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Education For Preventing Crime: San Francisco Second Chance School of Bank Robbers On SF Treasure Island

Updated on December 10, 2012

Views From Treasure Island


Answers for Education

Are charter schools the answer to finding an effective education in America?

For over a decade, I wrote and delivered curricula for GED students ages 16 - 60, youth in grades 4-12 (including summer work programs), and adults of all ages that needed Basic Skills training in English Language proficiency and mathematics in order to function in society and attain and retain employment. During that 11 years, the charter school movement took firm root in our city and grew. Some results of this were disastrous, but some were very good.

Charter schools have spanned the spectrum of quality from superior to abominable since the 1990s, but some of these educational facilities and staffs are emerging as winners in the long term.

What Works?

An early example of success is shown in the No Excuses Model of education – particularly in urban areas like Detroit – in which school principals were authorized and empowered to terminate ineffective teachers, even if these workers had tenure. Some of these teachers no longer wanted to teach and it showed in their negative attitudes and poor results.

At the same time, principals and teachers were empowered to put into place

  1. Effective teaching methods and
  2. Professional development training for teachers – methods and training that worked.

Further, teachers were given more resources to teach effectively and many kids got breakfast and lunch at school. The education model has come packaged under many different names and contained any of a long menu of educational, nutritional, and health related services. The best thing about it all is that many of them help parents educate and raise their children to graduate from high school health and well prepared for college and/or the world of work.

The best of the Best Practices in teaching are the hands-on project-based models founded on the Asian proverb that To Do is To Learn. It seems to be correct.

Additional Alternatives

In the last 20 years, many styles of innovative alternative education delivery systems have been attempted, many added into traditional and charter schools alike. The After School All Stars, the Inner City Games and the Miracles computer-based program in several major metropolitan areas across the US has worked wonders in most of these cities.

In MIRACLES, after school programming coupled with computer training and sports and physical fitness combined to boost the performance and well being of elementary and middle school students, along with some teens as well. High school graduates in these types of programs can graduate with an AA in an IT technology. MOUS Certification, and other skills. All along the way, these youth have the opportunity to participate in sports if they choose to do so and participate in an annual Inner City Games full of track and field and Basketball events, as well as specialties of each city – Hockey, Boxing, Wrestling, Martial Arts, Step Dance, Ballet, Volleyball, Chess (it’s a sport), Tennis, and many more types of activity.

This is a preferable choice to a traditional school system in which high school charge each football player at least $800 a year to play, as in my area. Someimes, the kids with the highest potential to succeed in sports cannot afford to participate in them. However, sometimes immediate work is the miracle that is needed, instead of sports.

Treasure Island, San Francisco

A markerTreasure Island, San Francisco -
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, USA
get directions

San Francisco Miracle

Dozens of charter school models and succeeded and failed in America. We have some many types in our city at present that I cannot number them. You may know of charter schools in your own town or city.

Many charter schools have failed, because of mishandling of funs, lack of appropriate credentials among teachers, and so many factors that overwhelm description. However, in the 2000s, we are finding more and more effective charter schools oeprated by good people and superior teaching staffs.

A charter school in San Francisco is succeeding overall with 105 youth ages 16-24 that did not fit into traditional school systems.  it is said that unconventional education by superb treaching staff and admninistrative personnel at the John Muir Charter School on Treasure Island is a miracle.

Treaure Island History

The Differences

Amazingly, administrators as well as students of John Muir have been bank robbers and methamphetamine addicts. They’ve turned themselves around and are now willing to help kids turn around as well. In the Midwest, some students have fallen into these categories, but not the administrators -- when they did, they were removed.

John Muir students are paid to go to class (first done in New Jersey in the 1980s, by my knowledge). They are provided with training in the Construction Trades as part of their curriculum. Int his regard, John Muir might almost be considered a magnate school, focusing on a specific livelihood as well as alternative educational approaches. The trick is to find jobs at a living wage for these young adult second-chancers when they graduate.

Some of these students are already single parents and need a living wage to remove themselves from welfare rolls.

Administrator Garry Grady, a former bank robber, says that his students are ages 16-24 (a US Federal requirement for grant funding) and generally "crack babies" raised by using parent(s) or the social welfare system. They are paid $50/week to attend classes and $7.00/hour during contraction trades training (Youthbuild). That's a start. These are the same services that we provided in Adult Education and GED Classes in my area and the services, along with bass passes and additional healthcare worked miracles for some of the students.

Many of ours are still working today - some went on to graduate from colleges and universities or to serve in the US Armed Forces. Some started their own businesses successfully.

We wish John Muir school best wishes for continued success, proven already since their 2005 opening. These programs can, indeed, be effective.

[Patty Inglish, 2005 - 2012. All rights reserved.]

Additional Information and Comments

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    • susanlang profile image

      susanlang 7 years ago

      Patty...I went to grade school in New Jersey so I found that part of your story interesting. We never had enough seats in classrooms so before the 1960's ended the city put up these trailers on school property and called them modular class rooms or mini's if you will. Thanks for doing this hub.

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 8 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Yeah , the title got me also, and it was/is a great hub, I'd probably been more likely a student than a teacher, but it looks to be a good way of teaching.

      Bill Wilson (Metro Ministries says that it's no surprise that teachers can't teach children, he believes that all teachers need to know the whole family, and he runs the ministry that way. My son (who works at Metro) does home visitation every week to 'his' children that have been allotted to him to care for.

      If you don't know the family and their attitudes and problems, it's difficult to work with the child.

      We help run a 'free' Christian school in Spain and we have mainly secular children, but we do get to know who the parents are.

      If my teachers (back in the UK in the 50's)had know my parents, maybe I would have had a different scholastic experience, as it was I had to start my education when I left school!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Amazing story how former criminals are now the teachers affecting children's lives in a positive manner. Great title, BTW. It got my attention out of curiosity. :-)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hey, Everybody, thanks for the nice comments. I think Garry Grady has a lot of talent. We need more schools like this one and great teachers that are not afraid to try what works.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      I watched the movie "Precious" last night. Not sure whethter the alternative school she had to enroll in is the equivalent of a charter school but it did the job. All it takes are motivated teachers with an "out of the box" approach to teaching to motivate. Great Hub.

    • febriedethan profile image

      febriedethan 8 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you for sharing this. What those people really need are just our hearts and positive hope for them. I hope there will also many schools like that in my country.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      For living in England it was an experience to read your hub. I learned so much about various types of schools. It was very interesting. Thank you very much.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Don - That is certainly a group of high complements. Innovation in writing and language came into play importantly during those particular teaching years - students needed something different from tradition; before that, I used mathematics more often. I suppose both sides of my brain are used about equally now :) - I never thought about affecting a generation, until you mentioned it. Thanks for that.

    • dusanotes profile image

      dusanotes 8 years ago from Windermere, FL

      Patty Inglish, what's in a name? For ten years you wrote and delivered curricula for GED students ages 16 - 60, youth in grades 4-12 (including summer work programs), and adults of all ages? Wow! No wonder you are so literate and fine. Or I should say, because you have all the talents you were able to write for GED students and help stimulate and energize an entire generation of people. This was an outstanding Hub, thank you very much. Wouldn't it be great to have a surname like Inglish. Then you would be growing up inspired to write well, to communicate well. I know of Mormons who name their kids after prominent Book of Mormon and Bible figures, people such as Joseph, Jacob, Noah, Adam, etc. It works, the kids know they have marvelous names and try to live up to the promise in their names. Thanks again for your article, Patty. Don White