My name is Matt Halvorson. I'm a stay-at-home dad with two biracial boys (ages 3 and 9) and a baby girl on the way in South Seattle's Rainier Beach neighborhood. Our oldest goes to our neighborhood public school. We are experiencing first-hand the deep inequity embedded in our public school system, and our kids need things to change. I'm writing this blog to advocate for a better life for all kids and to shed some light where I can on issues of racial and social injustice. We are all in this together.
I grew up in Fargo, ND, and eventually went to Augustana University (Sioux Falls, SD) to play baseball and sneak away with a journalism degree. My capitalist efforts as an adult have included several seasons working in professional baseball, four years working with high school students in rural Oregon as a program coordinator with the "I Have a Dream" Foundation, and six months of heavy lifting in the garden center at Lowe's, as well as many other jobs ranging from odd to awful.
I once ran out into the street and saved a little wiener dog being torn apart by a pit bull. Another time, I became the legal representative of a young man being detained by ICE in Tacoma and helped to earn his release. I spent a few days out in Ferguson on the one-year anniversary of Mike Brown's murder, and five weeks last year living at Standing Rock in peaceful opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. I spend a few months every year coaching Little League baseball and a few minutes every morning making coffee.
I believe our traditional public school system is deeply flawed and intentionally inequitable. The system is treating kids differently based on their race and their parents' income, and it always has. That's not right, and ultimately that's why I support charter schools and the principles of school choice. Until we are providing a truly equitable, child-centered public education that values and educates all children, parents need immediate alternatives. School choice shouldn't be available only to those who can afford private school.
Educational inequity is just one thread on the tapestry though. I believe that all injustice in our nation is fundamentally interconnected. Our government, of which our public education system is an extension, has shown itself to be painfully corrupt and sustained on principles of intentional inequity and racism, which are enforced by a violent police force. I don't know that we can realistically expect change in our schools until we've addressed the discrimination that is fundamental to our capitalism and colonialism. But we've got to start somewhere.
I am always looking to learn more and connect with people who are fighting in their own ways for better schools and a better world. I hope this blog can be some small part of the solution. Please let me know if you have any comments, concerns or questions to add to the conversation: