Friday, April 29, 2011

Transgender Teen Runs For Homecoming Queen

What are all your thoughts on this situation?  Clearly students voted for her to be nominated so that shows you that people don't care that she's transgender.  I just think the main issue is the principal.  It is her first year as being a principal so maybe she's just scared as to what people are gonna think about all of this.  Deep down she probably supports her running for homecoming queen but on the other hand she probably feels like she has to show people that she won't let her students do such a thing because it's not "normal".

ABC Story on Bullying

All of the topics that we talked about this semester really got me thinking about how difficult teaching is going to be.  However, one of the topics that I know will be an issue is bullying.  I was searching on youtube for some different stories about bullying and I came across this story that was aired on ABC News.  In the beginning of the video it talks about how girls start to be mean as early as the age of 3.  One thing that comes to mind about this is the movie Mean Girls.  Girls just form clans together and pick on people jus to feel beter about themselves.  The video then moves into a family where bullying occurs with their own son, Ryan.  Ryan had motor and learning disabilities and boys at his school started to bully him.  When his dad noticed the bullying that was going on he set Ryan up in some self defense classes.  However, there was one girl who did stick up for Ryan and her name was Ashley.  One day Ryan told one of his friends that he got an erectal exam as part of his emergency room visit and that was a mistake because his friend spread the news like wildfire throughout school and everyone was saying that he was gay.  Ryan then grew an online friendship with a girl that he had a crush on and later on we find out that his crush was Ashley, the girl that defended him who now was considered a popular girl.  Ashley was now part of the crew that would constantly pick on Ryan through the computer and a school.  Her and her friends would say that they liked him and tried to convince him that Ashley really did have a thing for him and Ryan took them seriously.  When the girls figured this out they told him that they would never go for a loser like you and all these other cruel things.  This then lead to Ryan saying "Girls like you make me want to kill myself".  From here everything just went downhill and Ryan was also talking to another person online who was trying to convince Ryan to kill himself to get away from all his troubles.  A couple of days passed and Ryan told his friend that he finally decided that he wanted to kill himself and the next day Ryan hanged himself while his father was away on a business trip.  Ryan's father was devastated and heart broken.  He didn't want to blame Ashley for his son's death and he forgave her for it but he does believe that she contributed to his depression.

This story is one of many heart broken stories about bullying.  Kids need to stop bullying other students and to just mind their own business because you never know how serious they are going to take it.  Another issue that I noticed in this video was that the father had said that he regretted buying his son a computer for his birthday.  Since Ryan did get the computer at such a young age I think it is so important that parents are fully aware of what their children are doing online.  His dad had no idea about the friend who was convincing Ryan to kill himself and you have to think what would have happened if the dad knew. 

Here's the link to the youtube video of the news story.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Social Justice Event

Last week, along with several other classmates, I attended a women studies event with guest speaker Leslie Grinner who is the creator of S.C.W.A.M.P.  Leslie said that this acronym is very important in our culture and most people see this as the six keys to an ideal lifestyle.  Leslie went into great detail of how S.C.W.A.M.P originated and then she related it to the movie Twilight.  This acronym stands for Straightness, Christianity, Whiteness, Able-Bodied, Maleness, and Property Ownership.  Throughout this event I realized that S.C.W.A.M.P relates to several different authors that we have already and some of them were Johnson,McIntosh, and Christensen.

The first author that I realized is related to S.C.W.A.M.P is Johnson.  Back when we read Johnson's article he talks about how power, privilege, and difference can help you live a good and respectful life.  I believe that Johnson and S.C.W.A.M.P are very related because the 6 things in S.C.W.A.M.P basically say that if you have all of these then you will live a powerful and privileged life just like Johnson said.  Leslie connected these in the Twilight movie because Edward lives a privileged life because his father is a doctor and his mother gets to stay home because his dad makes so much money while Jacob lives a slightly more difficult life because his father is handicapped and therefore it forces him to actually work and actually do something.  I believe that back in the day S.C.W.A.M.P was a lot more treasured than it is today.  I'm not saying that S.W.A.M.P isn't treasured at all today but I definitely think that it was a bigger deal back in the day.

