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?