Monday, April 25, 2011

Any Education Is A Privilege

After writing about the politics in education I thought about my trip to the DR and how I've been a little "Dominican home sick" this week, it was the final sign up week and I just don't have enough time or money this summer to go BUT non the less my thoughts and prayers are with those I've helped and still want to help.

ANYWAY this all links with Ira Shor, because I think about the education that we give to those in the DR. I was on the teaching team for half of the week the last time I went and we teach them basic English and reading skills. To them, they cannot WAIT to get to school. They don't think about whose teaching them, if it's good, they NEED to be there because that is there hope for having a better life. To learn English in the DR will get you far (in their mind) because they can become translators for those that visit, work in the cities, or better yet work at the resorts. They don't question the education because that is the difference between cutting sugar canes like their fathers and mothers, or living to their full potential. We as teachers do not give them pointless assignments or have them spit back words, we have conversations, we teach them about the world beyond the sugar cane. We have them question where they're living and help them to know where they are capable of going.

I could be completely wrong in my thinking, but have a look at the kids that I taught/ visited. I made this video to show to my church when we came home last summer:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Extended Comments
This weeks reading was by Ira Shor entitled Education in Politics: An Agenda for Empowerment. I decided to post my blog based off of Courtney's blog who I think really encapsulated what Shor was trying to say.

Courtney first gave a quote from Shor saying:

"If I were a primary-grade teacher, I would devolp my time to problems of socialization. The most important thing children learn is not the three R's, It's socialization" He urged teachers to encourage students t0 question their experience in school: "You must arouse children's curiosity and make them think about school. For example, it's very important to begin the school year with a discussion of why we go to school.

The first thing in reading this statement is HOW TRUE it is that what I will remember most are the PEOPLE I have met and the Teachers that inspired me. Courtney talked about how Professor Bogad gave us a meaningless quiz that simply required us to spit back information. This information was nothing that would help me in life, would help me do something wonderful it was just to make sure that I did the homework. What I realized after that was that I'm better than this piece of paper and what it's asking me to do. I couldn't agree more with Courtney when she said "Towards the end i was slow on answering a few questions because I wanted to make sure that they were right because I wasn't sure if she was collecting them, but other than that it was like a normal assignment for many of my high school classes." I have never questioned these assignments. They are what I have always had to do. I believe that in my time at high school, I was never told to question why it was I went to school and that's what Shor thinks every class should be doing: asking questions.

I really like Courtney's quote about how we've had good teachers and bad teachers but in the end:

"Do you want to be that teacher who gives you assignments like we got in class? Or do you want to be the teacher who helps their students to learn? Personally I think we as teachers can change this. I think it's taking that extra hour after school to help students even though you aren't getting paid. It's taking those extra couple of hours planning a lesson that fits every student in your classroom. No one ever said that being a teacher was easy, and after being in this class and reading all of the article throughout the semester I've learned it will be even more difficult than I thought."

The teachers that I remember most impacting me were the ones that never gave me tests. I didn't have a lot of homework but I learned more about life in those classes than I could ever remember. I agree COMPLETELY with Courtney and how she says WE as teachers need to be the ones making the difference. This is one of the toughest jobs in my mind (and yes I firmly believe teachers do not get credit at all for what they do) and we need to fight for the rights of our students. I want them to be inspired to question why it is they are there what it is they want to do etc.

To answer some of Courtney's questions I really believe that teachers can change the education system. I think it starts with the students: even though the administration might be off you can still run your classroom and impact your students by just being there for them.

I want to talk about how it is that the administration can be improved: I feel as though that is where most of the politics comes into play and it's more about the school being "good" not so much the students.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Reflection Paper on the Social Justice Event

The Social Justice Event that I attended was about Women Studies and the special guest was Leslie Grinner; the creator of S.C.W.A.M.P. This acronym stands for Straightness, Christianity, Able-Bodiness, Maleness, and Property Ownership. In society, these 6 ideologies create what is perceived as the "normal" society. Anything that does not fit into this criteria is considered abnormal, usually discriminated against, or even though of as less superior. Leslie Grinner came up with this because these were the standards in order to vote. You were assumed to be straight, had to be a christian, had to be able-bodied, a male, and owned/ handled property. These are still held true in society even though we had made strides to create diversity in the community.

SCWAMP can easily be seen through community in multiple ways but I'll connect it to three:

1) Jobs
2) Politics and
3) Media

In jobs, women to this day make 75 cents to every dollar a man makes. They could be doing the exact same job and STILL be making less. That's why being a male is more accepted in the work force. Also being able-bodied helps with getting a job. It doesn't just mean not being handicap but being pretty creates a better able-body than someone who is considered ugly. You're guaranteed to get a better job if you're pretty.

In Politics, society is still afraid to have a female leader. In most countries around the world, women have already been leaders in that country. Why is it that in America we're still afraid to have a women leader. Also in politics, we just recently had our first black president, and he wasn't even fully black, he was only half black. All of our other leaders, presidents, etc have been white. They have all been straight, all rich and owners of property. Politics is full of SCWAMP.