The next author that is connected to S.C.W.A.M.P is McIntosh.  According to McIntosh he is all about the white privilege.  Leslie Grinner explained in her lecture how white privilege is definitely present in the movie Twilight.  I have never seen these movies before but during Leslie's lecture she explained who a lot of the characters were and explained what the overall storyline of the movie was.  I believe that Leslie did mention that in the movies all the vampires are white except for one vampire.  Also Leslie said that the Cullen family is a very wealthy white family where the only person that has to work is the father, they live in a big house, and they are seen as the white privileged family.  Also in the movie Leslie said that every man in the movie no matter what type of race they were they were always after the pretty white girl Bella.  Also even though the kids are adopted and in relationships with each other people didn't make a big deal about it because they were white but if it was a different race then things would have been all over the news about it.  After all the previews and commercials I saw for this movie I never realized how much white race is valued and I also didn't notice that there were only two African Americans in the movie as well.

The last author that S.C.W.A.M.P relates to is Christensen.  As we all know Christensen is about the media and how it influences our lives.  The movie shows a lot of stereotypes and shows a lot of things that are considered to be "okay".  One example of this is when one of the vampires gets beat up by her significant other and nothing was done about it because the creator of this movie was basically trying to say that domestic violence is okay to do and you won't get in trouble for it!

I feel as though every post that I make I seem to always relate it to sports some how so why not do it again!  I think that S.C.W.A.M.P is definitely connected to sports because males dominate the sports world.  Whenever you turn it on to ESPN or any other sports channel they are always showing a male sporting event because people believe it is a lot more entertaining to watch than women's sport.  Another reason why maleness is present in the sports world is because a male athlete gets paid a lot more than a woman athlete which is also true for any other job.  However one aspect in S.C.W.A.M.P that is not present in the sports world is whiteness.  Nowadays whenever you watch a football or a basketball game there are usually a lot more African Americans than White men.

As I stated previously jobs are also linked to S.C.W.A.M.P because it is a proven fact that it is easier to keep and find a job for males than it is for females and it is also a proven fact that males are paid a lot more than females are paid.

Another outside source to this movie is the media.  I believe that the media plays a huge role in this movie because even though many people might not see it but it is trying to show us what is right and what is wrong.  If you didn't notice all of the vampire's are in excellent shape, they have nice bodies, and are white.  This right here happens all the time in the media and you will never see a fat and ugly white male playing that kind of role because it is just not valued by the media and wouldn't get everyone's attention.  Also this movie shows a family that is extremely wealthy, they have a huge house, the father is a doctor, and all the children are dating each other but it is okay because they are white.  The Cullen Family also represents the property ownership of S.C.W.A.M.P and by having this rich family in the movie it shows that this type of family is very valued here in America.

I don't know about you guys but I feel like whenever I go to the movies from now on I will notice all these things and I feel like people will get sick of my observations just like how Dr. Bogad said nobody likes to go to the movies with her because she observes these things all the time!

I found this picture for Twilight online and notice the ONE African American in the picture!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Education is Politics

Extended Comments
This week we had to read Education is Politics by Ira Shor.  This article focuses on what kind of educational system we have, what is going on in the classroom, and what we need to do to help the students with their education.  For this week's blog I would like to extend from Luke's blog.  In Luke's blog he pointed out 9 topics that teachers should focus on teaching in their classrooms...1)participatory 2)affective 3)problem-posing 4)situated 5)multicultural 6)democratic 7)researching 8)interdisciplinary 9)activists

I like and agree with Luke on how he focused on the topic of participation in the classroom.  I also believe that by having a student participate in a classroom as much as they can is very key to a student's success in the classroom.  As Luke said in his blog you need action to gain knowledge and he said that all of this can get started on the very first day of class.  I think by having students participate in the classroom on the very first day it shows the teacher that you are very serious about learning and it shows them that you're not there to just make the teacher's life absolutely miserable.  I know that in some of my classes I am pretty shy so it's kind of hard for me to participate and talk in class but I am a serious learner and I do all the work that my teacher's assign.  I found some websites that give tips on how to get students to participate during class and in this website I found something that caught my eye.  It said that a good way to help class participation or to get a classroom discussion going is to set your classroom up in either a circle or a u-shape.  I thought this was funny because we sit in a circle every single day and I can see that it helps a lot because every day our class discussions get so in depth and interesting and I never leave the class saying "ughhh class was so boring today!"

Points I would like to bring up in class:  What other ways do you think would help a student participate more in a classroom?  Do you agree with the fact that participation is very key in the student's success in the classroom?
Hope everyone had a good Easter!  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome

This week we had to read Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome by Christopher Kliewer.  The very first quote that caught my eye was right on the first page.  "I started to notice that I didn't like the classes I was taking called special education.  I had to go through special ed. almost all my life.  I wanted to take other classes that interested me.  I had never felt so mad, I wanted to cry." (Peterson, 1994, p.6)  After I read this quote it tore me into pieces.  This quote is basically saying that Mia has to take her special ed classes when in reality she also wants to take "normal classes".  I felt so bad for Mia because all she wanted to do was to be like her other classmates and take "normal classes".  She never had the choice what to take, she couldn't take anything that actually interested her, and she would always take the classes that she was suggested to take.  People only offered her the classes that they thought she could handle easily and she was never given a challenge.  Even though Mia does have a disability she should still be able to choose which classes she wants to take and she knows what classes she can handle.  I believe that students with disabilities should take their special education classes but they should also have the choice of which electives they want to take.  I think that if they were in a class with students who didn't have a disability then it would make them feel good about themselves and they would enjoy their education a lot more.

"Now we know that people with disabilities can learn and have a full, rich life.  The challenge is to erase negative attitudes about people with developmental disabilities, get rid of the stereotypes and break the barriers for people with disabilities." (Kingsley, 1996, p.6)
This quote right here is saying that people need to realize that just because someone has a disability doesn't make them any different.  Some people just won't accept the fact and refuse to accept them for who they are.  The first line in this quote is very meaningful to me and I instantly thought of a boy named Jason McElwain.  For those of you who don't know Jason is an autistic boy who was a manager for his high school's basketball team.  For the last game of his senior year his coach decided to give him a uniform and let him sit on the bench with the team.  The gymnasium was packed with students that night because they had hear the exciting news for Jason.  During the game his coach put him in and he missed his first two shots but after that he hit six three pointers and one other basket for a total of 20 points for the night.  This story was all over the news, the radio, and now is on youtube.  So many of his classmates and team mates now look up to him because of this remarkable game he had.  The fans also stormed the court after the game and celebrated with Jason.  Jason has become so well known in the basketball world and later that year he even won an ESPY award in 2006 for best moment.  To win this award Jason had to beat out Kobe Bryant's 81 point game performance.  To me that is very impressive.  This story about Jason leads me back to the original quote because people need to realize that even though someone may have a disability they can still be role models and hero's for others and everyone just needs to throw away the negative stereotypes and realize that they aren't different.
Here is a video of Jason's story.

"We're all here-kids, teachers, parents, whoever-it's about all of us working together, playing together, being together, and that's what learning is.  Don't tell me any of these kids are being set up to fail." (Shayne, p.75)  This quote is a very strong and inspiring quote as well.  Here Shayne is trying to say that none of her students are different from her or as "defective".  She is there to help them, play together, work together, and to just teach them like any other teacher would.  She is also saying that just because these students have a disability doesn't mean that they are automatically fail.  Everyone is intelligent in some way and people need to realize that just because you have a disability doesn't mean that you are automatically going to fail.  Look at my previous example, Jason is now seen as a hero to everyone and he has been all over the news and even on espn!  To be honest with you I am quite jealous that Jason was on espn and he has met numerous basketball players.  Overall, people need to let these students do what they can do and be what they want to be.

Class Topics:  Has anyone ever heard of the Jason McElwain story?  I have a cousin who is Autistic and last year we started going to an Autism walk at Colt State Park and it was such an amazing experience to do.  There were thousands of other people who did this walk and to see all the support was pretty amazing.  Has anyone ever participated in any kind of event for any type of disability?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Literacy with an Attitude


This week for class we had to read Literacy with an Attitude by Patrick J. Finn.  I believe that this reading had many connections to Lisa Delpit.  Delpit was really big on trying to teach students one direct way and in Patrick J. Finn's piece he talks about he has one direct way of teaching.  Before the students would enter the classroom he would write an assignment on the board that way when the students came right into class they wouldn't have anything to do and would have time to goof off.  Finn was a different kind of teacher and he wouldn't approach his students and say "What are you doing?" but instead he would say "Stop that and get to work." therefore there is no discussion and no arguments.  This would be a perfect example of a Delpit moment because he goes by one and only one style of teaching just like Lisa Delpit does.

Another connection that I found was between Finn and Johnson.  I believe that there is a strong connection between these two authors because they both agree upon teaching everyone equally in order to help everyone succeed.  There can't be that division of poor and wealthy students because then it makes things way more difficult in the classroom and students then feel very uncomfortable.  However, Finn does a very nice job of not having that type of division in his classroom.  He treats everyone equally whether they're poor or rich, he tells all of his students how he wants the work done and gives very specific directions, and he makes his assignments easy so the students who are having trouble can also get the work done.  I think this is such an important key to teaching because when the students know that the teacher really does care how they do in their class then they'll put a lot of effort and time into their work.  Teachers need to realize that not only do the students have to put the time and effort in but the teachers need to also show that they care about whether or not their student succeeds in life.  I know that I enjoy a class a lot more when I know that my teacher cares about how well I do in the class and it makes me feel more comfortable as well.  This article talks about the literacy crisis between the middle class and the low income students and it talks about some interesting facts and statistics between the two.

In class I would like to discuss if there is a right way to teach?  Should there be more teachers like Finn?  Another topic that I would like to bring up is which way do you want to use when you are teaching in the future?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Title IX and Athletics


This week for our blog's we had to do a little searching about the issues that involves gender and education.  These issues could be in the classroom, in the school's atheltics, in the school's dress code, etc.  Since I was very involved in my high school's athletic program I have decided to focus the issue of women being able to play sports.

One article that interested me was this one.  This article discusses the issues that women had before and after Title IX was put into place.  As a reminder Title IX states that "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance...".  In this article it says that before Title IX women were only allowed to participate in square dancing and cheerleading, only 1 in 27 girls played high schools sports, there were no scholarships for female athletes, and female college athletes only received two percent of the athletic budget.  On the other hand, since Title IX a lot more women are involved in sports, more women receive scholarships, and now more women perform at the elite level whether it's in the Olympics, World Championships, or in the professional leagues.  Another benefit that Title IX brought to women sports is that it helped women stay away from doing drugs, drinking alcohol, and basically prevent them from doing any other stupid things that they would regret if they got in trouble.  I feel as though if Title IX was never passed then I wouldn't be the person who I am today.  Ever since I was little I have always loved to watch and play sports.  No matter what type of sport it is I will play it whether it's just throwing a baseball around, playing basketball, or even playing croquet.  If Title IX was never put into effect then I would be a very miserable person.  In high school I played volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter.  Even though  I would complain about going to practice or complain how I would have no time to socialize with my friends I miss playing every single day.  I never realized it back then but playing sports kept me from going insane and it really helped me keep my mind off of things.

When I was in high school the football team always got the most attention during the fall season.  Literally every single student would attend the football game even if they wouldn't watch the game at all and just use it as a socializing event.  This irritated me so much because the football team had the worst record out of all the fall sports but they still managed to attract all the students to their games.  On the other hand nobody would attend my volleyball games even though we had a much better record than the football team.  This was also an issue during the winter with my basketball team.  Everybody would always go to the boys basketball games and would never go to the girls games even though we had one of the players in the state on our team and we also had a much better record than them.  Fans would always create a "black out event" or a "white out event" for the boys games while nobody would even step foot into the gym to watch our games even though we would actually win our games.

I know that today another issue that I see in high school sports is whether or not cheerleaders should cheer for girls sporting events as well.  I know that the other high school's we played for basketball never had cheerleaders for our games.  However, my school was different and we did have cheerleaders for our basketball games.  By having this was the most awkward thing for us.  Since nobody even went to our games I felt as though the cheerleaders felt awkward and useless too.  Who would they cheer to?  The answer to that question is nobody haha.  We actually hated having the cheerleaders there because they were really annoying and most of the time most of the cheerleaders would just leave and go home because it was so useless for them.

In this video some NCAA student athletes talk about what Title IX brought to women athletes but there are still some things that need to change.  Some issues that they discuss is that women in sports still receive very limited media coverage, lack of overall respect in comparison to men's sports, and they still receive inadequate equipment.  As I am writing this blog I am watching the men's final four games on cbs but as I flip through the channels I see a commercial for the women's march madness games that can only be seen on espn.  Right here is a perfect example of womens sports having limited media coverage.  While the NCAA men's basketball games are being aired on a channel that all viewers can watch even if they don't have cable the women's NCAA basketball games are on espn so if you don't have cable then tough luck.  This just shows me that women's NCAA basketball is not valued as much as men's NCAA basketball even though the women's tournament has a team that once had a 90 game winning streak.  Yes I do understand that women's basketball can get a little boring at times because you never see crazy dunks but I just feel as though they should show the women's games on a popular channel like cbs.

