5 for Friday: Better Together

We're moving right along with our Here to There companion guide and this week we're looking at social cohesion alongside Episode 7. In this episode, we rode The Loop in West St. Paul and spoke to the Manager of Homeless and Highly Mobile Student Services at Minneapolis Public Schools.

Transportation plays an enormous role in promoting social cohesion (a sense of inclusion and belonging) and this episode of Here to There gets two distinct perspectives on it. For our Loop ride we tagged along with Jeffrey and Jeremy as they went on their weekly grocery run from the Colleen Loney Manor. You'll hear how the Loop bus has given them independence as they interact with the community around them.

In the studio, we talk to Ryan Strack who ensures homeless and highly mobile students are supported on a variety of levels in Minneapolis Public Schools, from having necessary supplies and uniforms to getting to the same school year-round, even if their residence changes. In all that MPS does to support these students and families, they go to great lengths to reduce and eliminate stigma and trauma from high mobility.

Hear our interviews in the podcast and read on below for more on this topic.

  1. From The Atlantic: As you'll hear in our interview with Ryan Strack, MPS does an admirable job of doing everything it can to ensure a student stays at the same school all year, no matter where he or she is living. This article offers a glimpse into what its like for some families living in New York City shelters who have to choose between closer schools or consistent schools.

  2. From NBC News: There are many different approaches to supporting homeless families with school-age children and this video clip highlights a private, nonprofit school in Oklahoma City focused on providing education, extra-curricular activities, and emotional support to children and their families. As the piece points out, there are an estimated 1.3 million homeless students across the United States, so every bit helps.

  3. From MinnPost: For something closer to home, hear from a St. Paul principal about what happens when legislators want to cut or reduce funding for schools. Being told they "can make it work" disproportionately hurts students who need extra help the most because discretionary funding (for things like supplies for children who don't have them, extra curriculum materials for different learning styles, and library books) is the first to go.

  4. From Route Fifty: Boston is an example of a city taking a very progressive and comprehensive approach to improving social cohesion through a Resilience Plan that will address many intersecting topics such as transportation, systemic racism, and climate change. The holistic approach has some very aggressive goals, including lowering commute times for people of color by 50% with more affordable transit. This will be one to watch!

  5. From the LA Times Commentary Section: Peggy from Newport Beach, Calif., offers an excellent definition of a 'stroad' (a street/road that melds pedestrians/bikes/non-cars with cars traveling at comparatively high speeds) as well as an excellent perspective on the near-sightedness of the planning effort underway in the area and how it will diminish inclusion and welcomeness for residents and visitors. As a firm believer in our first amendment rights to protest, speech, and press, I salute Peggy.

That's it for this week. We're back next week to talk about episode 8 which is now available for your listening enjoyment!

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