Sunday, November 29, 2015

Empowering Education by Ira Shor

I had a difficult time reading this. I wasn't really grasping the entire concept but I now have a better understanding thanks to MaryAbby's blog. She did an amazing job of taking Shor's main arguments and making them more understandable. MaryAbby brought up the fact that education is politics. This has to do with funding, school structures and the defense of the school system itself.


The breakdown of funds to schools goes by the community as well as scores on mandatory testing. The communities with more profitable careers will have more tax dollars spent on their schools compared to communities who are less fortunate causing less money to go to the schools. This disparity in funds creates a gap in the education the students are receiving which causes the upper class students to receive a better education than the lower class because of the amount of money spent on their education. With this, test score differ and instead of helping the underperforming schools, they punish them by not giving them as much money. So they are forced to stay in the underperforming levels because they are not receiving the funds they need to improve.


 This has to do with funding as well since the lower class who do not have the money to dedicate to their schools often suffer and are faced with older facilities that are not suitable for a proper education of the students. This can cause health and safety issues and can distract students from learning. This particularly stands out to me from the American Life episode that talked about dead pigeons falling from the ceilings in classrooms. It took an action like that to be publicized before something would be done to fix the structural damage of the building.


When tax cuts need to be made in communities, it often goes to school budgets. The defense of the school system needs to be a higher priority. We are educating the future citizens of our country and yet that doesn't seem to be enough to make cuts from something else. The fact that educators no longer need to focus on the proper education of their students and need to focus more on advocating for what they are teaching and the supplies they need to do it is unsettling.

The world is all about politics. It's all about who you know and your economic status that can influence how far you get in life. This is the same with schools. The better the community, the more political influence they have, the better their schools and education will be. It all goes back to one of the overall lessons from this semester: PRIVILEDGE.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome by Kliewer (Reflection)

I am at Rhode Island College to become a Physical Educator. With this comes the responsibility and the privilege of working with children with disabilities such as Down Syndrome. This reading really hit home with me because my classes so far have taught me to educate to the learning abilities of each individual student. This can be very difficult because I will see numerous students a year and only for a short period of time. While trying to improve the physical ability, fitness and knowledge of each student, I need to create a learning environment suitable for everyone at the same time because there will be a mix of different abilities in one class.

We often see videos on Youtube or Facebook that show kids with disabilities being put in a sports game when their team has a huge lead to give them a chance to play. If they have the skills to play, why does it have to be when the team is ahead? When there is no risk of losing or winning if the game is a blowout by the opposing team?

Though these videos are heartwarming and the students are accepted by their peers on and off the field, they are not given the same opportunities as everyone else. These young men were not put on the field or court for a game time decision or as a substitute for an injured player. They got their time because their teams were A LOT!

They are put into classes "designed" for their learning abilities which is great, but it takes them away from the rest of the school population. Kliewer talks about this segregation and how these students are not incorporated into other classrooms with other students throughout their school career. They are denied these privileges of meeting and learning from their nondisabled students and feeling a part of the school community. Students with disabilities can learn a great deal from those without but I believe those without disabilities can learn much more from those who do. This is why I truly believe integrated Physical Education classes, as well as all classes, can benefit all students. To give them opportunities to succeed in society just like everyone else. Hopefully videos like the one below will become normal....

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Literacy with an Attitude by Patrick Finn (Connection)

After reading Finn, it reminds me a lot of Delpit, Johnson and Kozol. Finn himself mentions Kozol in this reading. However, Finn's writing style is similar to Kozol. Finn uses personal experience and tells a story to get his point across. I liked hearing his personal experience and helped me understand his main idea a little easier.

"The status quo is the status quo because people who have the power to make changes are comfortable with the way things are." (Finn XI).

This quote could be straight from Johnson. Johnson talks about privilege and how those with privilege often don't realize they have it while those without it do realize it. Finn talks about the rich children getting empowering education which leads to positions of power and authority compared to the rest of the children who get a domesticated education which allows them to be productive but not be troublesome. The rich don't want change because they have everything going for them and don't want to risk properly educating the  lower classes because it may impact their status.

*This video describes how much of an impact the middle class could have if  they were to use their power of numbers to "rise up" and make a change. Something the wealthy are scared of*

"I didn't say to an errant student, 'What are you doing?' I said,  'Stop that and get to work.' No discussions. No openings for argument." (Finn 4).

Delpit would have been proud. Finn understood these students needed explicit directions in the lower level literacy classes. Since they are doing so poorly in literacy, they may not be able to understand the true meaning of a question such as "What are you doing?". A teacher really means why are you not doing what I asked you to do while all the students hear is what are you doing? These explicit instructions allowed the students to understand exactly what is expected of them and gives them the tools of success.

I enjoyed reading this. I like his experience as a teacher and the methods he used to make his students successful. He understood their needs and created an environment suitable for them. It gave them a sense of accomplishment by receiving their graded work the next class and completing assignments that were fit for their learning abilities. I hope I can be like this as a teacher.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Connections to Authors


  • One of the most surprising things I found when I first started was that every classroom has a smartboard and almost every student has a laptop. Technology is one of the most powerful tools in today's society. It has become a resume booster for what types of technology a person can use. With this and the school including smartboards and laptops, I believe they are teaching the students the rules and codes of power because understanding how to use technology at a young age will help them in the future.


  • One of my students opened up to me and said that graduating isn't important. This either goes against the school not making graduating an important topic or her home life where no one graduated or they do not show an importance in doing so. I also feel this could connect to Delpit as well because no one is teaching her the rules and codes of power. Graduating would increase her chances of getting a better job and even increase the possibility of attending college which would allow her to go farther in life but no one is specifically telling her this either at home or at school.

Kahne & Westheimer

  • For the past 6 weeks I have felt my time at Harry Kizirian has been charity rather than change. I work with the same group of students in my fourth grade class and work with all of the students in my fifth grade class. In both classes, the students read aloud in popcorn style. I felt like I wasn't really doing anything to help them. Yesterday, one of my students needed an intervention on a couple of things and I was able to work with her one on one and I could see how she began to understand it and connect things. It made me feel important because I was able to actually help her understand and I felt like I was making a change rather than just going for charity.