I also found this other video where it uses the technique of having male practice players come in and play against the women to make them quicker, faster, stronger, and to just help them make the sport a little more interesting.  However, some people did not like this idea because it violated the spirit of gender equity in Title IX and results in diminished participation opportunities for female student athletes.  Some people worried about what the bench players were doing during practice and they were also concerned if they were getting any playing time during practice and if these male practice players were taking up their time.  I think this idea is very helpful for the female athletes because it benefits their performance and makes them a better player.  These questions are still trying to be answered but for now male practice players are still being used by division one schools.

Questions that I would like to share in class:  What do other people think of this issue of women not getting enough media attention?  Does anybody have any stories they would like to share that talks about this issue?  Will women's sports ever be dominant over male sports?  What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

External Link for Segregation of Schools

Sorry I forgot to insert an external link in my blog.  I found this interesting website about poverty and education and it also includes some interesting charts on the racial composition of public schools.

Brown v. Board of Education, Between Barack and a Hard Place, Separate and Unequal

This week for our blogs we had to read three different things.  We had to explore the website that gave us some background on the Brown v. Board of Education, watch a short video called "Between Barack and a Hard Place" with Tim Wise, and we also had to read a short article called "Separate and Unequal" by Bob Herbert.  All of these three things are all connected to each other in some way, shape, or form.  They all discuss how the Brown v. Board of Education has changed the education world since then and it also talks about how racism and segregation on social class is a huge deal today even though we don't like to admit it.

The historical issues that I see in the Bob Herbert's article is that even though we don't like to admit it but schools are still not legally segregated today.  This is because of residential patterns, economic disparities, and housing discriminations.  In this article it uses a quote by Richard Kahlenberg where he says that "Ninety-five percent of education reform is about trying to make separate schools for rich and poor work, but there is very little evidence that you can have success when you pack all the low-income students into one particular school".  To me this is such a horrible thing to do to separate schools by poor and rich students.  There was a study that was done that showed that low-income students who were placed in an affluent elementary school had much higher grades than similar low-income students who were in higher poverty schools.  Another issue that this article discusses is that where the child lives also plays a huge impact on their education.  If a student lives in a terrible neighborhood then they are more likely to attend the public school in town where there are other misbehaving neighborhood kids.  This also plays a role on teachers too because most of the good teachers try to stay away from those kinds of schools so therefore there will be a lot of bad teachers in those public schools which won't help the kids out because they need all the help that they can get.  Overall this article says that we can't look at the race of the students as being the important key but we must look for an all-around good environment that has good teachers, fewer classroom disruptions, students who are academically motivated, and the parents also have to be more involved with the schools.  

In the video "Between Barack and a Hard Place" with Tim Wise he discusses that desegregation is present in schools but there is still the issue of racism and that we are nowhere near a post racial America.  Wise says that "To pretend or to act as if we're heading towards this post racial place would be no more logical than to say that Pakistan was heading to a post sexist place".  This video also discusses that even though there is a lot of color out there everyone is intelligent, wise, and capable of doing anything and that we shouldn't blame color on someones ability to do something.  Wise also states that "6 out of 10 whites will acknowledge that black people are generally less intelligent, more aggressive and prone to criminality, less patriotic, perceived as less hard working, and that blacks just want to live off of welfare and not work."  This last quote was proven wrong a couple of years ago when we elected Barack Obama as our President because some people see him as intelligent, is obviously patriotic, and is very hard working and Tim Wise also recognizes him as well.  

Overall the videos and websites are related to the Brown v. Board of Education because now that schools are desegregated there are now issues over racism and segregation of social classes.  In other words these three issues are a domino effect on one another.  My question that always pops up in my head in this class is why can't everyone just get along?  

Questions that I would like to ask in class:   Why do people have to judge others based on their race or social class?  Why can't more students learn from one another instead of being segregated by social class and stop making enemies?  Who is to blame for all of this?  Is it the media, parents, teachers, students, government?  Are people spending their money on useless things when they could be spending money to move to a better environment to help with their child's education?  What are your thoughts?   

