Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pecha Kucha Progress Report

For my pecha kucha, I plan on using Ulucci as my main author because my service learning has shown how poverty clearly exists. My other text connections are Johnson, August, Kozol, and Collier. I chose Johnson as one of my connections, because he talks about how we are aware of problems in the world, but we are afraid to say them. August came to life during my service learning experience because there is this one third grade girl who can be mean and will start making insults to some of her classmates. This reminded me about how classrooms should be served as "safe spaces." Like Kozol observed with the children in Mott Haven, New York, the students come from impoverished backgrounds, but that doesn't bring their happiness down. Lastly, Collier came to life during my service learning because I learned that teachers need to be exposed to many cultures and backgrounds. I am almost done creating my pecha kucha and will plan on what I will say on each slide next.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Brown vs. Board of Education vs. Today's Racial Issues

 First off, I want to say that I don't know about the rest of you, but I liked how this week's assignment was slightly different than the previous weeks. Watching a video, looking at a website, and reading a short(!) article was fun. For this week's blog, I am going to briefly talk about the Brown vs. Board of Education case, discuss what Bob Herbert and Tim Wise argue, and explain what they all have in common with one another.

When the Brown vs. Board of Education occurred, lawyers, parents, students, and members of communities fought to cease legal racial segregation in America. At the time, schools were either whites only or blacks only. So on May 17, 1954, The United States Supreme Court unanimously got rid of anything constitutional that had to do with separation of race. They made education an equal opportunity for races of all kind. According to the website, "The victory transformed the nation." Even though this case played a big role in changing our country to where it is today, it "did not constitute a perfect solution to the problem of unequal opportunity." We can go back and read Peggy Mcintosh's article, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, where Mcintosh discusses all of the opportunities that whites still have over blacks today.

In the video, Tim Wise, who wrote the book Between Barack and a Hard Place, argues how racism is still an obstacle that needs to be overcome. In his own words, he emphasizes that "even with the long history, the ball hasn't moved as much." What he means is that even though we have done a little bit to improve racism, we still have a long way to go. Wise brought up some really eye opening points throughout the video. He explains how we are unaware of the two types of racism : racism 1.0 and racism 2.0. Racism 1.0 is the racism that we all know i.e. stereotypes and discrimination. Racism 2.0 is what Wise calls "exceptionism." His example of that is voting for Barack Obama in the last two elections so that you won't be considered racist for not voting for Obama. Like Brown vs. Board of Education, the victory of Obama changed our country because it broke tradition, but it did not stop racism itself. Listening to Wise explain about racism 1.0 and 2.0 was interesting, because I never knew it actually existed. It reminds me of when I first read Lisa Delpit's The Silenced Dialogue and had no idea that the culture of power existed. Wise brings up another excellent point when he mentions that Obama went to Harvard and if he didn't, he probably wouldn't have become president. But if a white person didn't attend Harvard, he or she would still be eligible to become president. This annoys me a bit because yes, Harvard is a popular university, but there are colleges and universities that are just as great. A person of color is still well educated, even if he or she didn't attend Harvard.

In his article Separate and Unequal, Bob Herbert argues that we tend to avoid the issues of racism. Right away, this reminded me of Johnson's allusion of fire from his article, Privilege, Power, and Difference, and how people are too afraid to speak up and say that there is an actual fire. Herbert also stresses that impoverished students, which are mostly made up of black and Latino should be permitted to attend the same schools as middle class students, so that they can get equal quality of education. According to Herbert, after the Brown vs. Board of Education case, "we are still trying as a country to validate and justify the discredited concept of separate but equal schools." (pg. 1) There has been some progress though because Herbert reports that "some middle-class schools have been willing to accept transfers of low-income students when those transfers are accompanied by additional resources that benefit all the students in the schools." (pg. 3) It is great that these low-income students are finally getting the proper education that they need, however, it would be better if all low-income students had the same opportunity. I remember reading Kerri Ulucci's Pathologizing the Poor and this quote : "As we [future educators] strive to educate all children, understanding the pitfalls and promise of educating children in poverty requires clear eyes, new perspectives, and a determination to break the us/them dichotomy." (pg. 21) By allowing impoverished students to enroll in higher income schools, this is a small step in the right direction, however that is not enough.

