Sunday, March 27, 2016

Finn-Literacy with an Attitude/ (Oakes) "Tracking: Why Schools Need to take Another Route"




The readings on Finn and Oakes were very much related in talking about the social class system and the access to proper education no matter what ones socio-economic status is.  Finn talks more about how today our social class structure has lead to the conditioning of people falling into the same routine in terms of getting an education saying that the poorer people aren't becoming literate because the School system is teaching basic and essential skills to survive while the richer students are learning skills and tools that is going to put them over the top.   Oakes talks about how schools need to merge the education gap that is present between students who are able to understand material well and others who are not because we as a society are just making the powerful (rich) more powerful and the disadvantaged (poor) more disadvantaged.
"We all participate in this social system as if it were natural, the way things were meant to be."
Here Finn is saying that we as a society are falling into the social norms that are present everyday.  We have become so accustomed to the social class system in which the people who have an opportunity will be able to grow while others who don't will not gain anything from their experiences or education.  Understanding the mechanics that contribute to these norms Finn believes that we can change the place in which we live in and the rich and poor will both get empowering education and powerful literacy.  This belief shows that in order to change the world and for people of higher class status to not have the ideology that the poor is dragging society down we need to develop a structured system in which everyone buys into. 
"When rich children get empowering education nothing changes. But when working class children get empowering education you get literacy with an attitude."
Empowering education for rich children provides no growth because of possibly many factors.  The two majors ones being that one they are not too worried about striving for success because they are set for life, or two they have already been granted access to a higher education on many levels and there isn't much room for growth in their desired field of study.  Meanwhile children in the working class who are granted empowering education absorb it fast because its something they have never seen before or had an opportunity to "play" with.  Literacy with an attitude as Finn describes it is the literacy that lower class people are exposed to and learn so much about because they never once had the opportunity.  It is instilled in these peoples minds that if they gain the knowledge of the higher social class people they will begin to recognize the injustice they have suffered in society.   
(Oakes) "Students who are placed in high-ability groups have access to far richer schooling experiences than other students."
This quote by Oakes is very relevant to the theme of the text and the connection to Finn.  Students who have access to empowering education because they understand the schooling content in class are being separated from students who don't not understand. This creates for stressful environment in which we are separating students almost as if it were a racial, cultural, and political reasons that leads to this.  This is strictly a social class reasoning in which we are developing and growing the students who understand by offering them a richer and deeper learning experience in schools possibly by means of technology and other "reward" based systems.  The other students who are separated and don't quite understand are stuck in the cycle with others who are stuck which inhibits growth and lack of opportunity by lack of recognition of teachers, and other leaders around them.
Connection to another text:  These readings reminded me of kristof and Kozol more often than not because where you start in society on the high end or low end is a good prediction of where one ends up and the opportunities available to that person.  Also Kozol plays a role here because the separation of people in society produces these mixed visions of other people (Christensen) and there is a lack of opportunity for growth to people who are disadvantaged.
Points to Share/Discuss: The education gap is certainly still present, as I am currently seeing it in my service learning.  The difficulty in creating a system that induces everyone to learn rich or poor is a challenging goal, but what are some things that are essential that must go into this system?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

This American Life/The problem we all live with (Bob Herbert- Seperate and Unequal)


In "This American Life" part I and part II it is clear that the speakers are addressing the various reforms that have taken place in education, and the need to change the schooling system cycle of having "good" schools and having "bad" schools.  They say that the achievement gap between these types of schools is far to significant and that School integration a system that has been proven to work in the past is proven. But school systems have given up on that idea because it is believed they cannot get away from the identity that most good schools embody white people and integration of children from bad schools which are mostly black students involves the aspect of race.  The comparison between the two school districts in which integration was and was not available shows the importance of developing a system that works and promotes growth for students through opportunity.  This reminded me of the Kozol reading in which you have many impoverished and non-contributing members in society put together in one place and it provides no opportunity for growth.  Most of the time this happens because it is a cycle as Kristof says where you start is a good indicator of where you will end up.  This continuing cycle of "bad schools" is not going to stop unless action is taken such as integration.  Fixing segregated schools is believed as what needs to be done because integration is an "access point" for race discussion which is not what needs to be bought up.
In Bob Herbert's Separate and Unequal he says that schools are no longer segregated in almost the "matter of law", but in fact still are because of poverty stricken areas, where housing opportunities are of less, and economic disparities are present.  The separation of people and the inequality amongst people are what creates the unequal-ness on society on every level including education.  He says it is important to help those students in "bad schools" and impoverished neighborhoods get more access to better education and opportunities.
Connections to other texts:  Again I believe these weekly listening's and readings relate to kristof and kozol because kristof says that where you start is where you end which is true with Herbert's piece because children are born impoverished and cannot escape that because they are placed in an environment and atmosphere where there is no opportunity for growth.
Points to share/ Discuss: How can "integration" occur to present impoverished children in primarily "bad schools" an opportunity to learn and gain more of an advantage to take them to places they have never been before.  Without bringing in the factor of race how can we works towards decreasing the achievement gap?

