Archive for October, 2012

EDCI 506 Culture, Socialization, and Education Week #9

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Culture, Socialization, and Education

I know it will be a challenge having students from all different backgrounds, who have different beliefs and values associated with their respective cultures.  I personally like to think of it as an exciting challenge, because it is a way for me to gain more knowledge about different cultures and a way for me to expand my horizons in general.  When taking the perspective of the teacher in the example, having a lot of Asian Americans will make for challenges in teaching, however I think that I could accommodate by trying to meet every students needs by having a lot of group work and by having certain times designated for individual work.  As it was described in the example, Asian Americans are concerned with the value of the group; therefore, I am assuming they like to work together to accomplish goals outside of classroom.  If a teacher can transmit what students know outside of the classroom, into the classroom, learning will probably make a lot more sense.  Dewey says in his book Experience and Education (1938) that “the beginning of instruction shall be made with the experience learners already have” (p. 74).  If most of the students are Asian American, than they will already have knowledge about how to work together in a team, and will prefer that teaching and learning style.  I, as the teacher, would make sure that the students would have a lot of time to engage in group work, however, I would have to set aside times for individual work for assessments and evaluations.

This type of community feeling in the classroom would transmit to the relationships with parents and families.  If the children learned to think collectively as a culture from their parents, than their parents obviously have the same values, which will require me as the teacher to be very open when it comes to dealing with the families.  One way in which I can transmit their values of the whole society and relate it to the classroom is during parent teacher conferences; I could show them work that their child did individually, but also show them things that the whole class has done.  I would also hope to build a repertoire with my students’ parents by attending events in the community; this way I will get to show them that I am interested in learning about their culture and also want to have a positive relationship with them.

What are some cultural patterns that will influence your instruction?

 

Many different cultural patterns will influence my instruction.  For example, as previously mentioned, I would incorporate a lot of group work for students whose culture value the group and think collectively as compared to individually.  One aspect of cultural patterns that I will try and be aware of is through my own cultural lens.  I know that there is a lot of hidden curriculum in schools today, which can be very culturally biased.  Hidden curriculum is “what students learn, other than academic content, from what they do or are expected to do in school” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 317).  If I have a student who moves to the United States from a different place where eye contact is viewed as disrespectful, I do not want to punish a child for not looking at me in the eyes.  I would need to expand my cultural knowledge before telling a student to do something that goes completely against everything that they have every learned from their culture.

How will gender roles have an impact in your teaching and your students learning?

 

My hope is that gender roles will not impact my teaching or my students learning.  I know that in a lot of cases students are treated differently or are expected to perform in a certain way based on their gender, and I think that that is wrong.  People tend to believe that boys are better in math and science content areas, while girls are better in language arts (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  The textbook quotes, “Recent studies in the United States indicate that sex differences in academic achievement are relatively small to nonexistent” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 327).  In my classroom, I want to have high expectations for all of my students, despite gender.  I will, however, have to be aware of my personal biases when it comes to gender and consciously work at treating all students equally.

How will educational technologies help your instruction?

 

I think that educational technologies will help me a lot when it comes to instruction.  One piece of equipment that I hope to have in my classroom is a smart board.  If I am fortunate enough to have one, then I plan on making interactive games on them for my students to use as a way to expose my students to technology but also to engage my students in interactive learning.  The book mentioned using television programs as a way to related to students, and I think that could be a good idea for some lessons, but I also do not want to promote watching television.  The negative outcomes of watching television outweigh the positives when it comes to using television programs in school, in my opinion.  For example, the textbook mentions, “television, video games, and other media may encourage aggressive or violent behavior” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 323).  Through using television programs in the classroom, the teacher is essentially promoting those programs, which is why I do not think that I will incorporate television programs into my lessons.  I will however, get to know my students on a personal level, and one way to do that would be to discuss the TV shows they like to watch; these types of conversations will benefit interpersonal relationships.

 

The Chinese Proverb “Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand.”

