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.