The third connection is to the media: probably the most influential of three. Why? Because the media starts with children and sticks with them throughout their entire life. In the media, we see predominant heterosexual relationships. We see the villains as disabled (with a patch, crutch, peg-leg, hunchback, etc) and the pretty princess/ main women as skinny, beautiful, and always gets what she wants. We also see that a lot of christian values even if it's not reading verses straight from the bible. For example, women wearing cross necklace or praying before dinner.

Through this social justice event, Leslie Grinner broke down SCWAMP in the Twilight Saga. It is amazing that having seen Twilight I never noticed these prominent ideologies. Like the fact that this isn't seen:

Do you think that Twilight would go over so well as a movie if it had a homosexual couple in it instead of all heterosexual couples? Straightness is key in this movie as well as most movies out in theaters right now! Twilight also constitutes that having property, wealth and beauty is better. Edward Cullen and the rest of the Cullen's are absolutely beautiful, perfect actually, not a hair or thread out of place. Yet, Jacob, lives on a preserve, works with his hands, and is not the most beautiful person in the world in comparison to Edward (until the second movie when he took off his shirt and showed his abs for no apparent reason). Moving on, whiteness is prominent in the movie. Bella is the whitest girl ever and every boy that she meets wants her, black, Asian, and white. Of course she chooses Edward, the other whitest man in the world, and denies Jacob (who until recently I didn't look at as being more Latino than Native American). There are two black men in the entire series (one which disappears all together by the third movie and the other who is clearly a foreigner, not American.) Being white is very important in this movie. Finally, even though there is now real religion in this movie, Edward feels inclined to save sex for marriage regardless of how Bella feels. This is a very christian/ moral act. I doubt that it was intended but it is indeed a part of the Christian faith.

What I took most of all out of this is that Stephanie Meyers didn't write this with the intention of being everything that SCWAMP indicates; Meyers is just apart of this ideology and has been influenced by this culture of Straightness, Christianity, Whiteness, Able-bodiness, Maleness, and Property ownership. Meyers probably has no idea that this even occurs in her books, just as most of us probably never though that SWAMP really existed in society.

This idea really relates to three texts that we have read in our class:

1) Johnson
2) McIntosh and
3) Christensen

Johnson believes that we need to talk about privilege, power, and difference to create a more just and respectful world. It is said that if you're living in a predominantly white community, suburb, or anything to that extent, you are more likely privileged or have power. In Twilight, you can clearly see that Edward is privileged (his father is a wealthy doctor and mother is able to stay home) while Jacob lives on a reserve and has a handicap father so Jacob works. Johnson would wants people to notice how race, class, gender, and sexuality affect your privilege, power and difference.

McIntosh believes that white people do not notice how whiteness is more widely accepted or has more power over other races. In Twilight, I never noticed how the characters are white, living happily, and that Bella is willing to die for the dead white guy rather than be with the Native American mortal wolf man. I also never noticed in Twilight that there are only Two Black Males (not even Black women) in the films and one of them disappears (like stated before). I wouldn't notice this because it's not my race, I don't really think about how many black people, Asian people, Latino people are in films because that's not my race I suppose.

The final author that SCWAMP and Twilight relates to, above all in my opinion is Christensen and her idea of the Secret Education withing media. For example, Emily from Twilight:
Do you know how Emily got that horrendous scar and disfigurement on her face? He boyfriend or husband (I forget what he is) got angry at her, and shape shifted and slashed her face with his big strong wolf paw. The CRAZY thing is that she stays with him, saying it was a one time thing and that he just got angry and out of control. What does this sound like to you? OH I KNOW DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ABUSE! Girls might not see it as that but they will see it as it's okay if he hurt her because they still love each other and it was a one time thing! This movie has a hidden message that Stephanie Meyers probably didn't even mean to put in! Media is constantly providing SCWAMP stereotypes and secret messages to it's viewers.

This social justice event was really impacting and made me think about the movies and media that I watch or view. I'll probably dissect everything I watch now!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Let No Voice Be Silenced!


This weeks article was from the book entitled Schooling Children with Down Syndrome by Christopher Kliewer.

"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" 

I personally have a connection with this article because I have always been thinking about the discrimination in schools against those who are disabled. In some schools, I see that kids with disabilities are put into their "special" classrooms but never to socialize in a classroom of their peers who are not disabled. I immediately think of Leslie Grinner and her creation of S.C.W.A.M.P. The A in this acronym stands for able-bodyness. In today's society, you see someone different, you automatically judge, in other words most people will discriminate against someone who is not he same as he or she is. This discrimination doesn't just have to be of color or gender, but disability: the able bodyness of a person. In this article, it talks about how school's do not treat those with down syndrome or even disabilities with the same FAITH as they do with those whoa re capable of doing their work. Some schools just don't think these students are able to perform to their full potential because they don't KNOW their full potential. In this site however, you can see that there is an effort to inform and guide teachers to be able to teach those with down syndrome. I think that this is a positive thing to do for those with disabilities, but exploring this site, I'm not sure where they stand on those with downs being in a classroom of their peers. THAT is the biggest issue I found in this article; helping those with downs ultimately adapt to the community. 

