Sunday, March 30, 2014

Literacy With An Attitude- Connections

I probably should have looked over this 35 page reading before I decided to read it at 10 o'clock at night... Literacy with an Attitude: Educating Working-Class Children in Their Own Self-Interest by Finn wasn't really easy for me to get into and fully understand. What I was able to grab out of this reading was that Finn was explaining how education in schools is affected by the social class of the students who attend. It is also affected by the type of neighborhood the school is in. Working class people need to learn powerful literacy just as higher class people do. This automatically made me think of the reading by Bob Herbert: "Separate and Unequal" The reading by Lisa Delpit: "Other People's Children" also cam across my mind in this reading.

For last weeks blog post we read about Brown v. Board of Education and one of the readings was Bob Herbert's article. Bob Herbert argues that if a school is in a neighborhood with high concentrations of poverty than the students at one of those schools are not getting as good of an  education as a student in a more affluent area. He gives the example that teachers with the best education tend to avoid schools in areas of poverty because "it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty."  I think that Finn would agree completely. In the Preface of this reading Finn states: "The status quo is the status quo because people who have the power to make changes are comfortable with the way things are. It takes energy to make changes, and the energy must come from the people who will benefit from the change. But the working class does not get powerful literacy, and powerful literacy is necessary for the struggle. How can the cycle be broken?"  I think that Herbert would also wonder how that cycle could be broken. In these readings both authors discuss the issues within schools of a lower social class and the type of education they are currently getting compared to the type of education they should be getting. I think Herbert and Finn are saying that society believes that the higher the social class, the better the education has to be because the higher the social class the more professional a person will be. 

The ideas of Lisa Delpit also ran through my head as I read this article. Lisa Delpit argues in her reading that  a teacher must state the rules and codes of power of a classroom explicitly in order for every child to understand and become a successful student. In the article Literacy with an Attitude Finn discusses the methods of power he used as a teacher. On page 4 Finn states, "I didn't say to an errant student, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'Stop that and get to work.' No discussions. No openings for an argument." He clearly stated the rules and codes of power of his own classroom so that the student would know exactly what it means. I think that Lisa Delpit would applaud him for this, because this is how she believes every teacher should be towards their students. 

Also found this website! Information on the book, the author, and some of his other books! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Separate Is Not Equal

Brown v. Board of Education- Free Response

The website on Brown v. Board of Education, the article by Bob Herbert, and the two videos about the book Between Barack and a Hard Place by Tim Wise all have one very strong topic in common. The issues of segregation and racism. On May 17, 1954 the Supreme Court stripped away constitutional sanctions for segregation by race and made equal opportunities in education for people of all races. Since then, racial integration in schools is present and segregation has subsided, but Bob Herbert and Tim Wise say differently. They believe that because of public opinions on people of a race other than white, racism has not completely gone away, and is still a problem in America today.

 In the article "Separate and Unequal" by Bob Herbert, he discusses the issues of education in lower class communities. Education is lower class communities or communities with high counts of poverty are considered to be less educated communities. Herbert believes this is due to the fact that teachers who are highly educated do not want to teach in low class areas. He states, "Educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty. The best teachers tend to avoid such schools." He also states than it has been shown that poor children will do better academically if they are in a classroom learning with children of a higher social class or even in a more affluent school. Many students living in poverty or in these lower class areas are black or Hispanic. Because of this there would be racial and ethnic integration in the more affluent schools. "Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality." -Herbert. Brown v. Board of Education fought for schools to be integrated and for all students of all races to be equal. Although schools stay true to that law, due to issues with race and social class, segregation is still present in a different way which I don't think was presented back in 1954.

Tim Wise has a similar argument. In his book Between Barack and a Hard Place, he explains how issues of racism are still present even at a time when America has an African American president. He believes that there are still biased opinions towards the black communities and that America is in denial. He categorized racism into to groups. Racism 1.0 which is as he states "old school biased" or the kind of racism that was allowed when segregation was not unconstitutional. But he says that we should watch out for Racism 2.0 which he thinks is being brought around now. Racism 2.0, or as he calls it "enlightened exceptional-ism" is thought of as people who support President Obama because he is different than the "black norm." The fact that there are thoughts of a black norm is racist in the first place. Wise stated that 6 out of 10 Americans trusted at least one of the following stereotypes about African Americans.
1. Less intelligent than white people
2. More aggressive
3. Less hardworking
4. Less patriotic
5. Live on Welfare so they do not have to work

If Americans still have opinions such as those then it is clear that racism is still present.