Monday, March 14, 2016

In The Service of What? - Kahne and Westheimer

Extended Comments
I thought Nick's blog got right to the points about "In the Service of What?" article which is why I choose to write extended comments based on his blog relating to this article.
Service learning as a whole like nicks mentions has both its pros and cons and the way you approach it matters. For example nick brings up the points about Mr. Johnsons and Ms. Adams classrooms and how Service Learning was a big part of the curriculum. Picking how to handle, manage, and solve possible problems such as homelessness in which talks about relating to the article and this problem is a huge concern because yes service learning provides possible solutions in which the students identify but if may not be serving the greater good. There are tons and tons of people homeless and I agree with Nick's points about how it is a great experience for these students but it also has other sides that need to be seen in order for Service Learning to gain its true "respect and identity" so to speak. This I feel is the most important factor that weighs in this service learning experiment. The points Nick brings up are very good because it is very true that Service Learning is for experience and to see things that one has never seen before and without eventually helping the greater good it may not be as worthwhile. Like Nick said the making of the survival kits for a few homeless individuals probably help them a ton but ultimately impacting a wider an bigger group is what Nick is trying to say here as well as how he interpreted the article. I thought his points were very precise and he stuck with the overall theme of service learning and helping the majority which is why I chose to do extended comments on this particular blog.
Connections: Personally this article and Safe Spaces were very similar. Opportunities for LGBT in Safe Spaces by August resembled closely to this because it all becomes what you make of it. LGBT fighting for who they are resembles a cause as does Service Learning. They are both out to show why they belong and why they are important and I believe making adjustments along the way will only help better each of their causes. For example like Nick said, seeing the greater amount of homeless with only better the Service Learning project to where it may eventually reach the point of serving a more widespread population of people who are homeless.

Points to share: In the Service of What was an interesting article to read because it talked about Service Learning and the outcomes it can have. Although they may not always be the best or be seen as the best these certain situations are new experiences that need to be experienced for one to actually know and feel what is going on. I have never had to tutor before but Service Learning has allowed me to do that and that's helped me see a different perspective of tutoring young children.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Safe Spaces-August


In Safe Spaces by August it talks about how LGBT people are at a disadvantage all of the time and there is no where to turn.  August's main point is that there are messages everywhere that tell LGBT people that their identity is unacceptable, and touches upon how LGBT needs advocacy and not neutrality.
The first connection I see in August to another text is Aria by Rodriguez.  I believe it related very much so to Rodriguez because it talked about barriers in American Culture.  Rodriguez faced a language barrier in which he had to convert from primarily Spanish to primarily English.  After learning English Rodriguez had the belief of common assurance that he belonged in American culture.  Through his transition of languages Rodriguez learned that there was private and public individuality that came with knowing languages, and after learning English there was very little interaction with his family members at home.  This relates very much so to Safe Spaces by August because she talks about how people today face LGBT barriers at home on the premise of acceptance and also at school.  Like Rodriguez's Spanish language there are messages present in today's society that tell LGBT people that they don't have a public identity.  August says that with curriculum and communication change, LGBT people will be able to have a public identity and be accepted.  Much like in Rodriguez's story teachers missed opportunities to invite discussion, challenge stereotypes, and raise awareness, but instead told him and his parents that he should be converted to primarily English.  This showed just as well in August's writing in which several examples were present in which teachers "singled-out" (without knowing at times) LGBT students. 
The second connection I see in Safe Spaces by August to another text is Christensen and Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us.  In Christensen's piece she talks about how American society teaches children how to act, live and dream.  This is present in August's writing because she says that the standard way in which most messages are presented in American classrooms is heterosexual.  Christensen also points out that the world depicts domination of one race, sex, religion, and more.  The same goes for August's writing in which she acknowledges the fact that recognizing LGBT roles will help undermine certain harmful stereotypes that exist.  Christensen says secondhand information of how to view others has been distorted, and that there are certain roles of people who live in a successful society.  August says that this is very much true and that we as a society should not be ignoring or erasing experiences of LGBT but advocating for them.  August says that integration and interpretation are needed in order to transform classrooms into safe spaces for all students.  August says that educators can create inclusive and safe classrooms and trust between educators and students can be establishes.  Christensen puts it in different words but says the same, one has to have the opportunity to analyze what is going on to see how we develop these stereotypes in order to tackle them.
Connection to other text:  Above are precise connections to previous texts we have covered in which they relate to certain social barriers that exist in society.  These connections clearly relate to Safe Spaces by August because of LGBT messages the tell LGBT people they have no place in public society.
Points to Share/Discuss: August says that society should represent an inclusive atmosphere for all LGBT people.  Schools, religious places, organizations, and many other community based programs may be able to become accustomed to accepting LGBT people through integration and interpretation, but how can society tackle this issue for those people who still don't believe LGBT people are welcomed in our society? 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us-Linda Christensen



