Armstrong Became A Functional School Again

Earlier I looked at Langston which, as far I know, is still a husk of a building. Langston was a school where African American children learned and played. But despite being on the Register of Historic Places, it is still a decaying structure. Armstrong was also on the Register and it was delivered back to the land of the living and in the 2023-2024 school year be a place where African American children learn and play.

Armstrong Manual Training School. Under renovation. Taken October 14, 2007

The school underwent renovation in 2007 to turn it into a charter school. The man heading up the effort was Kent Amos, who is still alive. He was operating a profitable looking non-profit and was able to funnel about $24 million dollars into turning a decaying building to transform it into a functioning school.

Armstrong Technical High School Ruins
Armstrong HS, view from P and 1st St NW taken 6/26/2007

In 2009 neighbors complained that the CAPCS charter school was renting out the building to the Metropolitan Baptist Church and turning the field on 1st Street NW into a parking lot.  Yes, that parking lot got sneaked on.

View of Armstrong Parking Lot from Dunbar High School window. Taken April 2018.

There were problems with the CAPCS school and it’s founder. In 2015 Jennie Niles, the Deputy Mayor for Education issued a letter saying:

Dear CAPCS Parents and Guardians,

This morning, the District of Columbia Public Charter School Board (PCSB), an independent board, voted to revoke the charter for Community Academy Public Charter School (CAPCS). While the vote will undoubtedly cause angst for the 1,600 CAPCS students and their families, the District of Columbia is ready to make sure that the needs of the students are met for the 2015-16 school year.

At the request of Mayor Bowser, I developed a plan in collaboration with Friendship Public Charter Schools, DC Bilingual Public Charter School, and the Chancellor of DC Public Schools to provide as much continuity as possible for CAPCS students and families.

Armstrong Campus (1400 First Street, NW): Friendship Public Charter School will assume operations beginning next school year (2015-16) for all 523 students……

After that Armstrong has been operating as a regular old charter school. I’m happy it is a building that is being used and maintained.

Armstrong Technical High School, March 1942. Photo by Marjorie Collins.


Sometimes smaller is better

I’m going through my old drafts. Some I rewrite, such as this one. Some I delete. And some I rewrite, still think they’re crap and delete them. This was written October 8, 2008.

1700 Blk Richardson Place NW, Dec 2005

I’ve just finished reading an article regarding the upsides of raising a family in a 1,200 sf house over that of a McMansion. The author writes:

Looking back on 18 years of living small, I see that our snug house has prevented us from easily avoiding one another by retreating into our own spaces. We’ve been able to eavesdrop on our kids as they played with friends and look over their shoulders as they did homework on the dining room table. It’s been good for our health too, forcing all of us, especially our sons, to spend more time out-of-doors. There simply isn’t room to get too rowdy inside, so often they have headed outside to a neighborhood park that’s conveniently located just across the street.I hope we’ve given our sons the message that wealth doesn’t come from our material possessions, but instead from the diversity of experiences we have and the richness of our community.

The author also mentions that with a smaller house she could pay off the mortgage quicker, heat it for less and have a better commute. I already have the great commute. It is my great luck to work for an agency whose DC metro branches are all along the Green Line. My current commute is a 30-45 minute walk, or 20 minutes by metro, and that is priceless. The house is small and there isn’t much to heat or cool, and I tend to be happy lounging in 1/6th of the space. And there is the possibility of actually paying off the mortgages in the next 15 years, but I owe that more to when I bought the house as opposed to the size of the house.

The article was in the conservative online magazine Culture 11 “Living Small”

Feeling Like A Bit Player In A Greek Tragedy

The podcast Myths and Legends is a pretty good reminder of one of  the problems with being in a Greek tragedy, that bad thing you’re trying to avoid is going to happen. Sometimes the very actions taken to avoid the bad thing, lead straight to the bad thing. That’s one way of looking at things, the other is to blame the Oracle for giving vague easily misinterpreted answers.

Shaw has experienced tragedy. It took 30+ years for the neighborhood to mostly recover from the 1968 riots. Of course, prior to the first window broken or building fire, the neighborhood suffered as a slum.

Southeast on 7th and M Street, 1969

I wonder, and this is just me spitballing, if some actions taken to ‘improve’ the neighborhood, or anywhere, could wind up doing the opposite. I used ‘improve’ in quotes because I’ve seen enough government records to get a bit jaded. Along with plans from the past that did not work out the way they were supposed to. And in the case of George Basiliko and his “improving” the Bates area, I see the road of good intentions being contracted out to a corrupt front that on paper is supposed to build the road but pockets the money elsewhere.

Ignore me. I’m in a mood.

History of the Negro Church- A Dull Report

So in prepping for February 2023, I have finally finished Shaw resident and father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson’s, History of the Negro Church. Good lord this book is boring. I’m just yawning at the thought of writing anything about it.

Sadly, this book is not as engaging as the Mis-Education of the Negro. But there are some useful parts, which unfortunately require getting through the tedious parts of the book to appreciate.

19-22-011-museum.jpgBishop Richard Allen By Dsdugan - Self-photographed, CC0, Link

One of the biggest things I got out of it was that African Americans were organizing and establishing and operating churches and preaching in America prior to the Civil War. Slavery and emancipation where major themes in the book. It is also Methodist heavy.

