WGBH Journal; Business Pairing
Good evening and welcome to GBH Journal. I'm Greg Fitzgerald and in the next 30 minutes Journal reporters will look at how public school and private business in Boston have paired off in a desegregation plan. And historical look at the Roxbury action program which has long stood as a symbol of community revitalization in Boston.
And finally a report from Pacifica on what alternative alternatives radio provides for kids on Saturday mornings. First a look at some new stories.
Members of the Norfolk Walpole strike support coalition gathered on the statehouse steps this afternoon calling on Governor Dukakis to resolve the 11 week old strike at Norfolk prison before he leaves office. Inmates are demanding an end to strip searches of their visitors and doing consistencies in the prison classification system. They have refused to negotiate on these issues until there are 27 elected leaders removed from the prison at the beginning of the strike. I returned the strike support coalition presented the governor with almost 1000 signatures on petitions supporting these demands.
Reporter Amy sands Das coalition spokesperson John McGrath why the return of those 27 men is so particularly important to the inmates because one of the basic foundations of a person to be a productive citizen is the right to elected leadership is the right to vote people in to represent the concerns of the different systems. The minute I've been operating under the Constitution for the last three or four years the Department of Corrections ignored a constitution that they themselves helped. I just took the strike leadership men and ship them out of the institution.
The Norfolk twenty seven as they are called were recognised by the Department of Corrections as a legitimate inmate Representatives before the strike. The department is justifying their removal as an emergency measure taken to deal with what they call an illegal work stoppage.
They are calling that an illegal stoppage but they are not calling the beatings of the men at Walpole an off walk transfer was illegal. Their conception of what is legal in illegal is up to question at this point.
As to outgoing Governor Dukakis speculation on Beacon Hill is that he will not want to leave any unfinished business behind him and will move soon to get negotiations going at Norfolk present. In a related story John McGrath who spoke for the strike support coalition this afternoon was arrested at Walpole prison last night. Krap an ex-con convict and member of the strike support group Families and friends of prisoners is charging the Department of Corrections with harassing him for being critical of the state's prisons. Well I went up.
As a private time job. I do legal investigative work for a law firm. And I had visited my client a little less than a week and a half ago. And I went back up last night to go back into interview on some matters to deal with his defense the administration that the president denied me access that I was an ex-felon. That I had no right to that is because I was an ex-felon. This is the case of no harassment.
Corrections Department spokesman Larry Parr now said McGrath was denied access to the prison because paralegal workers are not allowed in the prison after 3:00 pm. McGrath arrived at the prison at 6:30 pm.
McGrath I Webber said he visited the prison as a legal worker at 6:30 p.m. about two weeks ago and was allowed in at that time. Both the University of Massachusetts faculty and the school's trustees are trying to pick up. Pick an independent mediator to help resolve the long running dispute over UMass faculty and staff contracts. But while both sides admit a contract is not a long way off UMass faculty members at both the Amhurst and Boston campuses today continued picketing to protest the stalled negotiations as was the case yesterday only about 25 percent of the normal teaching force was in the classroom today on the Boston campus. The rest were picketing and in Amhurst the faculty union announced they would charter buses to haul faculty members to demonstrate when the new UMass president David Knapp. He's inaugurated October 29 in Boston. Three Massachusetts towns were awarded a combined total of nine point nine million dollars in development money from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department alone received the largest portion of the grant. A low interest 5 million dollar loan will be given to the city to finance industrial development for low and moderate income housing. Lin and Fall River will also receive funds to spur public and private development. The U.S. House voted yesterday to fully fund a new 75 million dollar federal office building in downtown Boston. A previous bill allocated only 15 million three areas are under consideration for the building North Station South Station and the combat zone. Officials report the combat zone is the best location currently some 4000 federal workers are located in leased office space. The employment picture in the way been improved in August according to figures released today by the U.S. Labor Department. A total of more than five point two million people were employed in the region with a gain of 25000 jobs over July and an increase of 190000 jobs compared to August a year ago. Increases in jobs in the textile industry and other durable goods industries more than offset the loss of thirty two hundred jobs in the production of non electrical machinery and the loss of 900 jobs in the manufacturing of transportation equipment. Three members of the Boston Clamshell Alliance were arrested today in front of the First National Bank of Boston. They were part of a 20 person contingent carrying on a nonviolent anti-nuclear demonstration protesting the bank's policy of loaning money to the Public Service Company of New Hampshire which is building a nuclear power plant in Seabrook New Hampshire. Bank officers requested that the protesters keep the bank's entrances clear for the customers. The alliance members tried to enter the bank as an act of civil disobedience. Their way was blocked by police. They then sat on the sidewalk and were arrested. Police said that the three were being charged with trespassing and that they will be arraigned tomorrow morning in Boston municipal court.