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Extended Comments:
This week for my blog I have decided to use Amanda's blog as my extended comments blog.  In Amanda's blog she discusses how at her church there is a youth ministry group that is very involved in the community and in the church.  Also during Holy Week this youth ministry group fasts for 24 hours and they sleep on the church floor to get a feel for what it is like to live on the streets.  After I read this I remembered that my friend, who is also part of her church's youth group, would have to sleep outside in a big open field near the church for an entire weekend.  They weren't allowed to pack clothes and what not but they were allowed to bring tents of course.  I remember all throughout high school she was very excited to participate in this event but I never really understood why she would want to sleep outside for an entire weekend and was only allowed to bring the clothes on their back.  If I was her I would not be able to survive and I would complain the entire time but I never realized how much of an impact this event was.  One year the weather wasn't too great and it rained the entire weekend but they all still managed to participate because they knew how important it was and get a feel for what it was like to live on the streets for an entire weekend.
I believe these church groups do a very nice job of getting kids involved in the community and helping others.  There are many kids out there who don't realize that there are a lot of people out there who suffer in some way every day and we don't realize that and I think there aren't enough kids out there who are thankful for what they have.  I 100% agree with Amanda on how no matter what type of service learning someone does it will always benefit either tremendously or just a little bit to someone.
The service learning that we are doing in class has made me aware of so many things that goes on in public schools.  The school that I am in now is drastically different from my own elementary school.  At George West Elementary there are mostly African Americans and Hispanic students where as in my elementary school, 95% of the students were white.  At first I was a little uncomfortable with the change and I felt as though I didn't fit in but now I love the students that I work with and they enjoy having me in their classroom and that makes me feel like I'm a huge help to them.  This website shows the benefits of being involved in the community whether it's for a student, a faculty member or just a regular community citizen.  As Kahne and Westheimer state, it is very important for people to get involved and make a difference in your own community because you never know how much you could change or help someones life.
In class I would like to discuss what other types of service learning projects people have been involved in.  If they were involved in any others, did they enjoy them as much as they enjoy the service learning project we are doing now?  Also another interesting point that I noticed in this article was that it talked about how at some high schools they had to do 75 hours of community service before graduating.  Do you think that's too much?  Do you think all high school's should do this but set a low minimum number of hours such as maybe 10 hours?  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace Revised

I realized I forgot to put an external link in my blog for this article!  Here's an interesting link I found about the government getting involved in distributing clean needles to addicts.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Linda Christensen: Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us


When I was reading this article all I could think about was the Disney movie that recently came out back in December, "The Princess and the Frog".  This is the first Disney movie where the leading character is an African American princess.  Some people are happy with the decision Disney made and some people are horrified by their decisions.  Not only don't they agree with their decision of having an African American being a princess but they also thought that their decision of having the movie set in New Orleans wasn't a very good idea.  As we all know, New Orleans was where one of the most devastating tragedies beset a black community and by having an African American Disney Princess live in New Orleans was not a good combination and it stirred up many arguments by the critics and the viewers.  Another issue that many critics found disturbing about this movie was that the original name for the Princess was Maddy but before the movie came out they decided to change the name to Tiana.  Many people saw this as very racist because when you think of a name for an African American you don't often think of ordinary names so many people believed that since it's an African American we should give her an  name such as Tiana.  
I work at Target and up front at each register we have a section with various items such as advil, chapstick, tide to go pens, hot wheels cars, and we also have a small collection of Disney Princess Dolls.  One day we received a shipment of all the various items.  I remember I was helping my manager put out all the items and when we came across this
African American Princess she began to bust out laughing.  I asked her what was so funny and all she could say was "This is too funny!".  I didn't say anything back to her and I just continued on with what I was doing.  Working at the register I would see numerous kids pick up this doll and look at it kind of strange and they wouldn't beg their parents to buy it for them like they would for any other toy.  I will admit that for the two years that I've been working here seeing this African American Princess was a little different to me but it I didn't let it bother me like it is doing to everyone else.  

In Christensen's article she talks about how some people refuse to go see another Walt Disney movie until they have a black woman playing the role and how many people wanted to see a change in the race of actors.  Well, with this movie I believe that they did get that change but some people don't see it as a change they see it as the creators of the movie being racist.  Why can't people just accept a change for once and stop looking at the negatives of everything?  This is the FIRST time that they've had an African American princess and everyone was so angry about it.  I don't agree with everyone's negative reaction towards this movie and I thought it was a good idea for Disney to do. 

