Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Talking Point #9 - Orenstein

  • young women
  • self esteem
  • confidence
  • hidden curriculum
  • sexual harrasment
  • sexism
  • women studies
  • change
  • gender-fair
  • classroom


Peggy Orenstein argues that girls are victims of sexual harrasment as a hidden curriculum in schools across the country everyday. She believes it is both genders responsibility to take action to enable girls to feel more comfortable in their schools.


"I feel safer if i wear big clothes... I buy clothes three sizes too big. It's the fashion, but it makes me feel better. My mom says i look like a freak, and i say, 'Mom, dude it's because I don't want people commenting on my body. I have to dress like this.' As a girl, you can't be accepted unless you wear big clothes. Then it's like, 'Oh, a girl,' not like, 'Oh, a body.'"

"We have to be careful not to assume that all boys engage in this behavior. And we have to be careful that boys feel that they can take an active part in changing this kind of behavior, in changing the behavior of others. Because it's not just a female job to change it, but a male job as well."

"The hidden curriculum is all the things teachers don't say, but that you learn in class anyway. Sometimes, the hidden curriculum is what you learn the most. Sexual harrassment is part of the hidden curriculum for girls, and for boys, too, because they learn whether it has anything to do with them or not."


I thought this article to be very interesting and an important read. I really admire how Ms. Logan conducts her classes, and is able to bring up issues that are seldom talked about in the classroom, such as sexual harrasment.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Talking Point #10 - Johnson


  • privilege
  • power
  • difference
  • oppression
  • solution
  • difference
  • systemic problem
  • responsibility


Allan Johnson argues that while there will be no end to oppression anytime soon, and likely not even in our lifetime, every positive little thing each individual does contributes to the solution, and most importantly we have to acknowledge the issue, and "say the words."


"Their silence and invisibility allows privilege and oppression to continue. Removing what silences them and stands in their way can tap an enormous potential of energy for change."

"The greatest barrier to change is that dominant groups, as we've discussed, dont see the trouble as their trouble, which means they don't feel obliged to do something about it."

"...denying and minimizing the trouble, blaming the victim, calling the trouble something else, assuming everyon prefers things the way they are, mistaking intentions with consequences, attributing the trouble to others and no their own participation in social systems that produce it, and balancing the trouble with troubles of their own. The more aware people can be of how all of this limits their effectiveness, the more they can contribute to change both in themselves and in the systems where they work and live."


I really enjoyed this article, and agreed with much of Johnson's theories. It was extremely engaging, as well as inspiring. While I understand there is no immediate solution to oppression, Johnson has made me confident that if we say the word, and take action as individuals, change will come.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Talking Point #8 - Wise

  • affirmative action
  • racial preferences
  • struggle
  • equal opportunity
  • blacks
  • whites
  • students


Wise argues that whites are ignorant to racial preference in our society and very specifically in work field and schools, and "all talk of ending afirmative action is not only premature but a slap in the face to those who have fought, and died, for equal opportunity."


"A full time black male worker in 2003 makes less in real dollar terms than similar white men were earning in 1967."

"We ignore the fact tat at amost every turn, our hard work has been met with access to an opportunity structure denied to millions of others. Privilege, to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we cannot imagine like without it."

"Because of intense racial isolation (and Michigan's schools are the most segregated in America for blacks, according o research by the Harvard Civil Rights Project), students of color will rarely attend the "best" schools, and on average, schools serving mostly black and Latino students offer only a third as many AP honors courses as schools serving mostly whites."


I thought this was a very thoughtful aricle on racial preference. Wise very clearly shares her views on racial preference, and uses a lot of passion in doing so. It was a quick, short, interesting, and factual read, and I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Talking Point #7 - Charles Lawrence

  • race
  • segregation
  • schools
  • "black children"
  • justice
  • education
  • inferiority
  • Supreme Court
  • laws
  • hate
  • misunderstanding


Charles Lawrence argues that "the Brown descision fostered a way of thinking about segregation that has allowed both the judiciary and society at large to deny the reality of race in America, that the recognition of that reality is critical to the framing of any meaningful remedy - judicial or political - and that Brown may ultimately be labeled a success only insofar as we are able to make stand for what it should have stood for in 1954." In short, Lawrence argues that while Brown v. Board of Education was a step in the right direction, it was merely a bandaid on a broken leg.


"They are kept separate because the seperation labels or claddifies blacks as inferior beings. Segregation violates the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment not because there is no rational relationship between the classification and the purpose- it is a supremely rational system - but because its purpose is illegitimate."