After reading this proverb, answer this question. How will you become knowledgeable about your students differences? 

I will become more knowledgeable about my students differences through being an active community member and being involved so that I understand more about their cultural differences.  I will try and attend events in all areas of town, or at least seek out the areas that my students live in, in order to gain more knowledge about their home life and overall lifestyles.  So much of what a child knows comes from their home life, which can sometimes make it difficult for them when it comes to school.  Students who live in a single parent home are more likely to be in poverty and are more likely to have academic problems (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Some children are latchkey, meaning go to unsupervised homes after school, which can lead to poor choices and drug use (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  I want to know this type of information about my students so that I can better serve them, whether it be getting them into an after school program, or helping to connect families with resources.  The only way for me to really understand my students’ outside lives is to be exposed to them, and the only way to be exposed it to put myself in situations where I can observe and witness what is actually happening in their lives.

 

Here is a link to a website that has awareness activity ideas.  One of the activities that I really liked that reminded me of Freedom Writers is the icebreaker respect exercise.  It allows for students to discuss different ideas of what respect means, which is a way to promote a respectful classroom climate.

http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/activityarch.html

 

References

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone.

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

EDCI 506 Recent Issues in Education Week #7

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Supreme Court Case on Affirmative Action at Universities

One article that I read was published in the New York Times and is titled Race and College Admissions, Facing a New Test by Jusitces (Liptak, 2012).  This article is about a young woman named Abigail Fisher and her rejection to the University of Texas at Austin back in 2008.  Abigail claims that her rejection to the university was solely based on race; she was not admitted because the university wants to promote diversity (Liptak, 2012).  The University of Texas at Austin has a system set up called the Top Ten Program, where they automatically admit approximately the top 10% of students at every high school in the state.  Mrs. Fisher barely missed the cutoff (Liptak, 2012).  Mrs. Fisher, the plaintiff, is arguing that she lost out on a state benefit that was given for reasons other than merit, but instead on race and diversity grounds (Liptak, 2012).  The UT at Austin, the defendants, are arguing that the admissions office takes a holistic approach when examining the student and the school’s population in general, and that they should be allowed to “assemble a varied student body as part of its academic and societal mission” (Liptak, 2012).  The Supreme Court is going to hear the case on Wednesday October 9, 2012.

This case may be in violation of the 14th amendment as discussed in our textbook.  Within the 14th amendment, there are two different clauses, the due process clause and the equal protection clause; this case would fall under the equal protection clause (Levine, Ornstein, & Gutek, 2011).  The 14th amendment states, “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (14th Amendment).  I think this case may be in violation of the 14th amendment because it is not providing equal protection under state laws.  The Top Ten Program is a program allowed by the state law, which permits for automatic admission for the top 10%, but after that the university has a choice as to who they want to admit, which in their case is sometimes based on race.  The article did however mention a similar court case to which I am sure the Supreme Court will reference, and that case is called Grutter vs. Bollinger which was held in 2003 (Liptak, 2012).  In this case, the Supreme Court “rejected the use of racial quotas in admissions decisions but said that race could be used as one factor among many, as part of a “holistic review” (Liptak, 2012).  The Supreme Court may come to a similar conclusion as to the Grutter vs. Bollinger case, we will see.

Another article that I read responded to the first hearing of the Supreme Court Case previously mentioned.  This article was published in the Free Lance Star on Thursday October 11, 2012, was written by Michael Doyle, and is titled Supreme Court Takes on Affirmative-Action Case.  The article discusses how predictions are being made that this particular case will come down to a “single swing vote,” most likely from Justice Anthony Kennedy (Doyle, 2012).  He is the one Supreme Court Justice that “straddled positions on the issue and who raised questions for both sides” (Doyle, 2012).  The article also discussed the background of Fisher, the girl who was denied acceptance to the University of Texas at Ausin, and also reviewed the opinions of both the plaintiff and the defendants.  The article did however conclude by mentioning the 14th amendment.  The article commented on how under the 14th amendment states are to grant “the equal protection of the laws and to all people” (Doyle, 2012).  This reinforced my own ideas about what violations were occurring, and it also helped bring the textbook into consideration (Doyle, 2012; Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).