Do you think Disney should have created this movie?  Has anyone ever seen this movie and if you did, do you think it's a racist movie?  

Friday, February 25, 2011

From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America - A National Report on School Bullying


1)"This study clearly illustrates the prevalence of bullying and harassment in America’s schools and that students who experience harassment are more likely to miss classes which can impact a student’s ability to learn." 
Bullying is a huge issue that takes place in America's schools and each year it seems to be getting worse and worse.  The LGBT students who are harassed every single day don't feel comfortable going to school  because they know each day they'll hear at least one remark about their gender expression.  Hearing those remarks makes them feel empty inside, makes them feel like don't belong, and all they want is just to just be accepted for who they are.  The school systems are the worst place for this type of harassment because it can then lead to the child missing a significant amount of school due to the fact that they don't feel like they belong and they have nowhere to escape to.  If teachers had more control over this issue then the student's wouldn't have such a hard time of coming to school because then they know that they have someone to report these incidents to and they have someone to escape to.

2)"The survey reveals that having a harassment policy in place that specifically mentions sexual orientation or gender identity/expression is associated with more students feeling safe (95% vs. 83%) and reporting less harassment or fewer negative remarks at their school."
All schools have a harassment policy in effect but in order to reduce the sexual orientation or gender identity harassment some schools have found it very helpful to have a harassment policy that specifically mentions sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.  If students are aware that there is some type of punishment for this type of harassment then this would result in less bullying and LGBT students would feel much safer and comfortable in school.  A simple policy like this could make a huge difference in every school because it shows all the LGBT students that the school system cares about them and they actually feel accepted in their own school and they don't have that feeling of fear coming to school every day.   

3)“It is important that teachers be made more aware of problems that students are having in school and be willing to identify themselves as resources for students who experience bullying and harassment.”
This is another key factor that helps reduce bullying in America's school systems.  Teachers have to be aware what goes on in and outside of their classrooms.  If there is only one person in a classroom that a LGBT student could rely on it should always be the teacher.  The teacher has the most power in the classroom and if a LGBT student is being harassed they should be able to report to the teacher and from there the teacher can either talk to the other student who is harassing the LGBT student and tell them to stop or if it continues then the teacher has the power to talk to the principal who can then call in the bully's parents to have a meeting.  When teachers take control over situations like these they are preventing a serious situation from becoming even more serious.  If the LGBT student can't rely on the teacher for help and nobody else in the school system is taking control over the situation then the victim could start having suicidal thoughts.  In my high school we had several different after school programs and one program that relates to this article was the GSA Club, Gay Straight Alliance Club.  Programs like these make a huge difference for LGBT students and I think teachers who created clubs like these can help solve any other issues going on in the school systems.

Why can't everyone just accept people for who they are?  Should there be a requirement that all schools should have a policy that specifically mentions sexual orientation and gender identity since it helps reduce the harassment?  

Larry King Video on Gay Bullying:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Aria by Richard Rodriguez

Richard Rodriguez argues that by forcing a child to not use their native language at home and instead use the public language or the "gringos" language can pull the family's bond apart and could change their lifestyle forever.

I believe that making a student speak their second language at home is not solving any problem the student is having with learning the actual language.  Why would you want to take their comfort zone away from them?  Teachers need to realize that everyone has their own way of learning.  Teaching a student whose first language is a foreign language is very tough.  This is why teachers have to use what the student knows and mix it with what they are trying to teach them.  They have to understand that it is okay for the student to use their native language once in a while to learn the English language.  This is the learning technique of the student "mixing".  Having the nuns tell Richard's parents to speak only English at home was a very bad idea.  By doing this they are only taking away the student's individuality.  Richard used to be able to escape school by going home and speaking Spanish but now he can't escape to anywhere because everywhere he goes he hears the English language.  This also caused Richard and his family to lose their family bond.  The only bond that was holding his family together was that they would always speak Spanish to each other and now they can't because the nuns believe it is the only way for their children to learn English.  Forcing him to only speak English at home is going to make him think that he HAS to learn English or else they're going to think they will not be successful in school.   All these changes in Richard's life also occur in other bilingual student's lives.  Teachers are not aware of how much individuality the bilingual student's lose when they become a part of the public society.  They also need to realize that people are individualized in two different ways and they are public individuality and private individuality.  By having the nuns take away the Spanish language in Richard's home they have taken away his private individuality and that is not solving any issues.  They need to accept the fact that this student comes from a foreign background and they need to work him in an ESL classroom and help him learn the English language and not take away his private individuality.