Personally for me this text was an eye opener.  I have heard many times before of young children stories, movies, TV, and even things such as magazines and comics have contained subliminal messages.  The truth to the matter is at a young age one does not have the knowledge and information to understand truly what is going on or what is to be meant by certain actions, phrases, or pictures that occur on television, in movies and in stories.  This is where I can personally reflect and say that when I was younger and used to do all of these things I did not notice certain messages that were being portrayed.  I did not realize that (as Christensen puts it) we as a society are being conditioned of how to accept certain things such as race, gender, sex, how to act, hot to live, how to dream.  It makes me think about how it has possibly shaped children who have the knowledge to understand what is going on.  It makes me think of the question of "what if I understood the message?" and how that would make me a different person today.  Now that I am older and have the knowledge to analyze and interpret what is happening in a given situation it is quite shocking that a wide variety of children's entertainment has been transformed to allow children to develop a distorted image of others. These distorted images come in the form of racial, gender, and social equality where not everyone is treated as equals. As kids we cannot fully grasp and wrap our minds around these complex societal depictions because we were to young to have experienced them yet. I felt Christensen's article perfectly reflected that of which teaches us how to act within society and we may have possibly been manipulated all this time by different T.V. programs and other media entertainment.  I believe Christensen is spot on with her analogy of how society is being secretly manipulated through various forms of entertainment and I believe this should be important for everyone to know about in order to develop respect for others in our culture.

Points to Share/Discuss: Subliminal messages in a variety of children's entertainment can certainly cause them to develop attitudes and emotions towards certain people, culture, sex, or religion.  How can this problem be tackled now in order to prevent further conditioning of beliefs in young children?

Connection to another text:  This text I believe clearly relates to Johnson and Privilege, Power and Difference because children are growing up thinking there are "bad guys" as depicted in the movies and that American society values SCWAAMP.  In reality we must address these problems straight on to find a solution to the problem that exists.           

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Social Justice Event-(Gender Equity in sports) National Girls and Women In Sports Day (Attended February 3, 2016)

The National Girls and Women In Sports Day was a great event for those who are going into education, especially health and physical education.  This event was just over one hour long and had six panelist's talk about women in sports before and after Title IX (9). This was an amendment to deny any exclusion or denied benefits of, from participating in sports on the basis of sex.  The five panelists were Jackie Barto, Wilma Briggs, Jo-Ann D'Alessandro, Gail Davis, and Cindy Neal.  Each panelist has quite the extensive resume (found here) for participation of and continuation in betterment of sports, more-so for women.  The event started with each women discussing sports before Title IX and aspects such as women were not allowed to play with men, established schools did not have girls teams that played other girls teams, instead they had to create their own team and organize their own meetings for competition.  Each also had interesting stories of pre-Title IX such as not having a little league to join, but one father cut his daughters hair to get her on the boys team and she made it.  An interesting part about the talk of pre-Title IX aspects was not only the fact that it was hard for women to get involved in sports, but when they did get involved everything that goes into playing sports was different from men to women.  For example transportation for men would be by luxurious buses and for women it would be in personal cars.  Pre-game meals would be vegetables and steak for men and something less for women like canned food.  Times have changed since the implementation of Title IX.  Studies have found that female college athletes have better graduation rates, and female participation in any sport at any levels yield better job opportunity outcomes.  Although Title IX did not bring about immediate results benefits certainly started to arise and they are continuing to grow to this day.  Title IX is an important part of society for our recognition that no one should be discriminated under any circumstances to participate in any opportunity, especially sports.  The event was interesting and fulfilling as it allowed all of the students to interact with panelists and ask questions that were geared towards uncovering the truth of what it was like for women, and what can be done today to continue to improve upon progress.   