Thinking of this book makes me wonder if there is an alternative approach to Black history, which tends to be focused on the period of slavery. It is so much so, one may be left with the impression that African Americans didn’t do anything until they were emancipated, either by running North or with the Emancipation Proclamation.

There are gems, but you need to dig through a lot of dullness to get to them. When February rolls around, I’ll try not to bore anyone. Well, no more than I normally bore you.

Memory Lane: Richardson Place, 2005

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

1700 Blk Richardson Place NW, Dec 2005

So flipping through some old photos, I found this old gem from  2005.

Memory Lane: Morgan St NW Stairs, ca 2003

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

So flipping through some old photos, I found this photo from 2003-ish.

Memory Lane: 1623 New Jersey Ave, 2003

Popup in process

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

So flipping through some old photos, I found this old gem from  2003, maybe. I don’t trust the date.

As you can see a pop up is popping up in this picture. The 2004 photo hides the pop up.

Memory Lane: Shaw Library 2006- the ugly one

I was looking through my old Flickr account because I am going to either shut it down or something where I am not paying a large annual fee to keep it.

So flipping through some old photos, I found this old gem from August 2006. Above is the Waltha T. Daniels Shaw Library in 2006. There is a much prettier library in that spot now.

Back to School, for what?

If you look at data for Black children’s literacy rates in America, it is just so depressing. The shut down of schools during Covid didn’t help.  There is lots of blame to go around. Parents, community, culture, education fads, and the kids themselves play a part.

So take your anti-depression meds and lets look at Shaw education as school gets back in session.

Back in the Winter of 2019-2020 I looked at all the Shaw schools I could get data on. To be fair, I’ll stick to the 2018-2019 PARCC data, because in 2020 everything went to Hell in a hand basket. Even if there is 2019-2020 data, it would be worse.

Black students PARCC Test Meets/Exceeds Below Adv & Failing
Dunbar ELA 2018-19 16.50% 83.50%
Dunbar Math 2018-19 0.50% 99.50%
Dunbar Males ELA 13.40% 86.60%
Dunbar Males Math 0.90% 99.10%
Cleveland E ELA 2018-19 20.30% 79.70%
Cleveland E Math 2018-19 20.30% 79.70%
Cleveland E Males ELA 10.80% 89.20%
Cleveland E Males Math 24.30% 75.70%
St. Augustine** ELA 2017-2018 49% 51%
St. Augustine** Math 2017-2018 51% 49%
Friendship PCS- Armstrong Elementary ELA 2018-19 9.20% 90.80%
Friendship PCS- Armstrong Elementary Math 2018-19 22.90% 77.10%
Friendship PCS- Armstrong Elementary Males ELA 7.30% 92.70%
Friendship PCS- Armstrong Elementary Males Math 18.20% 81.80%
Center City PCS – Shaw ELA 2018-19 26.50% 73.50%
Center City PCS – Shaw Math 2018-19 28.90% 71.10%
Center City PCS – Shaw Males ELA 13.60% 86.40%
Center City PCS – Shaw Males Math 31.80% 68.20%
KIPP- LEAD (1-4) ELA 2018-19 39.70% 60.30%
KIPP- LEAD (1-4) Math 2018-19 68.60% 31.40%
KIPP- LEAD (1-4) Males ELA 30.00% 70.00%
KIPP- LEAD (1-4) Males Math 62.20% 37.80%
KIPP- WILL (5-8) ELA 2018-19 36.40% 63.60%
KIPP- WILL (5-8) Math 2018-19 32.10% 67.90%
KIPP- WILL (5-8) Males ELA 29.30% 70.70%
KIPP- WILL (5-8) Males Math 28.70% 71.30%
Garrison ES ELA 2018-19 37.50% 62.50%
Garrison ES Math 2018-19 27.50% 72.50%
Garrison ES Males ELA 45.50% 54.50%
Garrison ES Males Math 36.40% 63.60%
Meridian ELA 2018-19 16.80% 83.20%
Meridian Math 2018-19 14.20% 85.80%
Meridian Males ELA 14.70% 85.30%
Meridian Males Math 14.70% 85.30%
Mundo Verde ELA 2018-19 22.00% 78.00%
Mundo Verde Math 2018-19 22.00% 78.00%
Mundo Verde Males ELA 20.00% 80.00%
Mundo Verde Males Math 25.00% 75.00%
Seaton ES ELA 2018-19 35.00% 65.00%
Seaton ES Math 2018-19 37.50% 62.50%
Seaton ES Males ELA 31.60% 68.40%
Seaton ES Males Math 26.30% 73.70%

**St. Augustine is a predominately African American school and does not break down data by race.

I am left asking myself what percentage of Black students who are below reading level or does not meet expectations in math acceptable? It sure as heck isn’t 99% or 80% as it is at Dunbar.

Ads on InShaw

I’m trying something.

And I have no idea of what I’m doing.

I’ve been approved to add Google ads to the site. I’m trying to figure out how to not put them all over the place and be obnoxious. If you don’t see anything, good. If you see one or two ads, good. If they are all over the friggin place, not good, and tell me.