From reading this article it made me realize that when I become a teacher I have to realize where all my students are coming from and I have to accept how they will learn.  By making a student speak English at home isn't going to solve any problems in school, it's just going to make them feel like they HAVE to speak it or else they will not succeed in school.  Having the nuns go to the student's house was a little too extreme and instead they should have worked with Richard in an ESL classroom.  How do you think the nuns should have handled the situation?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jonathan Kozol's "Amazing Grace"

Quotes:  Choose three quotes from the text and explain what they mean and their relevance to the text.

"The point is that they put a lot of things into our neighborhood that no one wants,"  she says.  "The waste incinerator is just one more lovely way of showing their affection." (Kozol 10)
I believe that this quote right here just shows me how much control the people have over what the city puts on Cypress Avenue.  The city is already as bad as it is and they are just making it worse by polluting the air with this incinerator.  Several people are sick, children already have breathing problems, prostitutes are roaming the streets everywhere, and drug dealers are seen throughout.  Kozol is trying to display how much power these people have in their own city.  Even if they did try and fight the city about what was to be put in the city they still wouldn't win the war.  Since poverty is so popular throughout the city obviously they have no control over what goes on therefore incinerators, prostitutes, drug dealers, and illegal dumpers take advantage of this part of the city and just continue to trash the place.

"The pastor tells me that the place is known as "Children's Park."  Volunteers arrive here twice a week to give out condoms and clean needles to addicted men and women, some of whom bring their children with them.  The children play near the bears or on a jungle gym while their mothers wait for needles."  (Kozol 12)
Upon reading this quote I was in complete shock.  Not only do the people that live in this neighborhood have control but it also shows that there is no authority in this neighborhood.  I just don't understand why they would let people who have addictions come to what is known as a family place to pick up their condoms and clean needles.  Most parents decide to bring their kids to a park because it is a place that is supposed to be kid appropriate and they can play with all their friends.  Kids shouldn't have to see their own parents going to the "Children's Park" to pick up their condoms or clean needles and go and play with the bears that are attached to tree limbs.  There are times like these that would scare me as a teacher because there might be that one student that doesn't act right in school and always comes into school with that terrified look on his face because every week he sees his mother or father go to this park to pick up what they need.

"He said a bed had been arranged.  They told him they would have it ready in two hours.  I went to the hospital and, when I get there, it's six hours before they can put me in a bed.  Then when I go upstairs, the room is not prepared.  The bed is covered with blood and bandages from someone else."  (Kozol 15)
In this quote, Kozol is saying that even when they doctor's demand Mrs. Washington to get admitted she still has to wait hours and hours to be waited upon where it should only take a short amount of time.  It just doesn't make sense to me why someone would make someone get admitted then force them to wait hours to be waited upon and when the time finally comes they walk up to a room that isn't even prepared.  A hospital should not be a place that someone refuses to go to because of their poor services, it should be a place where patients feel comfortable and are happy with the services.  They shouldn't have to walk into a room with blood and bandages everywhere.  Kozol is also trying to say that even though a majority of these people suffer from poverty they should always have a place to go to and to feel better about themselves and clearly this hospital is not the place to go to and that is not acceptable in my view.

Questions:  As stated previously the conditions in the Bronx Lebanon is terrible.  In fact, it is so terrible that Mrs. Washington cries every time they tell her she has to go back.  Should this be fixed?  Should they get more staff members to help ease the conditions?  Should she go to a new hospital?  Another issue that I thought was a bit disturbing was the fact that addicts were using a children's park to receive their clean needles and condoms.  Where else should they do this?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hey what's up I'm Sarah :)

Hey there!  My name's Sarah and I am a sophomore at RIC and I am studying Secondary Education with a concentration in math.  So far this semester is very hectic with classes and especially with all this snow!  If I'm not at school or doing school work I am usually working at (everyone's favorite place) Target!  I also love to play/watch any type of sport.  I played volleyball and basketball in high school and I loved every minute of it!  So yeah that's me and I think this class will be a blast! :)