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.