Sunday, March 31, 2013

Connections to Delpit and Johnson--Brown vs. Board

Brown vs. Board of Education Connections Response 

          The following quote from the NY times article reminded me of Delpit in regard to . “Long years of evidence show that poor kids of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent-that is, middle class-peers.” I thought this was good until I read the next sentence:  “But when the poor kids are black or Hispanic,that means racial and ethnic integration in the schools.” Why should there be a "but?" This shouln't have been a problem, but it was and severely impacted these students' learning. This is an example of inequality in connection with Brown vs. Board of Education.  This topic also supports Lisa Delpit, who said that societal change occurs from the top down.

          Before this article, I had not heard of a "postracial America." In the article, it said that there is not much progress by having all poor students in one school. This is obvious because these kids do not have any example to follow besides the one they are used to seeing, which is a struggling image of their family for financial support. Therefore, school may not be a priority for these kids, despite that in actuality it should be since it directly affects finances. Nonetheless, this part of the article connects to Delpit's The Silenced Dialogue regarding the culture of Power and system of white privilege and Johnson's "Rodney King's Question" about social divides.
          Specifically the last paragraph of the article: “What I think is a shame is that we have to do all of this humiliating dancing around the perennially uncomfortable issue of race. We pretend that no one’s racist anymore…” We talked about this in class a few weeks ago. Racism still exists in subtle ways, such as a hidden curriculum. Also, in the video the speaker defines racism and postracial America, like the article. Upon reading the definition I realized the connection to class about racism still existing, despite that people may think it doesn’t happen anymore. The 2nd video mentions that even though Brown vs. Board and Civil Rights act have been passed, people must act in order to make sure equality exists and the laws that derived from them are enforced. At one point the article said that teachers avoided poverty stricken schools. In class, we said how Delpit stated that teachers need to use kids' experieces to each them and wants the educators to open up to students.
          Poor children need to be taught about expectations. The bar of acheivement needs to be raised for them and they need to be told they will and can do well in school, even if they are brought up in a poor environment. This coincides with Delpit, specifically the part where she says kids need to be taught the rules and codes of power to be successful.
Also, the whole situation regarding inequality, which Brown vs. Board surmounted, connects to Johnson's essay, where he refers to people as "social beings" yet people use the differences among one another as social barriers. This causes people to develop standards, which instigates social inequality. In essence, Johnson states people must admit that social flaws still exist. This recognition should be the start to eliminate them all together.

          I liked this article because it states a clear plan on how to change the struggle for inequality in schools and improve the education for poorer students.  It says to take the “learning environments” out of areas of poverty. Kids need to see a new setting. Once they are introduced to it, they will mirror what they have observed and develop traits similar to what they have seen in this new learning setting. Sometimes seeing other students different from them, such as middle class, provokes a healthy competition, where poor students strive to achieve goals and set standards equal or above their fellow classmates.
           In essence, the significance of the learning environment, is the core of this article. The learning/educational setting is the foundation for educational, social, mental and emotional development. If it is not a healthy area, the kids will not learn effectively. This was a “Think outside the box” article. It makes people open their eyes and look for the actual cause of social/educational problems.
      Now, what areas are presently holding students back from learning? Is it race, learning environment, social structure or a mixture of all three? How so? Do we as students have the power to change it since it affects our own community or do we need a higher power, such as state government, to implement a plan to make learning more effective? Where else in society does inequality exist? Does it affect people as signficantly as it does is school settings?
I believe that inequality in schools is more severe because education is the foundation for the rest of learning developments, which affects all areas of life. Moreover, education is during the stages of a child's own social, emotional and physical development.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


This article “In Service of What?” by Kahne and Westheimer emphasizes that service learning increases the chance of children actually being educated and retaining what they learn in the classroom. Service Learning promotes communication and invites all students to participate. It breaks the traditional routine of being seated at a desk and listening to one teacher’s lessons. Service learning prompts students to speak and bring their ideas into the classroom since the service learning "teacher" is open to student discussion and hearing what the children have to say.

In the article, there is a paragraph on pg. 2 that asks "What values do service learning curricula model and seek to promote?" We [our class] as students are there to teach, to learn from the students and set an example. These values are found in our example! The patience we display, the kindness, such as a smile or encouraging word; these seemingly little details truly help the children in our service learning, and they are in turn the values that need to be promoted.   

 Service learning is also beneficial to older students. This video is multi-cultural and shows the positive results of service learning: the affects it has had on these students and the world!

Service learning proves to be so effective that state and government officials have gotten involved to promote the projects, as shown in the article regarding Clinton’s National Service Trust Act of 1973.
The link connects to a website  about Americorps, which is promoted at Rhode Island College too. J

It also lists a timeline about National Service in the United States.

Children learn through play. This is a well-known method of teaching; Kahne and Westheimer said students could work in swamplands, for example, and through service learning projects such as this students improve skills, such as comprehension. The following video emphasizes the “Service Learning” definition. It coincides with the part of the article that lists the positive affects of serivce learning, to what extent it has on students as well as how it relates to the school curriculums.  

Before this class, I had not heard the term “Service Learning.” This article shows how it had been spread throughout the country by government officials. However, I would like to know what is going on now to further promote the projects. I think it should be one of the priorities of Rhode Island’s State Government. What do you think? Is it an initiative that is still on a list somewhere or is it actually being implemented each day?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Extended Comments...Cinderella....

          In regard to Cinderella Ate My Daughter...Orenstein:
          Well, although Orenstein spoke in understandable language, I found the main point of her article difficult to comprehend. She jumped from topics quite frequently, which resulted in abrupt cut-offs regarding the points she was trying to make. Nonetheless, I am going to share Mikaela's blog.
She gave the precise example of assumed gender roles that we were talking about in class based upon the Christensen article. Children often develop mindsets about particular occupations and positions in life depending on gender. Though these children are unaware of the term "Gender role" their enviroments imply the concepts so they are apt to understand it. Likewise, Orenstein highlights the idea of being a "princess," which many young girls idealize. I wanted to correlate "Princess" and the color pink, which Mikaela also wrote about. From my point of view, pink is a color associated with happy things, such as Easter Eggs, coloring books, and the hue added to toys to add a soft touch. However, in Orenstein's eyes, Pink is a gender color associated with mainly girls, and princesses. Mikaela commented on the part of the article where the vendor basically said that girls just like the color pink. Mikaela disagreed and attested that his comment was untrue. I liked her blog because it provided actual experiences to prove/disprove ideas brought up in Orenstein's and previous articles. In my opinion, it is not the object that affects people, such as a color initiating gender biases. Rather, it is the meaning that people attach to the object, such as what a princess is defined to be or what a color is associated with. I must say pink is for boys too--just look at the polos. Nonetheless, things like princesses and colors will always carry the traditional meaning. It is just our job to show that there are alternate meanings, redefinitions and understandings that show people that they have programed mindsets from the traditional norm, which is not always true yet frequently accepted.
            To prove that pink is not officially a female color, just look in the dictionary. No where does it say that is is specifically for girls. This just shows that people have formed a meaning to it based on their own ideas.  Take a look at these definitions of pink throughout my blog....none of them pertain to the meaning most people would associate it with.
Also, a princess really means someone with power and responsibility. Fairy tales do not define "princess" in this manner. Little girls are not thinking of this meaning, but rather all of the fun and pretty accessories that go with being a princess---tea parties, pretty dresses.
Can anyone think of any other words people typically have predisposed meanings of that aren't really true. Where might we get these ideas from.....and don't say the media!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Imagination vs. Stereotype?

          This author, Linda Christiansen, argues that stereotypes subtly exist in popular culture, such as media and literature, and then become accepted ways of thinking so therefore students must become aware of their blindness to it. Often, students believe a written or broadcasted idea is the truth just because it is publicized. Christiansen emphasizes that students must be taught to recognize and identify these stereotypes so they realize society does not run that way, even though it appears that way due to popularity. Since many cartoons are so well-known, people do not analyze the underlying connotations in these shows so they are just declared as traditional. However, Christiansen instructs students to ask questions so they understand the stereotypes the movies portray, present in character roles and plot. In turn, she instigates the students to become aware of the stereotypes and see that their way of thinking has been blinded by the “traditional” cartoon. T
          Then, Christiansen says students become more aware of the inequalities inherent in earlier society regarding race, social and economic positions. That was just how society operated at the time so these stereotypes were mainstreamed in movies. Yet, people nowadays are not as conscious of the insinuations the movies contain, so Christiansen wants to make them apparent. Then students recognize the need to address them. This was a critical thinking lesson that included oral communication, in which they voiced their concerns, and then writing, where the students relayed their criticisms in an essay. In turn, the students realized that by watching these movies, they went along with the stereotypical ideas. This motivated them to recognize stereotypes that still exist in current news, media and literature, such as magazines. Christiansen intended her lesson to broaden the students’ cultural awareness, while at the same time improving their academic skills. This expanded outside the classrooms and inspired students to seek change in areas of the community where inequality still existed.
          In my opinion, people do not always intend to deliberately treat people unequally. Despite that traditional cartoons contain stereotypes, I think the moral lessons and fantasies they include inspire children to think creatively and imagine, which is so vital to a healthy child and their education. This idea completely overrides the stereotype view of cartoons.