Sunday, March 27, 2011

Unequal? I Think So.

After watching the Time Wise videos, doing a little reading about the Brown vs. Board of Education case, and reading the article in the New York times it became very clear to me that education in schools is said to be equal, but it clearly is not. In the first Time Wise video he states that "we are nowhere near a post racial America." He says that "people are still being racist and discriminating against average, everyday folks of color whether it has to do with housing, education, criminal justice, employment, healthcare, or elsewhere." I completely agree with what he is saying. I especially agree with the education portion of this quote. It really is apparent that racism and discrimination still exists in education. The Brown vs. Board of Education case was supposed to stop this sort of thing from happening. It created schools to be separate, but equal. It appears to me that people of color often go to schools that are poor and most of the students are at or below the poverty level.

In the article by Bob Herbert he states, "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." White people often go to schools that are filled with students who are middle class or above and they have nice facilities while African Americans or Hispanics do not have nice facilities. They often get provided with outdated books and often not even enough books for every student. Does that seem equal to you? It also seems like it is separated by race and class. It almost seems as if the Brown vs. Board of education only changed things a small amount. Here is a chart showing the rates of poverty of different races.

I also noticed from my service learning that being in a Providence school compares to the schools that I have been to all my life. The Providence school's facilities are not as nice as the facilities of the schools that I have been to. Also, I noticed that the Providence schools is predominately African American and Hispanic and the schools that I have been in are predominately white. The school that I went to had a nice playground and we had enough books for all of the classmates. At my service learning school there is no playground, just an empty parking lot for the children to play in for recess. I think that the schools should definitely be more integrated. They should try to mix the students so that people who live in poverty can go to a school with better teachers and a nice facility. In the New York Times article Herbert says that " The best teachers tend to avoid such schools. " He is referring to schools in poverty. I think that this article shows why there might be a problem with the racism and discrimination in education in the first couple of paragraphs. I think that people born into a disadvantage deserve a better chance to succeed starting with education. It just isn't fair to them because they never even got a chance to do well in the first place. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In the Service of What??


In this article by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer, there were a few quotes that made me relate to my own service learning project. It made me think that I was doing my VIPS tutoring because I was providing a service to the students and not just because it gives me more experience being in a classroom or because it is required to get into the Education Program.

"Service learning makes students active participants in service projects that aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students."
-In this quote it is saying that the students who are participating in the service learning are helping others to better their academic goals, create a positive self-esteem, and to develop good thinking skills. In my own VIPS service learning I feel like I am one of those students who is helping others develop these academic goals. In my kindergarten classroom there are only two teachers. There is the teacher and the teacher's assistant and there are close to twenty students in the classroom. I feel that some of the students learn better by being one on one with the teacher. The teacher cannot have a one on one with every single student so I feel like while I am in the classroom I am helping students learn when on any other day they would not be getting any one on one attention. I feel like I am helping more students in the classroom academically by giving them one on one sessions when the teacher is busy.

"...students will have opportunities to experience what David Hornbeck, former Maryland state superintendent. referred to as "the joy of reaching out to others."
-What David Hornbeck is talking about in this quote is how you feel so much joy after helping somebody during a service learning event. It feels good to help others in some way or another. There is a story in the article about how a student and their stepmother helped serve senior citizens their Thanksgiving day meal. The student talked about how it felt good to make the seniors feel good during the holidays because some of them don't have much family in the area and they are often lonely. The student kept them company and made them feel good. I can relate to this because I volunteered at a soup kitchen once last year and I felt a sense of joy after serving the homeless their Thanksgiving meal. Many of them were so grateful towards me because I took time out of my day to do a volunteer job to help serve them.

"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."
-The sense of "otherness" that the author is talking about is how people think of others before they actually experience being with others. A person may often have a biased opinion of a certain neighborhood or of a certain race. Let's be honest, I felt like I had a sense of "otherness" before I started my VIPS service learning. I was under the assumption that all of the children who went to Providence schools were going to speak Spanish and that all of them would be Hispanic or African American. Now, once I have been through my own experiences and I have witnessed with my own eyes how Providence schools are really like. The classroom that I am in for service learning is nothing like what I thought it was going to be like. The races in the classroom are completely mixed and everybody in the classroom speaks English.

I also feel like these quotes represent service learning very well and also how I feel about service learning.

How has the service learning changed your view about Providence schools if it has at all? How do you think you are helping and contributing when you go to your service learning?

Monday, March 7, 2011

The "Our America" Show

Hey everyone. I just wanted to let you know that the show Our American will be on the Oprah Winfrey Network tomorrow at 10pm. Professor Bogad told us about the show in class and also showed us a short clip of one of the episodes. I won't be able to watch it because I have to work :( but if anybody wants to watch it, here is the info!