Connection to Course texts: 
This event relates to Delpit because "The rules and codes of power" in this situation "Title IX" identify the significance of women being able to participate in sports which provides explicitness in order to provide guidelines for belief in a system.  This event relates to Johnson because we as a society must find solutions like "Title IX" to certain situations and evaporate the idea of this "difference" that is among us. Lastly this event relates to Kristof because during this time where you start at the beginning of your life (as a girl) is where you would end up (not on a team).


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Aria: by Richard Rodriguez


Richard Rodriguez's essay "Aria" accounts a time when he was a child going to school in America.  Rodriguez and his family were immigrants from Mexico and their primary language was in fact, Spanish when they arrived. 
The main point that Rodriguez is addressing is the issue of bilingual education and how it is impossible for a foreign student to use their native language in which he describes as a "private language, with English in the school setting and public life.  Rodriguez argues that language barriers existed when he was in school as a child and did not feel part of public society or as an American citizen until he learned the English language.  Rodriguez compared the language of home versus the language of society as private and public languages.  He made this comparison to show that using ones foreign language in a society where English dominates, one would not be successful which was depicted in his struggles in school before learning English.  Rodriguez as a child in his early years could only speak Spanish felt alienated by society and felt that he had the right and was obligated to learn English.  Rodriguez's desire and satisfaction of learning the English language was not more evident than when he stated "at last, seven years old, I came to believe what had been technically true since my birth: I was an American citizen."  After learning the English language Rodriguez had the belief of calming assurance that he belonged in society.  Rodriguez supported his own idea that becoming assimilated into public society doesn't not contribute to ones loss of individuality, but is in fact a step or gain towards the achievement of "public individuality."  Rodriguez argues the fact that English was needed "to seek the rights and opportunities necessary for full public individuality." 
Connection:  This essay written by Richard Rodriguez clearly connects to Delpit and the culture of power because of how being told explicitly "the rules and codes of power" one is able to be assimilated into society.  A similar interpretation is of how the Delpit piece direct speaks about educating other peoples children and teaching them the "American way of society" which is present in this piece where the teachers of Richard Rodriguez enforce the parents of him to start speaking English and becoming accustomed to how and when something should be said.
Point to Discuss/ Share:  The views on bilingual Education and the creation of new Schools for foreign students.  Should foreign students learn English when coming to America?  I believe so, just as we would have to learn a "foreign" language going to another country.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Amazing Grace: by Jonathan Kozol


Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace presents powerful and personal accounts of the struggle of the poor in the United States and how a society could be allowed or "let loose"  to become ravaged by disease, violence, poverty, and ineffective planning by government control and greediness by large business and wealthy individuals who essentially own some of the responsibility to fix it.  This work by Kozol covers the South Bronx which is considered one of the poorest and racially segregated cities in the United States.
This website listed above clearly reflected what Kozol was trying to convey by describing the South Bronx.  Allowing such a disastrous situation happen can lead to many profound effects not only in its own area, but can spread to other major cities and eventually globally.  One major part of this website that clearly depicts Kozol's accounts is the poverty cycle in which one problem hardly lies alone.  Bad sanitation like in the neighborhoods of the south Bronx lead to the spread of new and old diseases and viruses like HIV in his accounts.  These poor conditions are made even worse with malnutrition and lack of water to stay healthy in order to fight diseases, and inadequately supplied hospital facilities to help treat the sick and injured also brought to light in Kozol's account of Ms. Washington.  Unemployment as detailed also in Kozol's writing in which it was said by another woman maybe five or six out of twenty-five had legitimate (stable) employment.  Unemployment based on the article above attributes to  property burglaries.  Consequences associated with poverty are alcohol and substance abuse, injury related to unsafe labor in which young impoverished children are forced into, and diseases related to poor water and food supply and living conditions.  All of these aspects were covered by Kozol in which children live in infested households with rats, roaches, no heat, and negative environmental hazards such as the dump and incinerator.  The connection between Kozol's accounts and this website are that the poverty cycle is something that has to be broken or controlled by those in power.  Children are born as impoverished and they are leading the unsuccessful lives their parents lead because they also did not have much.  Allowing poverty to occur and reoccur and relocating homeless people to a society that's already diminished does not provide an opportunity for growth. 
We understand today that the wealthy (upper) class is safe while the poverty (lower) class is not.  Poverty stricken people have many fears most often being violence, shelter, illness, and education.  Throughout the world poverty stricken people are taken advantage of, more so in third world countries where the justice systems are broke and their is no control of civilizations.  As discussed in Kozol's writing the end of poverty such as in the South Bronx requires more than change by the government, but by the people.  This was clearly stated in Kozol's article by Lawrence Mead of New York university saying "if poor people behaved rationally" "they would seldom be poor for long in the first place."  This is a direct connection to this Huffington post article because the direct cause of poverty is directly caused by violence.  Taking actions against violence such as enforcing laws will allow opportunities to open up such as education, and jobs for those affected.
Connection:  This writing by Kozol directly relates to Kristof's Land of Limitations because it shows the correlation with adults and children in which ones future is largely determined by your past generations  such as parents and grandparents.  Ones struggle is clearly depicted as another's struggle in these specific situations.       
Point to Share/Discuss:  Kozol represents his writing of poverty through his descriptions of different individuals who provide meaning and voice behind the stereotypes that are given to them, but that was mostly attributed to their upbringing.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

U.S.A., Land of Limitations? by: Nicholas Kristof


1. "Yet I fear that by 2015 we've become the socially rigid society our forebears fled, replicating the barriers and class gaps that drove them away"
- Specifically relating to the text, this quote shows that Kristof believes that today we as a society are born into certain social status and more often than not follow that social status leading into our adult lives.  In simpler terms, the meaning of this quote is that today we live in a society that was once fled by our ancestors because it has always been dictated by a rigid class system of impoverished, middle class, and the wealthy in which poverty stricken people struggle with opportunity, while those born into wealth do not.  This clearly resembles Kristof's belief that the U.S.A is in fact a  "potential" land of limitations because it is often difficult for those to establish an opportunity for who's parents did not have one, and vice versa.  This is more than relevant to the text because it not only displays the clear message that if your ancestors struggled or thrived then you will struggle or thrive, but also from an economical success standpoint that what was once considered a "land of opportunity" with social mobility in the U.S.A is not what one should think of it as.
2. "too often the best predictor of where we end up is where we start."
- In talking about his friend Rick Goff, Kristof explains the trials and tribulations he (Rick Goff) went through as a young child essentially with no mother or father from a  young age, and with siblings.  He possessed certain talents such as custom car painting, but worked a few dead end jobs before that because he had never finished school at a young age.  Rick Goff had quite the rocky life, and as Kristof describes in what his theory is about the socially rigidity, he left off right where he started.  He had children and raised them himself, divorced twice, and towards the end of his life didn't have much money sacrificing medicine for money to give to his ex wife.  This quote again emphasizes Kristof's belief of poverty and wealth existence in the U.S.A and the different opportunities involved in each of the social class systems.  Kristof instead of giving strictly facts of what he is talking about, details a picture of what it is like and how close it can be to anyone and everyone that if you grow up in a rough and unstable household, your life might not entitle much success.  This is relevant to the text because his own story allows readers to also think of someone they know where this also might be the situation and that is what gets the message across.
3. "Success is not a sign of virtue." 
- This quote summarizes Kristof's belief that success doesn't cross someone who is of righteousness and respectability, but rather someone whose parents and ancestors were successful in their time during society.  This is relevant to the text because it argues that although very few who grow up impoverished "make it" in life, society falls in line with itself in terms of who will be successful.  This quote more than not relates to the Johnson reading on Privilege, Power, and Difference because as Kristof explains those who are successful are those with advantages, and those with advantages according to the Johnson reading are those who are white and with some form of wealth.  Also connecting to the Johnson reading we as a society need to notice the discrepancies that set us apart and become part of the solution to fix it, evident when Kristof says "this is what presidents need to be talking about."
Point of discussion: What was interesting in this blog post was that although failure and success dictate itself much of the time for the future generations, everyone still has an opportunity to "make it" or "break it" after they have given full effort to achieve something they want.