced New Orleanians in the wake of the storm, the bungled response, the finger pointing and is the (un)official motto of the Rising Tide Conference. (It’s a great example of what blogs and bloggers can do that traditional media outlets often shy away from doing by trying to appear balanced and impartial.)
Incidentally I was one of only two non-New Orleans based bloggers to ever receive it. (The other one wasLamar White from CenLamar, another excellent choice.)

As you can see. . . I had just the right tie for this esteemed event at Xavier University.
Get a close look. This is a one of a kind award created by an New Orleans folk artist and Rising Tide organizer named Lance Vargas that specializes in wood sculptures and designs, not some tired plastic plaque or trophy from a generic Awards Depot R Us joint.
If you are looking for some great and unique ideas for some early Christmas shopping Lance’s work can be found here: http://leveeland.com and his blog can be found here: http://thechicory.com/blog/
I love my award. . . my favorite part is the fist – of course, and it will fit in great with most of my other artwork, antiques, old-school wood paneling and décor. My award is signed so I think that makes it art too. J
Other previous Ashley winners were noticeably jealous and even asked (only half-jokingly) if I would consider swapping with them. Sorry Lamar, you’ll just have to try and win another one.
I did get to meet some great folks at this conference. I discussed a number of issues pertaining to education in Lafayette and New Orleans charters and I hope to stay in touch with those folks that reached out to me. If you want to see the various tweets that transpired during the Rising Tide Conference number 9, please refer to #RT9.
The education speaker at the Conference was Dr. Andre Perry. He has some interesting perspectives and some quotable nuggets on education issues that I and others chose to tweet during his speech. One of the interesting points he made was that the thousands of displaced teachers in New Orleans were as much victims of the tragic and corrupt school system as the students and that they lost their jobs as a result of apathy towards their plight as anything else. These teachers were often anchors and pillars of their communities, communities that these children of New Orleans live in, By eliminating so many breadwinners, teachers and role models from poorer communities of color the plight of many of these children was worsened. The younger, more affluent, whiter teachers did not live in the communities with these children. Dr. Perry made a statement I agree with that flies in the face of common Reformer messaging. He stated that communities and societies transform schools, schools do not transform societies. The Reformer belief is that if you simply “educate” kids (as measured by improving a standardized math or English score) you will raise up the entire society. I think that’s an interesting idea, but is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what education “is” and how kids are most successfully educated and positioned for success.
Education Reformers love to claim they are “data driven” and conscious. The problem Is they often oversimplify data and draw conclusions that are not supported by evidence but by wishes and their philosophies about how they think the world should word, not how it actually does. In Reformer World, everything is black and white and reducible. For instance: The US has the highest poverty rate of almost every industrialized nation. Educated people tend to make more money statistically. The more education (up to master’s degrees – PhDs are more dependent upon subject studied) the more money people generally make. Poor people tend to have less education. If we “educate” all poor people they will make more money and all of society’s ills will be cured.

The Poverty and Education Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

For starters, Reformers have made a classic logic flaw – assuming that correlation equals causation. Just because you have identified a correlation, does not mean you can use that single piece of “data” to impact an outcome. For example, most people would agree that birds that fly have feathers. There is a strong I was honored this past weekend (and I accidentally lied) | Crazy Crawfish's Blog: