Sunday, March 27, 2016

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

The social class system in the readings of "Literacy with an attitude and "Tracking: Why Schools need to take Another Route" are discussed and what needs to happen in the school setting is a building point of both of these readings. The "uneven opportunities" as discussed by Oakes creates a society and a system where students who are not getting the best opportunity in the classroom will not get the best opportunity outside of it. People of higher class receive the great education that a great society gives to them and this allows them to seek further success in the future. Oakes stresses this point by talking about the gap and how power is being accumulated by those who have it and none by those who don't.
    In Finn's article the social classes such as working class, middle class, and the upper class are all kept in check by the opportunities and the educational standards one receives. If you grow up and are taught in a working class school environment getting a great education is of the utmost concern but rather survival. The classes create this attitude and behavior and that same fact is stressed in the hyperlink above. The hyperlink article is from the Washington post and it describes how as a member of society you fit into a certain class and when you are a part of that class you most likely will follow it. This creates for lack of opportunity in lesser developed areas such as the working class to achieve higher educational standards and remove themselves from the hardships they face financially and to better prepare themselves for the future. Where these articles connect is the points about social class and that higher income families are more likely to have graduated from college and then have their kids graduate from college and this creates the power gap between working class and upper class.  
      Oakes talks about students having equal opportunity to learn and receive the best education possible. He asks "why students who are having difficulty learning receiving less of the "good teachers". I believe Oakes presents a great question here because its something so little that can have a major impact. A teacher is a teacher right? Not exactly for these students as they may be slower and don't learn as quick as some of the others and need great teaching to be successful. The hyperlink above talks about the same concern for students in that it provides insight into how neighborhoods and schools in areas that are much less developed financially and how the children are not able to reached desired success because of less opportunities relating to financial insecurities. The discrepancy is that students who are offered the low education continue to fall into low income jobs and low income neighborhoods while the rich students are offered a great education and land these great jobs where they are able to find plenty of success in life. With the separation and gap between these two classes the working class may never see an opportunity to grow and develop and that's what both Finn and Oakes try to explain.     
Connection to other text: Both of these readings related very much to Kozol because of the opportunity aspect and how children who are born into a class are already determined to be in that class later in life. Also it relates to Kozol because the growing up in a certain culture where beliefs and attitudes are present creates that atmosphere. Kristof also relates to both of these articles because of the lack of opportunity and how the "better" classes receive the "better" opportunities.
Points to share/ Discuss: The opportunities one seems to get stems from where they come from in life. What if better and bigger opportunities were offered to students who came from less fortunate situations? would they be able to succeed?    

Sunday, March 20, 2016

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

Both parts of the audio listening's called "This American Life" talk about education reform, the various issues and problems, and what can be done. The difference is that not every schooling deals with the same issues as the other school thus its brings into the picture what is at the root of these problems. The difference sometimes and often picked out is the separation of races. White students attend schools of good nature and a school system that is achieving where students of color are attending schools who are just trying to stay afloat and struggling mightily. Trying to make moves to be a "good school isn't so easy and just to buy into that belief is hard because it is almost like it presents false hopes. Taking each school and comparing them and the different aspects for that can contribute to growth is important. Then learning from those different aspects that makes the school function smoothly and using them to create opportunities is how a school can at least take a step toward the "good side". The problem we all live with is the lack of opportunities for everyone and the inequality among racial groups who aren't always offered the best chances at success. For example in Jonathan Kozol's amazing grace article he talks about how students are from the same run-down neighborhood and they hopes are diminished and the thought of even making it out of school is far fetched. Its not about integrating schools and making an even playing field but rather fixing the real issue of the problem and solving what is wrong with the lower achieving schools and making them into "good" ones. I believe integration may be able to shift success in schools but may also have some backfire in terms of trying to just integrate students and just assume success will happen.
Bob Herbert argues in Separate and Unequal that the disparities of race in schools are due to affordability of housing, and economic and past occurrences that create a deep separation of races among school settings. He also brings up points about integration wont work because people don't want to become part of the problem and that racial occurrences can hurt rather than help the issue. He says that it would be better to help poor people of color and allow them to achieve success in the school setting as well but it has to happen from within, at the source of the problem. No matter what race, background or status in society they come from the opportunity is what matters and what makes the chance for success. Brown v board of education allowed for equality among all students no regards to race and now the opportunity for success has to occur no matter what. No integration or not.   
Connections: This article related to Kozol because it talks a lot about the racial disparities and inequalities and how the lack of opportunities create a sense of hopelessness. Also the place or status in which you start in in society is hard to get out of and that is true in Herbert's writing as well.

Points to share/ Discuss:  Achievement and success may or may not have to due with race. What if students of color who were of the same economic status as a white family went to a colored school. Would they be able to succeed in the "bad school"?

Monday, March 14, 2016

In The Service of What? - Khane and Westheimer

Extended Comments
In this post I have decided to write extended comments on Jordyn's blog on "In the Service of What?"
In Jordyn's post I thought she brought up very interesting points that are discussed in the article that made her post very simple but strong. She begins with the sentence "Service learning is an important experience for all ages". I thought from the start that created a perfect base about introducing Service learning as something that not only older more mature individuals should take part in but young children and everybody else as well. Service learning is a great tool that can be used as a mechanism for children to become motivated in the classroom, as well as allow for more mature individuals in the high school and college range to gain comfort with a new experience. Like Jordyn mentions in Khane and Westheimers article there are different methods and strategies to Service learning and how one approaches it should be up to them to better their overall experience. I think finding your own way within Service Learning is key to providing the best results because whatever works best with you will only better the learning for others. Whether it be hands on or through different forms of visual representation through dialogue or pictures Service learning needs to be an experience where you are learning and gaining the knowledge about the things you didn't know before. Being able to see the vast majority of things that you don't see every day is important and I believe that is what Jordyn's blog post talked about perfectly. Like Jordyn talked about relating to the article in which the teachers Mr. Johnson and Ms. Adams class are learning about different things just in slightly different ways. Service learning all comes with opportunity and making the best of it and if one is able to do that then they can really see things they haven't before.   
Connections: This article related particularly to August's Safe spaces because I thought that Service learning comes with opportunity and the way one approaches it. August talks about opportunity among the LGBT community and how this group has to go about everyday life with the struggle for opportunity and "equality". Service learning is an opportunity that can be shattered and destroyed or turned into an experience that you though you could never have and looking at these parallels makes it very interesting as to how important such as subtle difference and change can make.  
Points to share: I thought In Service of What was interesting to a certain extent because it has to do with what our FNED class is doing right at this moment and that's service learning. I thought overall it presented good points about service learning and the different aspects that one is able to see through this experience.  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Safe Spaces- August

       Safe Spaces written by August introduces the view of the LGBT in society. The article talks about many different issues relating to LGBT and some of the occurrences that are going on in society that often cause harm to the groups efforts to move forward. Many different factors within Safe Spaces relates to other articles because of the struggle, negative feelings, and lack of opportunity that is talked about in Safe Spaces among the LGBT society.

       The first article that I though this related to was Aria by Richard Rodriguez. Aria by Richard Rodriguez talks about a student who's first language is Spanish thus he does not get the best chance to excel in the classroom. Society in his case forces him to learn the English language. The same occurrence happens in Safe Spaces where educators and society are forcing students to be of gender. For example in Safe Spaces it talked about a girl taking a test and on the test the question read "Do you have a sweetheart" and sweetheart was in the masculine form and this girl was a lesbian. Society in both of these stories wants everybody to remain within the normal accepted "values" where everybody is assumed to be heterosexual or straight and being comfortable depends on these values. In both articles all the characters were not comfortable. The Spanish speaking student was against many odds because he could not speak English and this put a communication issue upon his teacher as well as his classmates. Being able to experience comfort was not the case for that student nor was it for students who were talked about in Safe Spaces. The refusal to talk about LGBT as it said in Safe Spaces only sends a message that it something of abnormal nature. Often in Safe Spaces also it talks about the education system and how sometimes children are exposed to negative representations of LGBT, creating a image which views these people as something else.  
      Another article that I also found closely related to Safe Spaces was U.S.A., Land of Limitations? by Nicholas Kristof. In Land of Limitations it explores the life of a man who was smart and had unique ability to be successful but due to his circumstances was not able to find or reach success. His parents nearly abandoned the family when he was younger thus the man Rick Goff found it hard to care for his younger siblings as well as go to school and then come home to support them. He dropped out of school and was left working for the rest of his life just so him and his siblings could have a mediocre life. This article closely related to Safe Spaces because it dives into the lack of opportunity. Safe Spaces talks about how the LGBT are not treated as equals because the Education system doesn't give students the opportunity to open up to differences among families. Within the curriculum LGBT families and students of those families feel like they are being left or appear invisible. Some states even prohibit same-sex marriage creating a barrier not only for couples but the whole LGBT society. It is important for teachers to include talks about LGBT so that views can change and opportunity can open. Realizing how that lack of opportunity changes ones life such a Rick Goff's is important because educators can then take the steps to better discussions and create Safe Spaces for the LGBT community. I believe it has to start with communication first and then work its way into the "picture".          
Connections: Safe Spaces related very close sly the two articles I just explained because of the lack of opportunity and lack of comfort within a particular setting. Reading those other two articles and comparing them to Safe Spaces would present many parallels because of the issues that occur as well as how we come to fix each of them.
Points to share/Discuss: LGBT as a society represents very strongly for what they believe in but that also presents issue in the "normal society" as well because people are not open to hearing about their fight for equality nor are they in favor for what they stand for. Many oppose LGBT and some have come to accept it. Talking about LGBT I think could possibly make the situation better because it has to start somewhere and if nothing starts at all then no progress will be made for both sides.   

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us- by Linda Christensen

      Unlearning the Myths that Bind Us by Linda Christensen was an interesting article to read because it brought to the surface the many issues about race, equality, gender and the different roles people play in society. Through many different media circuits we are able to visualize the differences in role playing that different actors take on. In this article the talk and identification on this subject is explored by having students pick out these "Myths" within cartoons and movies.
       My personal connection to this text is very similar to that of what happens within this article. When I was younger I always watched cartoons but really didn't notice the different roles that a character takes on until later in life. For example it the cartoon "Hey Arnold" there was always white kids in the scene and they always played the role a good guy. In this particular cartoon Arnold only had one friend of color and was always up to something and often Arnold and his friends had to figure out what he was up to. Another cartoon I watched was the Rug Rats. This particular cartoon had no characters of color and presented a happy white family where the mother was always cooking and feeding the children while the father went to work. This particular "scheme" is a classic presentation of the gender roles in which male and females play within a household. These particular gender roles and settings made me think about my own childhood when my mom was home to clean and take care of me and my brothers when until we were around four or five years of age. These types of disparities within cartoons and other forms of media now makes me think about how my society and the television taught me about what I should think, act, and represent from an early age. Race and Gender were key aspects in most of the cartoons that I watched in the late 90's and early 2000's and now trying to pick these elements apart I am able to see the huge differences in culture and the way society raises us. Another great example I always think about when relating to a subject matter like this is "Popeye". Popeye was a strong "male" sailor with muscular arms and who ate his spinach every day. It made me reflect about how in society this holds true. Men are often categorized as the most dominant and the influence comes early in life from cartoons such as these. Reflecting upon these different cartoons in detail now helps me understand the society influence and that was Christensen's goal with the students finding their own differences within different media settings such as cartoons. I thought Christensen's article talked about a subject that seems obvious but is not truly reflected upon until you actually sit down and pick it apart and that's what I enjoyed most about it.
Connection to other text: Christensen's article very closely relates to delpit in that the codes of power are often determined by race or gender. In this article in talks about how certain cartoon characters played lesser roles such as no princesses were of color or a how a woman would always be home cleaning. Delpit explains this perfectly in that she presents numerous points about how men are often more dominant and the same opportunities between genders are not present at times.   

Point to share: I thought overall Christensen's article was interesting because it introduces something that is not always explored. We don't always put a lot of effort as to why certain characters are where they are in movies. If we pay more attention to this we can really start to see the inequality and the societal manipulation that is presented on T.V. and in movies.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Social Justice Event - Women in Sports- Title IX (9) Gender Equality- Attended February 3, 2016 at Alger 110 12:30-1:45

