Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Great Educator

Social influences are in fact the great educators of our current generation of students who imitate everything they see on television; from their style of dress to the way they behave one must realize that that school is indeed only a secondary agency that is desperately fighting to keep the children of America abreast with the rest of the world.  The educational problems and possibilities that are presented to teachers by cultural contexts such as media, family, and neighborhoods is basically influence. With more and more parents working longer hours, some taking a back seat to their children’s education in favor of settling their financial situations, most children are not reinforced about the importance of education. It is also generational, some of the parents today are young parents who may have not finished their education and may have valid reasons to not trust the educational system in America, so what happens is that these parents instruct their children on how to not trust the system as well and the cycle of not wanting to learn is then established. With a child’s neighborhood, it can be difficult; depending on the area to get some children out of a life of negativity if that is all they have seen growing up. It is easy for a person in a better standing to give advice and tell children in a  not so good situation that it is ok to want to learn and move up, but if they hear from people in their own environment that it is not then they will tend to listen to the people they can best relate to  rather than someone considered and outsider. With the media, the real war is getting them to help with the problems of education rather than trying to make money off of the young masses, it has become so economically driven that the media will show more advertisements and ridiculous shows telling you had to think and act, that the children of America do not stand a chance of making proper choices if all they have to go on is the media. Media could have so much more purpose in getting out more educational shows and showing children that it is ok to want to learn and be smart. We see on the kids shows that try to say they are kid friendly how they make fun of the smart kid while showing the student who is considered not as smart getting all of the perks of having a lacking education.
A difference that teachers can and should make for their learners if schools are deemed secondary to the wider society in regards to influence is to become a better voice, teachers too have somewhat throw in the towel when trying to deal with a more challenging individual in their class due to lack of support and funding to get the services that child may need.  I do not want to sound like I am against teachers, they do a fine job of helping the majority of children succeed as best they can in the world they currently live and function in, but there needs to be a bigger voice from this group of people and the voice should not go through a type of retaliation from their district if they say something that may not align with that districts steps in helping children. And we cannot blame just poor neighborhoods for the problem, most affluent and middle class neighborhoods are to blame for the fact that they want to exclude the poor students from receiving a good education as well, we need to find solutions together because this is an all-around problem not isolation to some parts of the country.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blog 4: Hidden curriculum and the role of schools in cultural hegemony

Before one delves into the relationship between the meaning of hidden curriculum and the role of schools in cultural hegemony, one must understand what they mean first. For defining cultural hegemony, it simply states that a certain class of people believing the theory that a society that is considered diverse can be ruled by a dominating social class who is not above using tricks and maneuvers the achieve the level of rule they want for their type of inner circle.  When defining hidden curriculum, it basically is the teaching of lessons that are not out in the open but more implied and learned from perceptions and actions not forwardly outlined. Now in understanding what each of these statements mean the relationship between the two can be seen by anyone. Basically a certain group may feel superior or above others and without trying to come out and saying it, they instead imply and make hidden or secret steps in the direction of advancing their own class of people. Cultural hegemony does cause surprising effects on the inter-workings and what happens in public school classrooms. Some teachers are even performing this act without even knowing it sometimes. From having advanced courses to remedial courses, teachers are putting out the perception that smarter kids get better course  and chances to achieve while the kids label challenged get the minimal when it comes to education. This may not have been the intention, but on some level this is the case. You even get the sense from the teachers who only want to have advance classes over remedial that teaching a certain class of student can place you in a certain social class as well.
Understanding the concepts like cultural pluralism and assimilation can help to impact how we think about education and marginalized groups within it in contemporary society, by simply allowing these types of groups need to exist in order to help build acceptance of unique cultural identities that can in fact assimilate into our already large blended culture without being an elitist culture. In regards to applying this reasoning to education, you want to have a diverse background in your education, keeping instruction on the thinking of just having an unsaid way of handling choosing what students learn or which people learn what is not the true definition of a unified nation.  I can see from debates about education for its own sake versus education for a particular role in society being played out on the political trail and in other sectors. While some will agree the need to somehow govern the who and the way education is being carried out in today’s educational environment, others will debate that it should be for all and made equitable. We can see how some political figures do not want illegal immigrants to have basic education, while some are fighting to have this as a reality. In all honesty there should not even be a concern with having everyone receive education and get the most benefits , it should not be a selective group of individuals who have hidden agendas with education and learning, that is so ridiculous on so many levels, but yet in still we are having discussions on why such occurrences are happening and why the general population seems to either want to ignore the matter or simply leave the system the way it is for fear of making too many waves and cause some type of  upheaval.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

School Reform

When one thinks of school reform, the vision and interpretation always has a varied view from all parties, whether they are vested and involved or not. In my opinion the true voices that should be considered in the process of school reform should be that of the stakeholders that are always involved in the process such as students, parents, school administrators, teachers, community members, and local school board members. I think they have the greatest impact on school reform simply because they are involved in it the most and know what actually needs to change or what need s to be better in this area. We all know that the systems is flawed and needs constant revision, but what I cannot understand is how, as an advance society instilled with common sense, how do we not noticed the need to have certain groups focused on what would be the best course of action instead of choosing certain consultants who can only give their point of view as oppose to knowing what actually needs to be done. I can see that the voices of those of state- and/or federal-level politicians would not make a better decision over people who deal with school reform on a more regular basis and have the necessary time to actually deal with the issue, it is always alright to say they can help or add input but to throw or have them thrust their selves on the issues of school reform would not help anyone involved succeed or make it better to say the least. 
The moral, philosophical, and social ramifications of the power that is behind people who deal with school reform is tremendous, this issue does carry a substantial amount of weight and can also jump start or end careers of people who want to use this issue as a device for their own gain. Even though this issue carries power it still has to be heard from a particular party of interest group to carry weight so the lack power each of the voices actually involved, from a stakeholders  point of view, can be frustrating.  When looking at the Documentary about the Davis School, the voices that are present at the David School are the ones of teacher and students, and some of the community, but this to me seemed accomplished only because of the documentary that was being made and the emphasis was placed on these stakeholders who may not have otherwise had any sort of say to begin within the small community from which they reside in. I am a realistic person; first and foremost, we have to understand that no campus let alone a school district want to look like they are not making a conscious effort to make school reform, but I can’t understand why every school district has to make themselves look good in a positive light when results always come back negative at times, it would be refreshing that a school district would admit it needs help and it is not functioning to the best of its capacity or that they know they could do better, being politically correct at times can only add to the academic decay we now face as a nation.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gender Equity

       As a male I can only say that I have not felt the full blown experience of gender bias on a negative level, even though I know it exists in our culture. I can remember hearing from other perspectives about how genders are “built” for certain roles and that it must be accepted in order to have a balance that all can live with. The truth of the matter people are “made” to handle certain instances, for example child birth from the side of a woman, and heavy physical labor from the side of a male, but this does not serve as a basis for having the views of which gender should be considered more superior over another. I think the problem of gender bias is not overblown, in fact I think it has been one of those known but placed into a category of being easily to deal with or just mainstream and this makes it to where   people just tolerate this kind of behavior to a point. I believe because of old school thinking, if one were to complain about the situation or if they have observed some form of gender bias then their own career in turn would either halt or become nonexistent with time, so many people either learn to deal with it or find a reasonable solution to make the work environment tolerable. Many people hate to bring up that there may be some form of gender bias within their company because it is an ugly truth they do not want to face or it might show that their leadership and delegating abilities are coming into question in a negative light.  
        There is some merit to the argument that boys lose out as much as girls do, just in different ways in schools today, simply because for fear of interacting the wrong way with the genders by  their teacher.  With so many threats of lawsuits and pending litigation that are really against your school districts in favor of parents and students, many instructors are trying so hard to make everything politically correct that no one can really know for sure what is deemed appropriate to teach the genders. We have to understand that we all have a certain purpose but this does not mean that the genders should keep stereotypical views that misguide decision making processes and make the environment hard to deal with for others.  In my own school district or If I have the privilege to run my own campus, I would approach the issue of gender with an informed point of view driven by facts and research. I would make sure that my campus has implemented the proper procedures and guidelines to ensure that we are compliant and doing what needs to be done in order  to have a smooth flowing campus environment.
       The issue of gender bias or the lack thereof is illustrated at the David School, from the Country Boys video, in my opinion by how the male students seems to show a lack of respect to their female teachers, One of the students replied earlier on in the video that he felt that his female teacher gave the impression that she was better than people in that area because of her college degree. This part stayed with me from the video simply because weren’t all the teachers that were employed at Davis school required to have degrees? So why was the mention of a degree by this female teacher a problem and why did the student feel he did not need to talk or listen to her? Just by the student’s demeanor and conversation with this teacher I assumed, from my observation that he was not inclined to take orders from a woman that he perceived had too much power or authority over a predominately male run mining town. A the issue I had with this was that in our smaller areas in America we have to take measure to help facilitate some type of change or we will miss pocket of individuals who will carry with them the same jaded views of how genders should be.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rita

If Rita was the principal of David School I could see somewhat of change happening at this but not an overall drastic one. Rita is a proponent for change but since the Davis School has already gone through the process of offering social justice to their students on a regular basis then she would only add or perhaps enhance the overall goals of the schools programs already in play. Rita would make an excellent addition to the Davis school simply because of her commitment to having students receiving an equitable education. It seems that for Davis schools Rita would indeed be a better fit for the administration that is already there, if like minded individuals get other people who on the same page, for positive and effective change pertaining to their students then there is no limit to the potential a school could reach and no goals that could not be mastered by the school if given the challenge. Basically in my understanding, schools need leaders on caliber of Rita or they are not going to have schools that function within the set of parameters we need for are diverse society and blended cultures. I can not understand why individuals in positions of authority do not see the need to change some of their negative perspections when dealing certain populations or groups, if within yourself you can not find a more open minded strategy instead of disregarding individuals you may not understand or find favorable to your overall vision of how society should be, then shaping young minds and trying to instruct them in the proper ways of living may not be the best option for a person with such reasoning to take. In my short existence I have seen people like Rita whom I have come to respect and seek for counsel or leadership advice because their struggle for change and equitable standards has been a lonely,at times and truly hard fought fight that I myself want the understanding and capable knowledge of how to go about doing myself. Whether society of certain individuals want to believe it or not you need people like Rita to function in schools like Davis in order to produce people that have been given a second change and want to make a diffence in the communities in which they live. I say all of this to say that Rita would make an excellent addition to Davis school but people like her for schools of this nature should already be commonplace and not sought after they don't exist or are some type of anomaly. We live in a world were fake smiles and unrealistic expectations on some things and issues seems to be the way to carry on. We at times try to justify how we treat others who don't fit into the grand scheme of some designs, which we have to face the hard , cold reality, we are all mot made the same and we do molt all think the same but we still to have a fair and level playing field were all people, who wish to contribute, can be given a fair chance to show that they can, and if they make a mistake or can not handle the responsibility then we can honestly say they were given all the tools and strategies from places like Davis school and from people like Rita to establish themselves the correct way in our country. I am firm believer and proponent for the social justice change that needs to happen and it needs to happen on a larger scale but if we continue to carry on with the same old thinking that we feel is traditional then new models of change will never be allowed to blossom with the dynamics of diversity,progression,and unity. Rita and the Davis school should serve as an outline for how we want administrators or alternative schools to practice when reaching what is considered the "unreachable population"