Here is another article about the NEA’s opinion on the case.  They are supporters of affirmative action and helped protest for the cause outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday.  Interesting article if you want more information from NEA’s perspective.

http://neatoday.org/2012/10/10/nea-urges-supreme-court-to-uphold-diversity-programs-in-college-admissions/

One last anecdotal comment related to this case.  In one of my other classes I was discussing this case with another student who attended UVA as an undergraduate.  He said that one of his best friends in college was African American and always had the opinion of himself that the only reason why he got into UVA was because of his race.  It saddened my heart to hear that and to think of the situation from that perspective.  I would be interested in hearing other opinions in response to that brief story.

Technology in the Schools

Another article that I read was published by NPR on October 3, 2012, and is titled Some Schools Actually Want their Students to Play with their Smartphones in Class (Evans-Brown, 2012).  This article focused on a middle school in Durham New Hampshire, where the students are allowed and encouraged to bring their own touch-screen devices in class (Evans-Brown, 2012).  One teacher, Mr. Montgomery, stated that kids these days learn on their smart devices because that is how they look up information, if they are denied access than they are not making use of their number one source of information (Evans-Brown, 2012).  There have been many concerns raised as to whether smart devices are a good addition to the classroom.  Some of the concerns include equity among students, distractibility of students, and inappropriate use of technology in the classroom.  The middle school in New Hampshire has additional touch-screen devices for students who do not have their own, and also their teachers provide engaging specific tasks so that the students are not abusing the privilege (Evans-Brown, 2012).  They claim it has worked for them and has increased technology usage in the classroom without the high costs of having to buy devices for every student (Evans-Brown, 2012).

This article relates really well with the technology legal aspects of the chapter.  Some professionals have been sued for issues involving technology.  For example, a substitute was “convicted of allowing students to view pornography despite her plea that their computer was infected with malware that caused recycling pop-ups she was unable to stop” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 280).  If students are allowed to use their own devices that schools cannot track or impose filtering software to ensure that students are not looking at inappropriate material, then how are they protecting themselves from a legal standpoint (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Another area of concern could be copyright laws; if teachers are allowing students to use and view copyrighted material, than the school could potentially get in trouble.  There are however, many benefits to using technology in the classroom, such as lowering the technology bill for the school and helping students develop skills in technology, skills that are necessary in the 21st century.  When letting students bring their own devices into the classroom, schools need to set up strict guidelines and procedures for when something goes wrong.  Schools also need to put practices in to play to protect themselves from getting sued.

Posted is the link to the article: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/10/03/162148883/some-schools-actually-want-students-to-play-with-their-smartphones-in-class

 

References

Doyle, M. (2012, October 11). Supreme court takes on affirmative-action case. The Free Lance Star, p. A3.

 

Evans-Brown, S. (2012, October 3). Some schools actually want students to play with their smartphones in class. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/10/03/162148883/some-schools-actually-want-students-to-play-with-their-smartphones-in-class

 

Liptak, A. (2012, October 8). Race and college admissions, facing a new test by justices. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/us/supreme-court-to-hear-case-on-affirmative-action.html?pagewanted=1&ref=education&_r=0

 

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

 

14th amendment. Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv

EDCI 506 Financing Public Education Week #6

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Financing Public Education 

Why is there so much concern over funding public schools in the United States today?

In my opinion, there is so much concern over funding for public schools in the U.S. today because there just simply is not enough money to sustain the type of public schools that everyone hopes to have.  Parents want their children to be able to go to the best schools where the best teachers work and where the best and most advanced technology is available for their children.  Teachers and administrators want to work in a place that provides them with decent wages, and enough money to engage in professional development.  Community members also want local schools to be performing high because they want the students in their community to turn out to be productive members of society.  Overall, everyone wants the best for public schools, but one of the only ways to get the best is to have more funding and that is why there is so much concern over the issue.