The Brown vs. Board of Education case, Wise, and Herbert all have goals in changing America for the better. The Brown vs. Board of Education case was a huge highlight in American history, but Wise and Herbert are pushing for even bigger and better changes. Wise and Herbert hope for all races to be equal and have the same opportunities. No one should be left behind because of their race. The relationship of Wise and Herbert's arguments and the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education makes me think about the chorus of the traditional song, We Shall Overcome.
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome

Points to make: I found this PBS documentary that really helped me understand and learn more about the Brown vs. Board of Education case.When will everybody be equal? At least some impoverished students in our country are starting to learn how to fish instead of just receiving them, but when will all impoverished people be able to achieve that skill? I have one of the many answers: It is definitely going to take more than a village to fix these conflicts.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Politics of Service Learning by Kahne and Westheimer -Extended commentary

For this week's blog, I decided to do an extended commentary on Allee's blog because she brought up some excellent points and references from other texts. "The Politics of Service Learning" discussed how important service learning is and how students change their views on the world because of it. 

I agree with Allee that many people only contribute to charity because it is a requirement to graduate at many schools. What makes me sad is that these people don't think or seem to care about how they are changing other peoples' lives. At my high school, we did not have a community service requirement, but that didn't stop me from volunteering to do childcare at my church. Yes, the kids can be rambunctious and quite a handful, but they brighten my day every time I go there. The service learning that is required for this class is one of the best experiences of my life!

In her first text connection, Allee uses the following quote from Johnson's "Privilege, Power, and Difference" article :"But always the purpose is to change how we think so that we can change how we act, and by changing how we participate in the world, become part of the complex dynamic through which the world itself would change" (viii). What I like about this quote is that it is very spot on to the actual idea of service learning. My service learning experience has definitely changed my thinking and my perception of the world. Allee mentions in her blog that Johnson said that in order to change the world, we cannot be afraid to speak up. I absolutely agree with that, but I think that in order for the change to occur, we need to have more than one person to speak up.

Allee's second text connection was on Ullucci's article "Pathologizing the Poor: Implications for Preparing Teachers to Work in High Poverty Schools." I personally loved how Allee mentioned how important it is to not stereotype poor people nor make assumptions about them. Yes, some poor people are lazy and do drugs, but others work just as, if not, harder than the average person. We are currently living in a country that has a horrible economy. Like Allee said in her blog, some neighborhoods that people say are "dangerous" end up being one of the most friendly neighborhoods. I give Allee so much credit for being so brave on her first day of service learning. If someone had told me that I was about to enter an unsafe neighborhood, I would run the other way. Allee went to this "unsafe" neighborhood and met some very welcoming students. This just shows that we can't always believe what some people say until we experience it ourselves. This Kahne and Westheimer quote that Allee selected basically sums everything up in this paragraph:  "The experiential and interpersonal components of service learning activities can achieve the first crucial step toward diminishing the sense of 'otherness' that often separates students - particularly privileged students - from those in need" (8). By helping students, who have less privilege, we can mentor and try to help them become more successful in the world someday.

Who can forget Lisa Delpit and her aspects on the culture of power from her article, "The Silenced Dialogue.?" Ever since I read that article, I have been witnessing some Delpit moments everywhere I go. Allee mentions that people with the power have set beliefs that service learning is just good charity. On one hand, I agree that many people think of service learning or charity as "doing the right thing," but on the other hand, I disagree because there are many teachers out there that emphasize how community service not only changes the others that we are helping, but it also changes ourselves.

Points to share/Questions : I found a community service learning center webpage from the official website of the University of Minnesota. It talks about how students, faculty, and community partners benefit from service learning. There were many points from there that I agreed with.I think that it is a shame that my high school never required community service because I think that it could have changed many of my classmates' views and beliefs. I remember overhearing some of my classmates' assumptions on other people who were not like them and they would say some things that truly disgusted me. Was community service a graduation requirement in your high school? Did you think of it as a change in your perception or just another thing that you had to do in order to get out of high school?