This article reminded me a lot of the article "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh. I think that the ideas of Herbert, Wise, and McIntosh are all very closely related. Peggy McIntosh believed that the idea of White Privilege is everywhere and that it is learned at a young age that it is okay. Although we may not see it ourselves and believe that it is not there, it is still present in our everyday lives in ways we don't realize. I think that is what Herbert and Wise are trying to say also. With issues in education due to race and social class, the African American and Hispanic communities are segregated in a way that is unnoticeable to society in a major way. White Privilege is then present. The ideas that many Americans have about the "black norm" in a community shows that white people are considered more successful than people of another race which is not true. Tim Wise stated that "If you want to know if a problem is still a problem, it probably makes sense to talk to the ones who are the target of it, not the ones who don't have to know, because we're not."

The historical issues that are presented on the website on Brown v. Board of Education have not completely gone away. The contemporary issues of race raised by Tim Wise and Bob Herbert have always been around, but they have never been taken care of because they are not always noticed by society. The education of African Americans, Hispanics, or anyone of another race is in jeopardy. I believe that it is because the idea of “white privilege" is so present in America. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In the Service of What? Reflection

For this weeks reading "In the Service of What? Politics of Service Learning" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer I decided to do a reflections piece. This reading was all about the benefits and affect the Serving Learning projects have on a society. Service Learning can also be viewed in two different ways: Charity and Change. The difference between Charity and Change is the different moral, political, and intellectual goals that come along with it. This reading made me think what my own service learning experience is all about. 

Doing a service learning project in an elementary school is definitely a lot of fun. To me, I think I would consider this experience to be more charity than change, although it sounds a little strange to consider it that way. I would hope that just in the short amount of time, I can make a change but I think this experience is more about helping students to be successful. "...service learning activities seek to promote students' self-esteem, to develop higher-order thinking skills, to make use of multiple abilities, and to provide authentic learning experiences..." (Page 2) Being able to help students understand and comprehend their work and have fun while doing it is a great feeling. In my own service learning experiences, I help three students with reading comprehension and fluency. Its a great feeling to know that you've helped them and they appreciate you! This definitely serves as an "additive experience" (displayed in the chart on page 5). Working with these students is very rewarding. Not only do I help to teach them, but they help to teach me how to become a better teacher/person. I think that's what the point of service learning is all about. It is made to benefit everyone in many different ways. 

I was also able to find this great link! 
It has a lot of great service learning project ideas to check out! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Extended Comments: "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us"

 First off I have to say that this was definitely one of my favorite readings so far! Even if it kind of ruined my childhood a little... "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us" by Linda Christensen gave me a completely different view on so many cartoons and Disney movies that I grew up to know and love. Unfortunately, after reading this article and actually thinking about it, Linda Christensen is totally correct in saying that there is a "secret education" delivered in these cartoons and movies that has given me a certain view on life. For this week’s blog I decided to do Extended Comments on Julie's Blog because it I could totally agree with everything she was saying and she did a great job! Linda Christensen stresses the secret education that lies within many Disney movies. She believes that teenagers are "being exposed to TV images of girls and their set roles given to them by TV and the media" (129) Christensen also states that "children's books and movies, instructs young people to accept the world as it is portrayed in these social blueprints. And often that world depicts the domination of one sex, one race, one class, or one country over a weaker counterpart." (126) I think that Julie did a great job at showing examples of these issues that Christensen points out.
Here's a link to Julie's Blog!

I really liked this first picture that Julie posted on her blog so I had to use it!

This picture completely relates to Christensen's opinions on what Disney movies are actually portraying in their stories!

In Julie's blog she brought up many great examples showing how Disney movies poorly represent different people and different cultures. Julie starts out by saying how most Disney characters are pretty, skinny, and feminine, which right off the bat provides a image that young girls will want to see themselves as. The older characters are often portrayed as the bad guys and they are usually not the best looking. Julie also mentions in her post how many of the relationships in Disney movies "fail to accurately represent human sexuality because these movies have only ever portrayed “true love” as an attraction between a handsome, muscular man and an unreasonably attractive, hyper-feminine girl." She then goes on to make the point that there are no same-sex couples portrayed in Disney movies, which is a great point. There has yet to be a Disney movie where two people of the same sex fall in love with a perfect fairy-tale ending!
Another interesting point that Julie brought up in her blog post was how people of different cultures are displayed negatively in Disney movies. She used the example of Aladdin and how it portrayed an Arab stereotype. The evil character, Jafar, is a man of the Arab culture who is shown as the bad guy in the movie.
She also brought up the issue of gender roles in Disney movies. As an example she used the movie Mulan, and how it was kind of comical to see Mulan act like a guy and dress like a guy, and how Mulan struggled hiding her femininity. While it was funny to us as children, what we did not realize was how it stereotypes men.

Julie did a really awesome job reflecting on Linda Christensen's article and connecting it to many issues that she has now been able to see within many Disney movies! It was definitely interesting to read so everyone should check her blog out!

Just as a little side piece: I found this picture and thought it was kind of cool. These are a few of the Disney princesses dressed as the evil characters in their own stories! (Notice how they don't even look evil...)