"Community both establishes and is derived from each individual's recognition of the value of every other individual. Such realization comes about through the act of communal dialogue, or, using Dewey's term, conjoint communication...democracy can only occur when no person's voice in deterministically silenced" 

We are silencing those with what we presume to be disability. "Community requires a willingness to see people as they are-- different perhaps in their minds and in their bodies, but not different in their spirits or their willingness and ability to contribute to the mosaic of society."  

My reflection on this WHOLE this is named Jonathan. I worked with Jonathan for years when I was living back in CT as a babysitter. His mother had a previous babysitter that didn't work because she couldn't seem to handle his down syndrome. At the time, he was 7 years old. When I came into the picture, I treated him as I would any other child that I babysat. I would tell him when to clean his toys, when to sit down on the couch, when to get into his pj's, never in a voice that would belittle his ability, but a stern voice as any authoritative figure would have to take. I would have MAYBE one tantrum a visit. The previous babysitter would have a tantrum with every question that she asked. The way that she asked the questions I can only assume was in a voice that was not whole hearted in having FAITH in Jonathan. Yes he has down syndrome but he understands and new everything that I asked him to do. It might have taken a few seconds to register, but he was not stupid. He was actually very smart. 

After babysitting Jonathan, I treat any person of down syndrome as such...a person. They are exactly what the quote about stated: different in mind and body but the same in spirit. I hope that in schools, these students would be treated equally by not just their peers, but their teachers. They are at school for the same reason any other child would be in a school and that is to get an education.

In class, I'd like to talk about how other people's schools were set up with their disability programs. How were they effective in helping those with disabilities and how could they have also been improved? I want to know how to stop discrimination of these students and most importantly IF they were ever to be taken advantage of because they may not be quick to judge. It pains me to think that in my work place (I work with kids and adults of disabilities) that someone would be stealing money from a person with a form of autism. It is sickening. I want to know how education can be improved with those of down syndrome!  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Literacy: Dangerous, with Attitude, and Changing Society


This weeks reading was called Literacy With An Attitude by Patrick J. Finn. Even though we were required to read the Preface along with chapters 1,2, and a bit of 13 and 14. I'll be focusing on mainly the preface and chapter 1 because they impacted me the most!

There was one quote that stuck out to me that COMPLETELY related to Delpit and her rules about the codes of power. Finn stated how he was very direct in the way that he taught his classroom and when he "had work assignments on the board when the students entered the classroom, and so there wasn't a moment when they didn't have anything to do, [he] didn't say to an errant student, 'What are you doing?' [he] said, 'Stop that and get to work.' No discussion. No openings for an argument." I look at this as Finn having complete control over his classroom. He new how to maintain a wonderful working environment for his students. Finn talked about how he started off teaching the classrooms of the 8-7's, 8-8's, 8-9's, and 8-10's which just meant that he had the second to last "slower" / troublemaker's classrooms while he taught. The other teachers who had seniority over him had been teaching the 8-1's, 8-2's and 8-3's which were clearly the upper-level learning classes. By Finn's third year, he had the lowest of these classes (8-11, 8-12, 8-13, 8-14, and 8-15's). He was the one that was viewed as able to handle the trouble makers better than anyone else. Finn stated that he "was a huge success". I firmly believe that he was because he was everything Delpit wanted in a teacher: direct, set the rules out, and there to explain. 

The second text that I think connects really well to this would be Allan G. Johnson and his talk about privilege, power and difference in order to work towards a more just world!  Finn got the title of his book from a man named Paulo Freire who worked in Brazil as an educator to those who were "classified" as illiterate poor.

"Before he started to teach reading and writing, he asked his students to reflect on the concept of justice--a radical and dangerous thing to do in a country where a huge divide separated a small number of very rich and a vast number of very poor. He asked his students what they might do to secure justice and suggested that literacy would make them far better able to engage in the struggle they would certainly face if they tried to get a better deal. Then he was ready to talk ABC's, and so were they."

The thought is that by educating those who are illiterate, there won't be a "poor" but only the rich, richer, and richest. "When rich children get empowering education nothing changes. But when working-class children get empowering education you get literacy with an attitude." This I believe is what Finn wants. If we learn how to empower education, "if people can become conscious of injustice and inequity, be disciplined, focused, and strategic action, they can bring about change. Such action both requires and promotes powerful literacy in those who struggle for justice and equity." 

In class, I would like to talk about how privilege and power CONTINUES to be such an impact on the way that society works. Also, think about how education can be empowered to create better people, not just smarter ones. I think it's so important to realize how the fortunate are fortunate, and how to make those who seem to be the "born losers" in society, fortunate, rich, and powerful as well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011



This Video Is Perfect For Gender Stereotypes In This Day and Age:

Even though I looked at many different websites, this was the first and probably impacted me the most. It's short and sweet but has interesting facts of how EMPOWERING WOMEN is so important.It is not my article about education but it's still important!

This article is called Empowering Women as Key Change Agents by the people working for the Hunger Project. 

This project helps women all over the world get empowered (mainly in third world countries or nations that are mainly driven by men) so that their communities can be improved.

"Women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family, yet are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfill this responsibility."

I am a wife. I enjoy taking care of my home even though in this day and age people think that it's being too "submissive" or having the husband walk all over you. I will admit I do bare the responsibility of cooking, mostly cleaning (he does help though which is good!) and I'm sure when kids come our way that too, but I'm not going to be a stay at home mother all my life. I'm going to school to become a teacher, I'm getting an education and a degree, I am being treated as an equal and actually, I am getting more of an education than the man I'm married to who decided to join the Army (which is wonderful because that's what's best for him!) When I read this, I was thinking about what if I wasn't getting an education? With education, I have the information and freedom to provide for my family. "Studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient."

We, as women, make a great impact in society! Not just men, not men alone, they do help, but if women are empowered, society is empowered. If a woman in the home is run down, unhappy, and unable to take care of their responsibilities, everyone suffers. Women are hard workers, I would know because I work very hard in school, at my job, and at home! I am an amazing multi-tasker and I'm sure that I'm not the only woman to do so! You can't have a community of just men, nor a community with just women, we need to coexist together in unity and equally. 

The third quote states: (statistics of what has been done to empower women)
  • By providing women food farmers easy access to credit, adequate training and instilling in them the importance of saving, THP's Microfinance Program enables women to engage in income-generating activities to increase their incomes and invest in their families and communities.
  • More than 920,000 people have taken the HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshop, in which they not only learn the facts of AIDS, but also confront and transform the gender-based behaviors that fuel the pandemic.
  • In India, our Women's Leadership Workshop has empowered 75,000 women elected to local councils to be effective change agents in their villages. They are forming district- and state-wide federations to ensure that their voices are heard at top levels of government.
  • In Bangladesh, we catalyzed the formation of a 300-organization alliance that organizes more than 800 events across the country each September in honor of National Girl Child Day, a day to focus on eradicating all forms of discrimination against girl children.
I really love the even happening in Bangladesh, National Girl Child Day. When I read this national day I thought about how they help them find a sport they like or doing things that boys do that girls supposedly "can't" do. It's also great that they are providing Gender Inequality classes to raise awareness to the woman about being mistreated unequally.

This is an awesome program helping women around the world learn that they are more than just keepers of the home. Men have many talents and use them in business, sports, and whatever they may do. Woman aren't just good at being in the kitchen, cleaning, and taking care of kids. Women have talent to utilize as WELL!

 I know that I was supposed to pick one article, but Gender Equality is happening on a GLOBAL scale. How can we improve what's happening in America? 

My Article about Gender in Education is Called "Gender Bias in Education"
by Amanda Chapman of D'Youville College

My three comments for this article are:

1) Upon entering school, girls perform equal to or better than boys on nearly every measure of achievement, but by the time they graduate high school or college, they have fallen behind. 

2) Teachers socialize girls towards a feminine ideal. Girls are praised for being neat, quiet, and calm, whereas boys are encouraged to think independently, be active and speak up. Girls are socialized in schools to recognize popularity as being important, and learn that educational performance and ability are not as important.

3) Gender bias in education is an insidious problem that causes very few people to stand up and take notice. The victims of this bias have been trained through years of schooling to be silent and passive, and are therefore unwilling to stand up and make noise about the unfair treatment they are receiving. "Over the course of years the uneven distribution of teacher time, energy, attention, and talent, with boys getting the lion's share, takes its toll on girls." 

In education, quote 1 states how girls are ahead of the game when they enter school, usually doing better than the boys but once they reach college, something happens. Girls may feel inadequate to boys and their abilities when they enter college. "It's a man's world" we're just working here. 
Quote 2 shows how girls are pushed into be feminine and girl, to be quiet and calm and not stand up to comment on their own ideas where as boys are to be more vocal and independent in their thinking. I find this so true only because I can remember that if i were to be loud or speak up that was very "different" and unacceptable as a girl but if the boy right next to me were, it was expected. 

The final quote just impacted me into thinking that there needs to be a change. The whole reason I put the first article is because action is taking place AROUND THE WORLD for gender equality, lets start here. Let's make a change in the US on gender equality. 