It has been four years since Judge W. Arthur Garrity ordered Boston's public schools to be segregated.
The process has not always been an easy one though this year the violence which has traditionally plagued the start of every school year has visibly subsided. One under publicized outgrowth of the desegregation order was the one on one pairing of Boston's high schools with the university's cultural institutions and businesses. The Business Link in particular has rarely been examined to see if it has been successful in helping specific Boston schools banks insurance companies and Massport have all participated in this pairing program. We sent the journal's Vivian duke out to investigate the program.
The business pairings are coordinated by a group called the trilateral Council. It consists of members of the Chamber of Commerce the National Alliance of businessmen and the school department. Over the last four years an average of 13000 students per year have been brought into business settings where they have participated in a variety of many courses in turn chips and work study programs. The programs are designed to help alleviate the high unemployment rate of inner city kids by providing them with pre business skills. Many of these programs have been successful but a large problem has been the general lack of publicity. Even more students have been indirectly affected by the pairing system. The business community has been instrumental in instigating and financing improvements in the overall curriculum of the schools. Not only students but also businesses have something to gain from this investment. Joe Smith a liaison between the business and school Department explains.
Now remember it's not a one way program. We is we in the educational community feel that we have something to offer the businesses to in terms of our people power and the preparing of our students by their exposure to the business community will enable business to have a more prepared young person for the world to work.
Is that the main point. I mean quit for what you feel you can after the business is a better trained employee coming out of high school.
What we can offer us what we can obtain from business is a wealth of resources that include anything from guest speakers to the development of programs to job opportunities internships to better curriculum I'm talking about citywide programs now. Last year we were instrument instrumental in putting together a job hunting workshop for all seniors and it was a curriculum that was developed and it was. Overseen and consulted with by the business community. We've also developed curriculum citywide in terms of occupational education the business community has really been proactive in this area. Getting the school department to become more aware of its need to update its curriculum.
Often it's the support systems of large corporations that can provide the best occupational training. A firm like John Hancock has its own cafeteria with facilities to feed 3000 it's own infirmary and an in-house typewriter repair shop all of which are ideal sites for students to game pre business experiences. In some cases teachers have been brought into similar settings to improve their knowledge of vocational areas. One East Boston home economics teacher for example spent the summer in the kitchens of the Boston Sheraton. At the end of the occupational training ladder there is an evident glee the need for full time employment. According to Bob lamb fear of John Hancock the pairing system has been instrumental in establishing a feeling of commitment of a particular company toward the graduates of the high school with which it is linked.
One of the the better things about this one on one partnership between a school any particular business is that a company begins to feel a commitment to that partner school. In our case John Hancock is paired with English High School. And because we've become very much involved with the English are very much interested in the success of that school. We tend to put increased emphasis on the students that are coming out of the school for employment in John Hancock.
The pairing system has also been helpful in giving inner city students from desegregated high schools a better chance in a job market where suburban graduates currently hold an edge. Liz Steven of New England mutual and head of the Trilateral Council explains.
Generally kids in the Boston school system have not done as well in the job market as some of the kids from the suburban schools but I think this program has given them an edge and it certainly has as far as our corporation is concerned. We are now hiring a known quantity whereas before. All we knew about the kid was that they had come out of a Boston Public High School and that wasn't necessarily a mark in their favor.
One of the key problems of the pairing program has been that too few businesses are aware of its existence. Black School Committee member John O'Brien says that this is the main reason that to date no minority businesses have become involved. He feels it's essential that this be changed however so that minority students are presented with role models with whom they can identify further problem with the pairings and for that matter with other youth employment programs in the city. According to the members of the Roxbury action program is it the kids themselves are never really consulted about the type of interned ships which they would most like to participate in. Mary Bono and Carlos Rivera have worked with high school students who participated in the trilateral programs.
The business pairing is in itself good. What has not happen has been looking at exactly how can it be done and what are the processes and what are the goals of what they're trying to do in there. And if the goals are to help their person to look at career awareness career exploration be able to say hey there's a way that we could tie these two things in together so that the student can get something meaningful in life. Then you have something that is going to be a worthwhile product. If it's just to have a number like so many other associations are doing is saying I got a number on a wall I have put somebody in there without really thinking through what their goal is and what they're doing. Then you defeat the purpose of why you're doing it.
Like a group of kids here in the construction field talking to those kids actually don't want to do it in construction they're interested in being photographers or even the girls want to be models and they're in the construction field and you know nothing to do they're not really interested at all in doing the type of jobs are put in because there was no intake there was no assessment done just gets whatsoever.