Title IX or (9) was a panel discussion held at Alger Hall and was a recognition for Women and their movement in equality for the past 30 years. National Girls and Women in Sports Day is an annual event held each year around the United States to remember the emergence of Women in the sports setting and how they were able to break barriers and go from having minimal opportunity to a lot of opportunity. This event was intended for Health and Physical Education majors which is why I chose to take part in it but also welcomed any who were interested. It involved a discussion among the audience and six panelists who discussed the different opportunities, difficulties, barriers, and what it was like for women before and after the arrival of Title IX. So the question we must ask is what is Title IX? Title IX was an amendment and or rule that said on the basis of sex, no person shall be excluded from any educational program and or activities that receive funding. The discussion involved five panelists whom were Jackie Barto, Wilma Briggs, Jo-Ann D'Alessandro, Gail Davis, and Cindy Neal.  Each panelist in one form or another has a great involvement in Women and sports and talked about how they lead themselves as well as other Women to succeed in the sports setting. An open discussion was among all the women and the audience about how the opportunities for women before Title IX were meager. Factors such as how no organized teams outside of school and inside of school were reflected upon and when the women wanted to become involved, received a bad rap for participation in sports. Topics such as how men overruled the school setting because of their great accomplishments on the playing field also came into discussion. Some of the women on the panel were first hand accounts about what it was like trying to get involved and treated as equals in sports. The panelists from pre- Title IX explained what it was like when Title IX came into effect and even then it was like it didn't even happen. The panelists explained that when Title IX arrived it took some time to adapt to the world and setting and often they still had to fight to get playing time on the court and field and get a small funding for decent uniforms. Remembrance of certain stories came into play about how the men could travel together as a team on a bus and the Women didn't have a chance for that unity at all early on. After the acceptance of Title IX they discussed how the entire setting changed and their was always opportunity for not only women players but women coaches and new teams, and expansions made to leagues. This was one of the best parts of the discussion because I thought it perfectly solved the issues of women in sports. The panelists described everything that one would want to know and how Title IX's acceptance became a great solution for all the problems. In my opinion I thought the event was great, and it was the perfect learning experience to show that equality is growing among genders and the ability for everyone to get an opportunity is expanding.   
Connection to Texts read in class: Title IX first relates to Kristof in his article on Land of Limitation because it talked about the ability for those who believe they can play in sports such as women but just never had an opportunity until Title IX arrived and just having an opportunity can present with significant growth in those who receive it. Secondly, Title IX relates to Delpit because of power. Power was a common theme in Delpit and it relates to this because men who were involved in sports didn't realize what it was like without them, where as women experienced a lack of power. Lastly the other source that it relates to is Johnson because differences in society present with challenges and to overcome these we must provide solutions and Title IX was a step in the right direction for Women.          

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Aria-by Richard Rodriguez

       Aria by Richard Rodriguez discussed as well as depicted a setting in which children are in America at a young age and are part of  a Spanish family that speaks the foreign language. As the children, one such being Ricardo, go to school the setting is different and the comfort level is not the same as the home setting because everyone is speaking English. This is where Ricardo as well as his family start learning and recognizing the importance of English and the changes that occur.  
         In the text the author Richard Rodriguez discusses the experiences in which a student such as Ricardo have to go into a setting where English is spoken nearly all of them time and Ricardo comes from a Spanish family. Ricardo talks about his language being that of a private language where he only talks to those close to him and those that speak Spanish. The unknown of not being able to efficiently speak English in front of his class leaves Ricardo lost in the shuffle as he attempts to become proficient in English. This highlights the struggles that he deals with such as a disconnection between his teacher and classmates. Relating to my hyperlink this becomes a barrier where resources for Spanish children are at an immediate disadvantage because they do not have the tools to excel in the language like the other children who grow into it as well as learn it. The teachers also tend to lack the ability to pick out or even disregard the responsibility to engage students such as Ricardo which leads to underachieving academic success. Such statistical data is presented relating to this is my hyperlink where it shows that Hispanic are among the least educated group and the least with degrees of higher education most likely stemming from their futile education. More often than not opportunity is not prevalent at level-based skills and thus Spanish speaking children are overwhelmed by the advancement into the language.   
2.  The Change in Culture     
         Without Ricardo excelling in the classroom and him not being able to clearly speak up loudly and give answers in front of his classmates things had to change. Ricardo's teachers came to his house and suggested to his parents that he should start speaking English at home to better his knowledge of the language. His parents told him to start so he did. Relating to the hyperlink the feelings of hostility and or disagreement in the classroom between Ricardo and the teacher seemed to ease a bit and he was able to raise his hand and give an answer. This gave Ricardo the confidence that he was becoming comfortable with English. Another interesting part in the hyperlink is the explanation that different languages often  present with resistances. Resistances did occur as Ricardo and his siblings learned English more proficiently talk around the house was a lot less and his dad was usually rather quiet around the dinner table because he was not all that proficient in the English language. Ricardo was finally not separated into a private language and finally had public individuality.
Connection: Aria by Richard Rodriguez closely related to delpit because it deals with the way in which children she be taught in school. Whether it relates to different races, and or cultures being taught the way in which the teacher thinks the children she be is a common theme among both of these stories. Learning the way in which things are handled in the classroom and then enforcing these differences in the home environment can create a situation that betters the individual such as Ricardo.
Points to share/Discuss: I thought this article was very good because it talked about the experience a Spanish student was going through in an English classroom. He wasn't comfortable talking but as he talked more and more in English he became comfortable and was able to become more engaged. My question is what it for the better of Ricardo? The family? or both?