I'd like to talk in class about how we could make workshops for teachers as well as boys and girls alike. I'd like to talk about how this stereotype of girls needing to be in pink dresses and playing with dolls came about and why can't girls be treated the same as boys. Why is it that men are above women even if that woman may be more intelligent, kind, and all around a better person. Men are great people don't get me wrong, but women are overlooked for their greatness because they behave so well. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

As Easy As ABCD


This weeks blog focuses on TIM WISE the author of Between Barack and a Hard Place and his argument that racism is still very prominent in today's society and that the next big change in racism has arrived. It also focuses on Bob Herbert and his article in the New York Times which he argues that whites and people of Black and Hispanic heritage are still UNEQUAL in today's society.

You might be wondering why the title of this blog is "as easy as ABC" well because realizing that racism exist is as easy as ABCD and FIXING the problem is even easier.

A ccept
B lacks and
C hange the views of
D iscrimination

I'm not really sure why I thought of this acronym, but when you think about it, fixing discrimination is just that easy! Discrimination can simply be put as the unfair treatment of a race, so why can't be fair to this race?

Tim Wise talks about his new book and his findings of how racism still exists, maybe not as prominently as 50 years about but it still exists non the less. He says that there are two types of racism: 1.0 and 2.0. Racism 1.0 is the racism of Martin Luther King's time where there were signs specifically separating Whites from Blacks, different education types, or the racism that puts whites far above blacks thinking they were inferior (not to say that isn't seen now a days though either). Racism 2.0 (Wise says) is "transcending race from black or brown norm. WHAT does that mean? Well transcend means to go above, so what Wise is saying is that racism today is whites become "comfortable" with blacks or browns that go above their own race. Whites accepted Obama because he wasn't like the average "blacks" that most White people view as being less intelligent, more aggressive or prone to be apart of crimes, and not as hard working as Whites and more likely to live off welfare. Wise states how these stereotypes are the basis of today's racism. People are comfortable with Obama being black because a) he had years to prove his experience and intelligence and b) because he also has a parent who is White. The big question that struck me was can an average person of color amount to something the way an average white could? In today's society, white Americans might not even know that this racism exists but they still think less of black American's and it is seen in places of business, jobs, etc. Because of Barack Obama coming into Presidency, the new standard is that all people of black origin need to be truly exceptional in order to achieve anything now.

Bob Herbert's article states "The election of Barack Obama has not made true integration any more palatable to millions of Americans". This coincides with Wise's book because you would think that Barack's election would help White American's accept Black American's but it is still not the case. Herbert's main argument is on the education of today's Black and Hispanic students. Most of these students live in poverty and "the best teachers tend to avoid such schools, expectations regarding student achievement are frequently much lower, and there are lower levels of parental involvement" This all impacts the student and therefore puts graduates in the position of being "less intelligent" as stereotypes may point out. Wouldn't make sense to focus more on these public schools than the schools with the best test scores and more privilege? The teachers that do end up teaching these students would be less than inclined to teach them the rules and codes of power. Delpit would fear the way that the teacher operates her classroom for these students. Herbert argues that students would perform better if they were in a school with peers of middle class (rather than a school of their own racial and ethnic integration). Isn't it interesting that there are schools mainly with black students and schools mainly of whites? Couldn't we say that this matches the segregation of schools 50 years ago? This really relates to Herbert's argument of Separate but Unequal. 

This one quote from Bob Herbert really shows the relationship between Brown vs. Board and today's issues:

"More than a half-century after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation ruling, we are still trying as a country to validate and justify the discredited concept of separate but equal schools — the very idea supposedly overturned by Brown v. Board when it declared, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality."

 Take a look at the site of Brown vs. Board of Education:

"The current obsession with firing teachers, attacking unions and creating ever more charter schools has done very little to improve the academic outcomes of poor black and Latino students. Nothing has brought about gains on the scale that is needed."

The home page of this website shows two pictures. Notice that the white school has nice desks, pictures, a teacher and happy kids all in rows. The black school however has a heater right in the middle, no pictures, no desks, and not a teacher to be seen. Today, might not be as extreme but in my Service Learning area, I see some distinct differences from my middle class high school to their urban, poor school. This is happening today.

In class, I'd really like to discuss how this can be changed. How can we figure out why it is that people are poor, how can we split districts and maybe have kids from Providence going to a school like Barrington? How can we break the segregation happening today in schools even thought we supposedly broke those barriers years ago.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What Can YOU Do For Your Country?

This weeks reading was "In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Extended Comments: 

I'm going to use Heathers Service Learning blog as the discussion of mine! Hope you don't mind Heather! Heather first started off by telling a story of a service learning project that she had done earlier in High School. What struck me is her statement of "it was good what we did but just a band-aid for the problem." I agree with her statement because we can do so many things for our country, our community, but if it's just us doing them, or our small group, the problem will keep coming back waiting for us to fix it again. If we raise awareness, then others, possibly everyone will get involved and be a better service to whatever task is at hand.

I also agree with how this Service Learning project has really impacted me far more than anything else. I was SO nervous my first day too but it all went downhill and now I'm so comfortable and actually am starting to love the kids I work with. I see such intelligence and hope and dreams and it makes me want to help them get to any place they want to be! I feel as though I didn't have a great understanding of other races than my own...or maybe I assumed all races were the same but being swallowed by a school that has a 9% white population, you realize that these are kids exactly as they are, a different race. I absolutely love it! The most important thing to me after reading In The Service of What was how am I really impacting them? How am I really serving them. Yes I guess this time is for me and is supposed to help me further my college credits and volunteer hours but I don't look at it that way. I am working with kids teaching them what I love. Heather talked about how her kids aren't ESL kids, they are her students...and I couldn't agree more! I don't look at my students and call them my African kids or Hispanic kids, they're my students and I'm serving them to the best of my ability, not for me but for them.

Through this service learning project, I think a lot about Jonathan Kozol and his book entitled Amazing Grace. I think about his interaction with a completely different culture and how he observes, he looks where no one wants to look in order to educate others of whats right down the street from them.

In class I'd like to discuss more ways that we can better service learning and how we can do more after this service learning project. I don't want it to end here, I know it won't but I want to work on everything about service learning.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Girls Can't Drive

One of the things we talked about today in class was how the media can portray males and females. Females are the damsels in distress and men are strong, able to conquer anything. In class, someone said how it was depicted (I believe in a show) how the girl was driving and the man was freaking out. She, of course, acted like a ditz with nothing in her head but credit cards and the best places to find sales on the latest fashions. I am here to tell you that I AM A GIRL AND I CAN DRIVE!!! Some might think less but how do you rate that? By how many tickets I've gotten? How many accidents? How many people honk at me? It seems like in society there are so many stereotypes for so many people but how do they come about? Did they do a survey of 10 girls and majority of them couldn't drive...but again how was that rated?

This whole conversation made me think about girls that would have to act like men to succeed in a job. This little girl came to mind:


After watching this video, I thought of something else: Whats wrong with getting married before having a job? I bet most of you think this is cute and adorable but society has rules about marriage you might not think about. In SCWAAMP, it accepted to be straightness, ESPECIALLY in marriage, but when you think deeper into marriage you think everyone that gets married should be 30 with a job and own some sort of property (whether that be an apartment or house) if not you're just crazy. Well folks, I'm clearly crazy then. I can't tell you how many looks I get when I say that I'm not even 21 and I'm married. "What? You can't be married, you need a full-time job, you're not ready" so many things people say to me. I find it amazing how much society has made a "rule" for every single detail in someones life so that they can live a more "normal" life. 

My question is can we do anything right and normal in society's eyes? Are we all doing something wrong and abnormal? In my opinion, the AB in ABNORMAL stands for ABSOLUTELY BEYOND NORMAL and I am therefore abnormal!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Snow White and the "Secret Education"


This author, Linda Christensen argues that there is a "secret education" that teaches children (through books, movies, television, and secondhand information feeding from parents, family, etc.) how society is "supposed" to be. Linda states "Our society's culture industry colonizes their minds and teaches them how to act, live, and dream. This indoctrination hits young children especially hard."

Her argument ultimately: Children are taught how to think about different races, classes, and situations at a very young age by watching cartoons/ movies. They are being controlled without even knowing. She says how "these messages, or 'secret education', linked with the security of their homes, underscore the power these texts deliver. As Tatum's research suggests, the stereotypes and worldview embedded in the stories become accepted knowledge." Children are never taught to question what it is they're watching. I sure never watched Snow white thinking "there are no black people in this movie" I just watched because it was my favorite childhood movie. After reading this article, it's amazing to me how much I have been influenced by the movies I watched as a kid. One of the things I loved the quote Christensen said in her article "Happiness means getting a man, and transformation from wretched conditions can be achieved through consumption-- in their (Cinderella's) case, through new clothes and a new hairstyle." What's crazy is for the most party, I BELIEVED THIS! You had to be pretty to get the prince, you had to HAVE a prince to be happy. It's amazing how just by watching this, a message is encrypted into your mind that you NEED a man to be happy! Poor guys don't stand a chance because all of the girls are looking for a prince charming, to sing to them, and to dance with them even when there's no music.

"True death equals a generation living by rules and attitudes they never questioned and producing more children who do the same". Children do as they are told...most of the time. Every now and then they'll lie about brushing their teeth but they believe what their extremely tall parents tell them because they "reign over them". What child would ever question what their parents say? Linda Christensen wants to teach them otherwise. She wants to tap on that glass and shatter the stereotypes in cartoons. She wants to rethink schools by first making the students rethink what is they have been taught. She asks them simple questions that they wouldn't think about. The solution to this problem: make them question the "societal norms" that we're taught so often at a young age.

Looking at the Disney Princesses and Princes, they have the same happy looks now that they are forever with their knight and shining armor. This is how all girls can look when they have the man of their dreams too. I've watched all these movies just like any girl would, and it put ideas in my head that I didn't even know that they were putting. Do you see anyone black in these pictures? Asian? How about poor and happy? They're ALL princes and princesses so clearly they have money, and a title. 

In class, I'd like to discuss how it is that this isn't noticed. How is it that people don't realize it? Some do, like Linda. Maybe people just don't question cartoons because they're supposedly "kid friendly". How can we decode this "secret education" further in schools? 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

GLSEN: Victimization of Students


I read an article on the GLSEN website entitled

Shared Differences Examines LGBT Students of Color Experiences in School

by Elizabeth M. Diaz
Joseph G. Kosciw, Ph.D.

This article really raised the issue of the victimization of students "who identify as people of color and LGBT" (personally I do not like the way that is explained a person of color, are they blue?) I feel that this is so important because bullying in these cases doesn't have to be just about sexual orientation, but could also be about race now too. 

This author raises the issue of just simple bullying because of race: 

  • More than half of African American/Black, Latino/a, Asian/Pacific Islander, and multiracial students also reported verbal harassment in school based on their race or ethnicity. Native American students (43%) were less likely than other students to report experiencing racially motivated verbal harassment.

  • Then bullying because of sexual orientation:

  • Across all groups, sexual orientation and gender expression were the most common reasons LGBT students of color reported feeling unsafe in school. More than four out of five students, within each racial/ethnic group, reported verbal harassment in school because of sexual orientation and about two-thirds because of gender expression. At least a third of each group reported physical violence in school because of sexual orientation.

  • That strikes me in that statement is the PHYSICAL VIOLENCE. In this article, students reflect the death a student who was shot in 2008 for expressing himself by wearing woman's makeup and accessories. This article was posted a few days ago yet some people had no idea about this student being killed in 2008. It amazes me the violence that could come from one person onto someone with a different sexual orientation FOR NO REASON. He didn't do anything to the boy that shot him, yet was bullied for his sexual orientation. How can any student feel safe in the school with something happening like that? This article is about raising awareness through the death of this student and making people aware of the crimes committed against NORMAL people...and they are different than you and I. This article relates to the GLSEN article because the author of GLSEN says how violence occurs in most bullying. The violence can clearly lead to death.

    I came across this video on youtube and realized, the bullying doesn't have to just be coming from students, but the school faculty can also discriminate against those of different sexual orientation. In the video above, this young girl Charlene was revoked from going to a special Honor's retreat because a teacher had said she shouldn't go because she was a lesbian. Bullying is defined as a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. This teacher intimidated her into thinking she had no power. She couldn't go, but she stood up for herself and fought because clearly this wasn't right.  This video relates to the GLSEN article because she is a different race and treated so unfairly for her sexual orientation. She loved her girlfriend, so she thought it was alright to be affectionate the way that any other person would be. She was picked on in the same way that the stats of GLSEN had stated. The author would have used her in the study that was taken.

    I'd like to talk in class about the different ways people can be bullied, not just by students but by faculty members and teachers. I'd like to talk about ways to avoid these problems and how to handle situations when you witness bullying.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Los Gringos

    The article that inspired this blog was called Aria by Richard Rodriguez

    A little background for those who are not in our FNED class and read this blog posting, a young man with Spanish roots talks about how challenging it was being in a Catholic school where his language wasn't accepted or "public". He explains how him (and the rest of his family including his parents) were asked by the nun-teachers to speak English in the home.


    1.) "Those gringo sounds they uttered startled me. Pushed me away. In that moment of trivial misunderstanding and profound insight, I felt my throat twisted by unsounded grief"

    Richard is hearing his parents speak English when he states this quote. It shows how he is being pushed away from everything he has grown up with, everything that he has learned and everything that he has come to know. Speaking his native language gives him comfort and piece of mind. Richard didn't ever want to speak the gringo language because it wasn't comfortable for him. Going home was his sanctuary, he looked forward to being home where his language was spoken. The nun's couldn't even call him by his REAL name of Ricardo--it had to be RICHARD. Who would ever enjoy going to school and being called someone else? I'd want to go home as quick as possible to hear my name properly. Now he comes home hearing the same language that he has to deal with everyday at school. I don't believe that Richard explains this in a negative way but he says this to show the changes in his life that were made to become more "public" in this society.

    2.) "One day in school I raised my hand to volunteer an answer. I spoke out in a loud voice. And I did not think it remarkable when the entire class understood. That day, I moved very far from the disadvantaged child I had been only days earlier. The belief, the calming assurance that I belonged in public, had at last taken hold."

    Richard had said this in the article to show the transition from being the secluded one to apart of the "public" culture dominant in his classroom. I like seeing that this was a calming assurance to him that he belonged in public. It took time for him to adjust and not be angry, and it was easier for him to adjust in a predominately white classroom but when he was supposed to go home it was much harder. Richard expresses his sadness with this quote:

    "My mother! My father! After English became my primary language, I no longer knew what words to use in addressing my parents. The old Spanish words (those tender accents of sound) I had used earlier-mama and papa--l couldn't use anymore. They would have been too painful reminders of how much had changed in my life."

