Thursday, May 07, 2015

Steve Harvey at Garfield High School

I had read in the Times that Mr. Harvey had been at Garfield High School a couple of weeks ago, speaking to students.   How he got there is a bit of a mystery.  I did ask Communications and they said he had been in Portland and then just dropped into Garfield.  I'm not sure who knew he would be available and then arranged an assembly but it all happened. They said he was not paid.

Seattlish blog has the video and details.  (Note: Seattlish uses language we don't - just so you know.)  The video that Seattlish has is only partial. 

Mr Harvey said some good things (from Seattle Refined).
"The coolest thing you can do it be yourself." He spoke on the pressures of high school, and not to be defeated when you "tell your big dreams to small-minded people." He encouraged kids to not let others deter them from their own path.
but he also said some dubious things.  From his speech:
"Everything God made of value, he made hard to get," Harvey said at the assembly.  "All you girls here who have what these boys want: Why do you think God put it where he hid it?  You girls are sitting on a gold mine! You can't pass it off like it's candy."
He goes on in his talk at Garfield about how he "didn't make good money because I spoke good grammar" "I make a lot of money but it ain't because I can talk" and that he can't even write. 

He said "you've been told education is your most important thing but it is not" (gasps from the kids).  "I don't care what anybody tell you, the most important thing is your dream." 

It can also be noted that in some circles, Mr. Harvey is considered a misogynist and homophobe.  He also believes if you don't believe in God, you have "no moral barometer" and "you are an idiot."


Lynn said...

That's disturbing. I wonder if anyone has complained to the district about either the message he presented or the complete lack of educational benefit from the assembly. What was the point?

Learned Cynic said...

Huh. Interesting story, bro. And by bro I mean Communications. And by interesting I mean implausible.

Anonymous said...

For more, can read Seattle Times.

The comment to the girls, I take that to mean - don't hold yourself cheaply. The god reference doesn't bother me only because he's not proselytizing. In some communities, invoking god is more like teaching with Aesop's fables or wise saying. Mind you, if you aren't comfortable with those nuances, the informal and the slang, faddish talking that kids are into, this might rub you the wrong way.

You know sometimes we have teachable and livable moments which aren't quantifiable in an SBAC test. It can be an end of the school year field day celebration or a hiking field-trip. It's to build community, create joy, share laughters, be silly, and just for a bit- blow off some steam.

Lunchtime reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

This did not happen in June; it happened at the end of April. That's not the end of the year.

I believe,based on info from Seattlish, that Mr. Harvey was on a promo junket for his talk show (he was on the Portland ABC affiliate) and guess what? the only station here that covered him was the ABC affiliate.

I don't care if he invokes God - I don't like him being judgmental on other people's choices.

Not sure I'd call him a role model.

Learned Cynic said...

Lunchtime Reader said:
"It's to build community, create joy, share laughters, be silly, and just for a bit- blow off some steam."

Or it's to reward a certain segment of the school population…special treatment, again. While taking away classroom time from others.

The God talk, who cares. The general consensus amongst the students was that he was sexist. Did he encourage the boys to not spread their genitals around like candy?

Lynn said...

Who thought it would be a good idea to bring in Steve Harvey to give advice to our students?

My child would prefer not to hear his opinion on what she chooses to do with her body. Did he tell the boys not to give themselves too freely? (Not suggesting he should have because that's not his business either.)

In my community, telling a young women what God wants her to do with her vagina is not commonly accepted. That's something any public school administrator should know.

Somebody at Garfield was not thinking clearly that day.

seattle citizen said...

Women's genitals are "gold mines"? Wow. Wealth to be mined, to be used, to sell on the commodities market?

I don't know any other way to read that comment.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, not all kids were required to attend. But I heard from some who did that they found the presentation to be offensive and a waste of time. They wondered why the school would choose to subject them to, in their words, "misogynistic BS" that undervalued both them and their education. I guess the good news is the kids are capable of making mature judgments about what's being presented to them. Teachable moment indeed.

Garfield parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I did let the Board know this occurred. I'm not sure if anyone told them and I'm not even sure if anyone at Central even knew about it.

Sometimes I wonder about Ted Howard's judgment.

Anonymous said...

@Seattle Citizen:

Agreed. Gack.

North-End Parent

Anonymous said...

My son was in attendance and absolutely appalled, as were many other students.

And if you are wondering why Ted Howard would allow it, maybe because his boss was leading the cheers...

- south central reader

Anonymous said...

At Washington Middle School, the kids were told that the district was cancelling all field trips or events that weren't educationally based. For example, this meant that the roller skating end-of-year event for 7th graders had to be canceled. It was also stated that no end-of-year parties or celebrations could occur.

As far as the content of the Steve Harvey speech, I'd be completely furious if my kid had been there, because the content was completely inappropriate for school. @lunchtime reader, I'm not sure why you're acting so blase about the topics covered, but this speech had no place being given to kids in school during a required period of their day.

-Seattle parent

Anonymous said...

My goodness did I step in it. I do apologize if you thought I was too blasé. I guess in my line of work I run across all kinds of people. Sometimes in very rough places or folks coming from rough places. I hear and see a lot of things so I am less to get upset or be offended. Many times, to do my work, I have to look beyond the appearance, the language, the demeanor, the pose before we get down to talking and getting things done. These occasions are also where I find humanity at its best.

And no, I really think the metaphor of "goldmines" is to remind girls and boys not to hold themselves cheaply. Their lives are god's grace -- so to speak. Precious. As for sexual violence, i've seen that on a grand scale where rapes and violence are used to intimidate and control people. To treat people who have gone through that is something to this day I don't like to speak of simply because I can't reconcile the horror.

Working in the South and in certain communities, there's a lot of invoking of God in daily life. I find this to be true working overseas too, though gods are in the plural or a god which is a non Christian one. So to hear it doesn't get me looking for the Constitution.

You know schools get all kinds of people visiting. You might get an author, a politician, an ambassador, or a sports personality. You can say they are there for the kids or cynically to sell their books or to do a publicity photo-op. I leave that up to people to decide for themselves.

Yes, I think there are teachable moments here. Sure you have far from a perfect personality speaking in ways or even tones which might offend. For others, his words entertained enough to remind them not to waste their young lives. As much as I like to believe education is the way out, I also acknowledge not everything in life works out even when you stay on the straight and narrow or even when you work very, very hard to do right. I've seen enough to know not every good deed begets good deed. Evil people do triumph. Hope can be lost. Justice is not always blind and right, especially in certain communities. There's a lot out there which doesn't go to script. Children at this age believe it or not understand this.

lunchtime reader

Learned Cynic said...

Alright, let's get this out there. Rumor has it Steve Harvey was brought in to reward the basketball team for their win at State. Witness the fact that the event was "for sophomores" but the whole basketball team (many non-sophomores) and coaches were there. The sophomores were needed to fill the auditorium and as cover for what the real event was, a chance for some people to get to rub shoulders with someone famous. Kids lost class time so the athletes could get a special perk. There was no great teachable moment, no educational purpose, no entertainment value worth cutting into two class periods that day. Worse, the man insulted the students with his misogyny. And the word on the street is that Garfield did pay him. Want to check it out yourself? Do a public records request for emails to/from T. Howard, S. Pritchett, the coaches, the athletic director, Harvey's staff, KOMO staff, you get the picture. If my kid had been in that auditorium, that's what I'd be doing. The end.

mirmac1 said...

Gold mine. As in shake yer moneymaker? I'm afraid our students lost intelligence that day.