All parties involved hope that in the future efforts will be made to improve and expand the existing relationship between the business community and the schools. John O'Brien says negotiations are currently in progress to bring some black businesses into the pairing system and its school department headquarters the wood administration has put an overall look at the pairing near the top of its new agenda for GBH Journal on Vivian Duca as we heard in our newscast at the beginning of tonight's broadcast the federal government is about to spend millions of dollars for a building renovation and reconstruction in a number of Massachusetts communities.
But there is one community in Boston which has been the scene of community development led by a non-governmental agency the Roxbury action program has long stood as a symbol of community revitalization in Boston. Recently a history of the group's beginning its progress and challenges was published by Stuart Perry who has studied social alternatives in various sections of the country. Reporter David Freud broke has this profile.
Known as rap the Roxbury Action Project is a story of fiercely independent community activists who emphasized self help instead of becoming simply another statistic of federal redevelopment under the leadership of George Morrison. Rap decided to take on the culture of poverty a plague that brought the sale of drugs and sex to dilapidated neighborhoods in Roxbury with a sense for the practical they have repeatedly demonstrated. Organizers saw early on the need to focus their efforts on a small area as author Stuart Perry describes the Highland Park section was picked.
It used to be one of the fancy suburbs of Boston in the mid eighteen hundreds. And it has beautiful architecture. Wonderful vistas of the city from the heights of the mountain and the hills there. And it was primarily a black area primarily a rundown deteriorated area but it had great potential advantages for redevelopment there and one of the issues was you know was that redevelopment finally going to take place. With the outside developers who would make rises in town houses and that sort of thing for affluent Bostonians and displace the residents of the area or was rehabilitation in the renovation and rejuvenation of the area going to take place in a such a way as to allow the residents to stay on in. In structures at rents that they could pay in rehabilitated houses. And that was then the decision of the Roxbury action program at that time was not to take all of Roxbury for example but just to take the Highland Park section and see what could be done there to build a model black community.
The Roxbury action project began as a community service of the mostly white American Friends Service Committee a political arm of the Quakers. But back in the 60s when the wave of black pride swept many inner city neighborhoods Roxbury activists persuaded AFSC both to fund rap generously and relinquish control to blacks. It was that shrewdness that enabled leaders of rap to use outside consultants well and begin the long process of acquiring residential housing facilitating commercial development providing youth programs even establishing the first senior citizens community garden program in Boston. And yet despite a remarkable manipulation of local resources rap a decade later still faces an uphill struggle.
I would say that. Nobody at rap feels very successful at this point or. Ever. Has felt very successful despite the obvious project's successes that they've experienced despite the pride that can be taken in the houses in the condition of the houses that that they have brought up through renovation. And despite did the fact that they've got had millions of dollars of city funds committed to the area in a variety of programs to improve park and street lighting and things like that. The problem is so big that they can and cannot consider that they have succeeded. They see a long way ahead and besides that even were they to completely rehabilitate. The Highland Park area. It would be like having a rose bush in a patch of weeds.
And yet there have been some advances indeed in redeveloping housing and providing other community services. What lessons has the rock's Roxbury action program learned in the process of those advances. They could be applied toward meeting some of these longer range needs that can't be measured by success or failure.
Well I think point number one you have to be prepared for a long haul. This kind of community development is an two year three year five year program. It's a 20 year or 40 year or 50 year commitment. It's a commitment it can be made only by people who say this is my neighborhood this is where I live. This is where my children grow up. This is where you know I'm putting my roots in and I want to make it you know. Work because this is where I live and I don't want to move away and move to a better house in a different neighborhood. I want to make this neighborhood better. The second thing is that you don't dare rehabilitate an area simply by being concerned with one dimension of it. Let's say housing just by just because you improve the physical surroundings those surroundings will deteriorate again unless you've done something about the jobs that people can have access to. Unless you've done something about the education that they can have access to you so. So a comprehensive approach. A multifaceted approach to community development is necessary. So you've got to be concerned with that you've got to maintain continuous pressure relationships with your city services and your city government to make sure that you get the kind of municipal services that you need.
Stuart Perry author of building a model black community the Roxbury action program for GBH Journal. I'm David Freud.
BURKE Oh back in the good old days before television most children grew up with their ears glued to the Motorola and the sounds of the Lone Ranger. The Green Hornet and tails well calculated to keep them in suspense but today in the age of Saturday morning video space sagas radio seems to have to contend with a sparse audience as far as kids are concerned. But the radio waves are occasionally peppered with new programs for the kids. The Pacifica Radio Network a noncommercial alternative network in Washington features live plays and opens up the telephone lines for kid phone ins every Saturday morning.
Arlene Acker of Pacifica prepare this report children's radio theater a monthly radio series presently broadcasting out of Washington D.C.. The show is experimental something that will entertain the audience as well I'm surprised he would want to child might hear at 9 o'clock on Saturday morning.