    When he states this, I just felt so depressed thinking about how he basically has to change his heritage in order to commit to the Culture of Power in his classroom and in society. Delpit is correct in what she states about the culture of power being a code and can only be cracked if someone tells you about it. Richard didn't know how to succeed in his classroom or in this life because he didn't know English. Just that simple change of learning English, making that his primary language, he is starting to learn the code.

    3.) "But the bilingualists simplistically scorn the value and necessity of assimilation. They do not seem
    to realize that there are two ways a person is individualized. So they do not realize that while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by becoming assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality.

    Richard specifically puts this at the end of the article because I think he isn't upset with the fact that he had to learn a new language. He is sad that his heritage wasn't accepted but he also knows that without assimilation or conforming, he wouldn't have achieved his individuality. He says that other bilingualists might not agree with him and might indeed hate having to conform and learn the ways of the white people that are teaching them, but Richard says that it was important for him to make an individual change.

    I like to Google image words to see what picture will pop up. This picture below was the first one for ASSIMILATION which according to Webster means: to bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adapt or adjust:
    (Granted this is German Assimilation but It gives a basic idea of assimilation in America)

    In class, I'd like to talk about people opinions about how the nun's handled talking to the parents. Did you think it was too much for them to ask the parents to speak English all the time in their own home? I believe it was a little extreme to do so. They can keep their heritage and help their kids learn English all in one. You're not bilingual if you only speak one language. I just think that he was more Americanized than he and his family needed to be.

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound

    This weeks readings were "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh and "Amazing Grace" by Jonathan Kozol.


    I read Amazing Grace first and the first thing I thought about was my trip to the Dominican Republic. The first time I went was in 2006 and then again in 2010. I go with a church group on a mission trip and we split into multiple teams: Two Building teams, Medical team, Teaching Team, Food Team, Evangelism Team, and Water Filtration Building team. This article reminds me so much of this trip. In the article by Kozol, their sanctuary is at this church St. Ann's Church. All around there is violence, drugs, prostitution, and hardships, but at this church there is relief, freedom and redemption.

    At the D.R., my team was a building team and we worked at Elsa's church in a very poor community. The church was fenced in and once we were in we weren't allowed to leave because we were told it was very unsafe outside of the church area. People would come and once inside the gates found safety. It seemed as though a way to escape from the reality of their life around them.

    I believe St. Ann's church also serves the people in a way that nothing else can. It gives them hope. Living in such hard conditions, they have nothing else to rely on but their faith.
    (St. Ann's Church)

    It's also funny that in the book Amazing Grace, this little boy names Cliffie gives her a tour and wants to show him EVERYTHING that is around. Cliffie is so positive even during the most negative areas. In the Dominican, I had a little boy name Bertico that became my best friend and wanted to show me everything that there was where he lived. He was living in a little house probably as big as a decently size bathroom on the property of the church. He had to stay in the house all day while his mother went to work. Someone would unlock the house and let him out and he would then take me all around the property telling me stories and take pictures with me.

    The patch that's on his head is because kids threw a rock at his head. It's amazing to see the conditions that they live in yet they have so much hope and happiness as children. I think that's exactly how Cliffie felt. He saw things that might disturb others (like Cliffie saying he saw someone get shot in the head) yet it didn't affect him at all. That really struck me.

    With the second article, by Peggy McIntosh, I did a lot of thinking. I am very privileged as a white person, yet I don't usually realize it. I tried to find an image that properly explained how "whites" are perceived as being "better" and this is what I found:

    This to me seems accurate in that we might not always assume the worst of a White Person because they are viewed as the upper class, yet this white man is going to get away with being the "gunman" cause he's white! This article made me really think about how I'm really not concerned about not being able to get an education, find a job, live in a nice neighborhood because it's always just happened to me. Is it because I'm white, privileged, or blessed? This article wasn't as interesting as the Amazing Grace one was for me, I could relate to things that I have seen more but this article certainly made me think of how easy life may have been made more me all because of my skin color and where I was born and raised.

    In class, I'd like to discuss what can be done about Mott Haven. The things that are happening I feel like can be changed so easily. Who are we to blame? How can this be fixed? It's also amazing that there is such a place in America. If there is such a place there has go be more in America. How can this cycle of poverty and drug addiction be broken. 

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    A Little About Emily Q.T

    First off I'm not putting Q.T. as me being a "cutie" but my last name is Quinto Thomas. I just recently got married and Thomas is my new last name. I just moved to Rhode Island not too long ago from Southern Connecticut. I love it here and how you can drive across the state in about 30 minutes. This semester will be fun, although having transferred it's difficult to get into the swing of things while I'm still figuring out how RIC works exactly so anyone who wants to help me find places or answer questions that I have when needed that would be fantastic! When I am not in class, I am usually home, or with my husband. I'm super friendly, pretty much always happy or smiling, and can't wait to graduate and be a teacher! Looking forward to this semester and getting to know you all!