Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brown vs Board of Education


Once I watched both videos on Tim Wise, I came to the conclusion that racism is still around. The conversations that he has with the interviewer seem to make is point very clear, "Evidence of racism and discrimination against average everyday folks of color is still very much in evidence." I myself use to work for a retail company that would very clearly profile people of color who came into the store to shop. If someone was walking around tables and not really looking to purchase anything, the managers would always come around and repeatdly ask them questions and if they needed help. It was all in hopes that if they were stealing, they would get nervous and leave. The quote and my old job made me think about the difficulty that people of color or of a different race have to face every day. Difficulty comes in the form of gaining respect, getting trust, or even getting a job. Everyone should have a fair shot.

After Wise's video, came the article by Bob Herbert. As soon as I finished reading his articles, two quotes stuck out to me..."If you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning enviornments that are smothered by poverty." After I read that quote, nothing else in the article mattered. It was the only thing I kept thinking about. By doing my SL project in a school, where most if not all children live in poverty, made me realize that not everyone lives a "comfortable life" or the "American dream". Every time I go to the school, I am always trying to figure out just why these children aren't getting the same education I recieved in elementary school. The quote made sense to me, I had never looked at it that way before. Those children live in poverty, grow up in poverty, and are taught in schools that esentially have no money. If the children had the opportunity to go to a school where they were able to see middle class children, they might want more for their lives. Those kids might be willing to put the effort into their education if they knew there was a better life for them.

The second quote that struck me was, "Studies have shown that it is not the race of students that is significant, but rather the improved all-around enviornment of schools with better teachers, fewer classroom disruptions, pupils who are engaged academically, parents who are more involved, and so on." I know that for me, parent involvement was huge. My parents checked my homework daily and always made sure to help me if they saw a mistake. I personally believe that if every child had a parent who was willing to put the effort in, then the kids would benefit. Maybe the kids would be more engaged in the class room and who knows, maybe test scores would rise. There are endless possibilities that could occur all from one small change.

Both Wise and Herbert were able to capture the topics of race and education in ways that would make any follower or reader think, and thinking is the first step to change.

Link: A small side note from this weeks talking point...In second grade my class watched a movie on segregation/intergration that had to do with a girl by the name of Ruby Bridges, I dont know if any of you remember her but her story is great. Here is a link to youtube that has the first part of the movie:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Service Learning


"Educators who emphasize change would clearly also value the educational benefits of this approach" (pg 6)

This quote is pretty straught forward. It is very true that if more schools and teachers participated in service learning, they would see a huge change in their students. Students who have the ability to get out and view the "real" world tend to open their eyes and realize that there is more to life than they think they know. Service learning would allow there to be more conversations in the class room. It would allow for better conversations between students and teachers.

"This curriculum highlights the explicitly political nature of service and community action, teaches meaningful skills in a systematic manner, and intergrates these ideas with academic investigations." (pg 10)

My second quote speaks about Katherine Issac's curriculum that demonstrates a more common type of service learning. Issac's curriculum is something that you would see in a school today. Educator's are pushing to have everything and anything that they can connected to something in the classroom. I think that by connecting what we learn to another lesson in the classroom, it reinforces the idea of the original lesson.

"These statements testify to the transformative power of service learning experiences. The effect could be even greater if students discussed the possible causes of these rumors and their impact." (pg 12)

This last quote comes after a series of quotes from children who participated in service learning. The kids talked about how the experience wasn't as bad as they thought it was. This quote that I chose shows a way to turn the reflection pieces into something greater. It gives the idea to expand the reflection and helps to open the minds of students.

*If anyone is interested in doing extra service learning here is a website that gives RI organizations:

The website also talks about highschools and how they incorporate service learning/community service!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Unlearning the Myths"

Reflection of "Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us" by Linda Christensen.
Article found:

This article by Linda Christensen leaves me with uncertain/mixed feelings. I have read about things like this before and to an exent I do agree with her. It is definitely true that children pick up on things at a young age and their mind can easily be shapped into what they see or hear. I completely agree with Christensen when she writes, "Children's cartoons, movies, and literature are perhaps the most influential genre 'read'." From what we see  at a young age, we begin to have ideas of what our future will be. We hope that prince charming will come and sweep us off of our feet and we will all have the fairy tale ending. The reality check to that is, that it isn't true. Most of us will live average lives but be completely happy. However, where I disagree is with her thought on how the world has a stereotypical view that is presented by the media. I think it is nice to see children who have dreams and hopes of one day being Cinderella or Snow White, but at a certain age, most kids figure out that what society presents in the media is not true. To me, it almost seemed like Christensen thinks that children are naive to the media and they will fall for whatever they put out, and in my opinion, it is opposite. Most kids tend to realize that their life isn't like that. Christensen seems to hate most mainstreamed shows and movies, but it is all a part of our society and we must find a way to live with it. We have to show kids all types of lives and all types of media.