One day I was out in the barnyard pecking for corn when all of a sudden something hit me on the head. Do you mean that I know I was out too late last night but this is ridiculous that it hit me again. Do you know you and I better go kill the kid.
I think she's real smart and likes to using people a lot and she's sort of a pseudo Mae West type Henny Penny is. It's 12 minutes I think and we rehearsed for almost as long as we would for a full length play. The beauty of a script like that. Then the penny story is when you take a fable or a fairy tale it's almost like a an outline a skeleton and then you can fill in all the blank spaces what seem to make sense was that she was leading all these people along. That's the traditional story that she says the sky is falling in and all these people follow her and believe her. And it just seemed to fit that she would be a real wise cracking sarcastic type of chicken.
That was John Belushi and Doris Dyke co-produces of children's radio theater. Well we did this first piece which was Henny-Penny for this local station. And. When we had finished the piece both Doris and I realized that it was just a really magical experience and we both decided that we should just go ahead with it and pursue doing a series of plays. We're looking for plays that are educational but not in a stodgy kind of sense obviously but for example blue suede do is an original script that we did that was written by a local puppet theatre company called the blue sky puppet theatre. And it teaches one of the big messages that about noise pollution.
The essence of the story is that these evil space people are going to try and take over the earth and they're going to do it by inflicting massive doses of noise pollution on human beings. So there's a message there and kids can really relate to that. Living in a city and they understand about what noise pollution and other kinds of pollution are in that sense. I'm thinking it also has a lot of interesting things to say about music. Music is what's used to chase these evil space people away. So it's a lot about the philosophy of music and the beauty of music and how music is good for the soul and what music can do to inspire people and how people can pick up musical instruments who have never played before and make wonderful music. And that's something that we'd really like to convey as well and that has a magical element to it.
Right and to go with that is that's exactly what we do with our actors of picking up their an instrument that they haven't used before which is singing their voice and writing music and working in a way which they haven't worked a donkey's tool to work. So we decided to become a musician and did.
Branson and Jewel for these trips to the mill with heavy loads. I know there are other things to do with the Silk Road at least. The big city of Brandon will become a musician and play in the Taliban.
But honestly quickly before thinking about it makes me.
Run out of.
On the run.
Anybody that can turn on the radio basically with their parents can turn it on for them then. Our show is for them.
A phone calls we get are mostly from kids. I would say under 10 between maybe 5 and 10 and we ask the kids to send us pictures we get pictures from two and three year old.
So they were listening to we plug into an already existing children's show that's on for three weeks before us and then we're the last Saturday of the month. So there's already an audience built in for us.
We have an hour slot every Saturday the last Saturday morning of every month and we usually take between 10 and 15 minutes and a half hour 45 minutes to do the actual story or play.
And then the last section of the hour we use for children calling in at all we've had hundreds of calls from children after each show and it's been wonderful.
They get to call in hear themselves on the radio talk to the characters of the play. Sometimes we even pretend that our tape is broken up like the climactic moment of the story or play. And we as we say kids you know our tape is just broken. You have to call us in a hurry and call in and supply us with the ending of the story what do you think happens now at the end of the story. And that really is success. Will they completely believe that the tape was broken and that it's dependent upon them. Around that we can finish so they call and they tell us what they think happens at the end of the story Brooke.
This is Brooke. Wow this is Bugsy. What can I do for you. I'm glad you do do you. All right well the Velveteen Rabbit is sitting right next to me.
Brooks is a fan of ours. He is a little boy that has called us. I think every time we have had a call and after a show and he we asked after the Velveteen Rabbit which was one of our stories we asked kids what their pets were what their stuffed animals were that were their favorites and he called and told us that he had a cat named skipper and Brooke said he would let me just tell you something cats don't have couches and cats don't jump hop around and cats don't have the details and the kids are really suspend themselves. They really after they start talking to the character they lose themselves in it which only children can do.
Hi Brooke. You have a special animal that you've been thinking. You do you have a cat. What's your cat's name.
I'd like to see what Uber looks like. OK I want to get it.
They saying and they tell us the story of their lives and you know and they tell us what they're going to do that day and one time we had a little girl was talking to us and she just was going on and on and on and she said and it always been you had a loud bark and the background. She goes wait a minute my dog is barking. I mean it's just like they have no conception that they're on the telephone that they have to behave in a certain way. It's completely free flowing.
Right she left that she left us on the air and she said I'm going to go get my dog and so I was like who's not a lag so there's a dog lying in a vacuum around and she went off and quieted her dog and came back and it was just wonderful.
John Belushi and Doris in Dyke co-producer of children's radio theater in Washington.
This is Arlene Acker.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
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