"Segregation is self perpetuating: once established it will not disappear of its own accord, and its elimination requires affirmative action by the state."

"Once blacks are labeled as inferior, they are denied access to equal societal opportunities. The resulting inadequate educational preparation, poverty of cultural backgrounds, and lack of experience constitute real limitations on their ability to contribute to society, and the prophecy of their inferiority is fulfilled."


I thought "One More River to Cross" was one of the more difficult and tiresome readings. The main reason for this was because there were so many "lawyer" terms and words of that nature that most readers aren't familiar with. I also felt like the points and issues he brought up were constantly repeated throughout the text. While it wasn't one of my favorite readings, it was interesting to sort of re-learn about a very important event in our nation's history.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Talking Point #6- Jeannie Oakes

  • tracking
  • consequences
  • "less able"
  • strategies
  • high ability
  • low ability
  • classroom
  • curriculum
  • cognitive abilities
  • learning
  • student education
  • learning strategies
  • group work


Oakes argues that "students who are placed in high ability groups have access to far richer schooling experiences than other students." Because tracking does in large part seclude students, stereotype them as less able, schools need to find an alternative to tracking.


" professionals and parents oppose tracking because the believe it locks most students into classes where they have fewer opportunities to learn. Many express particular concern about tracking's effects on poor and minority students, who are placed in low-ability groups more often than other students and are less likely to be found in programs for gifted students or in college preparatory tracks."

"tracking leads to substantial differences in the day-to-day learning experiences students have at school... students who are placed in high-ability groups have access to far richer schooling experiences than other students. This finding helps explain why it is that tracking sometimes seems to "work" for high-ability students and not for others."

"In low ability classes, for example, teachers seem to be less encouraging and more punitive, placing more emphasis on discipline and behavior and less on academic learning."


Besides maybe Kozul, I found this reading most enjoyable. Although it was one of the shorter readings, I feel it was filled with as much, if not more, useful information as any of the readings. Tracking is a very common and important issue that teachers and students deal with everyday. Throughout my education, and even as young as Kindegarten, I can remember students being secluded from the class to get "extra help". I found this reading very interesting because it taught me about tracking consequences and the uneven opportunities that are related to tracking. It also taught me about tracking alternatives and how important a curriculum rich with meaning is. "When curriculum is organized around the central themes of a subject area rather than around disconnected topics and skills, all students stand the greatest chance of enhancing their intellectual development." This reading truly impressed and engaged me, while teaching me a ton of useful information.

Talking Point #5 - Kahne & Westheimer

  • stereotypes
  • homelessness
  • community service
  • learning experience
  • charity
  • change
  • service learning
  • community
  • relationships
  • politics
  • moral
  • altruism


Kahne and Westheimer argue that "learning and service reinforce each other and should come together in America's schools, yet there is a difference between charity and change in relation to service learning.


"In the moral domain, service learning activities tend toward two types of relationships. Relationships that emphasize charity we will call "giving." Those that aim primarily to deepen relationships and to forge new connections we will call "caring." In caring relationships, Nel Noddings asserts, we try to consider the life and disposition of those for whom we are caring."

" a fundamental critique of those market the importance of service learning by referencing both the motivation and joy that come from giving and the importance of altruism."

"Citizenship in a democratic community requires more that kindness and decency; it requires engagement in complex social and institutional endeavors."


I thought this piece was a slightly tedious read but rather interesting. I had never thought about the difference between charity and change in service learning, and found the difference between Mr. Johnson's project and Ms. Adams project to be very interesting.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Talking Points # 4 - Linda Christensen

  • stereotypes
  • racism
  • sexism
  • literacy
  • society
  • individuality
  • cartoons
  • media
  • influence


Christensen argues that the media, most specifically in cartoons, movies and books influences how children act and think in a negative manner, and therefore, we need to become more critical about what is portrayed in the media.


"Children's cartoons, movies, and literature are perhaps the most influential genre "read." Young people, unprotected by any intellectual armor, hear or watch these stories again and again... the stereotypes and worldview embedded in the stories become accepted knowledge."

"Although these stories are supposed to meerely entertain us, they constantly give us a secret education. We are not only taught certain styles of violence, the latest fashions, and sex roles by TV, movies, magazines, and comic strips; we are also taught how to succeed, how to love, how to buy, how to conquer, how to forget the past and surpress the future. We are tauht, more than anythin else, how not to rebel."


I thought this piece was extremely interesting and a very engaging and enjoyable read. It was interesting to read about the "secret education" in cartoons because I had never thought of this and it brings a new light and different understanding to the fairytales we all loved as children.