Where does the money come from?

The money that funds public schools comes from three different places: local, state, and federal revenues.  The local revenue makes up about “…44 percent of total school expenditures” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 237).  The local revenue is then comprised of funds from different areas including property tax (77% of local funding), user fees, and exclusive product rights.  Property tax is based on the market value and assessed value of a property; the tax rate is applied to the assessed value, which essentially is a percentage of the assessed value.  User fees are charges based on groups using certain facilities, and exclusive product rights is when a school agrees to only sell a certain brands products in exchange for funding (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  State revenues, which provides close to 47% of funding for public schools, are comprised of sales taxes, personal income taxes, and other state taxes.  Sales taxes are placed on certain goods, personal income taxes are based on a percentage of personal yearly income, and other state taxes can come from areas such as fuel tax, gift tax, and corporate income tax (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Federal revenues are administered to states in the forms of grants.  There are two types of grants, categorical and block.  Categorical grants are designated for a specific group of people, whereas, block grants are for general purposes without any specific group in mind (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  Every state however, has the choice to accept federal funds or not (10 Facts About K-12 Education Funding).

Why are there different funding configurations among states?

There are different funding configurations among states because the amount of funding each state has and the budget plan set up for each state is different.  Close to 90% of public school funding comes from the state and local revenues, and each state is different in those areas.  Some states do not even have a personal income tax, which makes up about 35% of state revenues.  According to our textbook, “nine states do not levy a state personal income tax” (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011, p. 241).  Other components that make funding configurations different among states are the local tax base and overall wealth of an area.  If a district has wealthy residents, shopping malls, and other commercial places to spend money at, than the school is more likely to have more funding.  If, however, a school is in a poor district where the residents are in poverty and do not have money to spend on extra things, than the school is going to have less funding (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  These factors are ones that no one has control over, which makes it so funding configurations among states and local districts are different.

What current trends are shaping educational finance?

One current trend shaping educational finance is the Race to the Top program.  According to the U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top is

A competitive grant program to encourage and reward States that are implementing significant reforms in the four education areas described in the ARRA:  enhancing standards and assessments, improving the collection and use of data, increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution, and turning around struggling schools. (Race to the Top Program, 2010)

Because of this program, many schools are trying to make improvements in the four areas listed in order to receive the race to the top federal grant, which is ultimately shaping educational finance.  Another trend that is shaping educational finance is the current economic situation.  We are in the biggest recession since the great depression, which means money is not flowing and is certainly not reaching the schools.

Create a plan for raising funds for education and distribute those funds equitably to all school districts within Virginia.

Virginia could host a Day for Education, in which every district across Virginia would be mandated to participate.  This would be fun day so people would want to participate.  The Day for Education would involve each district coming up with a local fund raising idea, whether all of the science classes have been growing plants and they are going to have an auction, or the students have put together a fashion show with slightly worn clothes and are planning on auctioning all of the clothes off, or maybe the school will host a carnival where all of the games and activities were created by students.  The fundraiser will be solely determined by each district, and will hopefully be created by the students themselves as a way to get their minds working and to help foster school spirit.  The goal of the day is to raise the most money out of all of the districts in Virginia, and the district that raises the most money will be recognized.  All of the money however will be placed into one “bowl” and then each district will be allocated a percentage of the money based on their student population (amount of students and specific needs of students).  This way every district benefits, and the students are still engaging in creative thinking.

 

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/09/17/sequester-would-hit-higher-education-programs-hard

Here is an article related to the sequestration budget cuts that have been of concern more recently.  According to this article higher education programs would be the ones most effected, meaning programs like the one we are all a part of.  These budget cuts are going to hit higher education programs drastically if the government does not decide a plan to fix our deficit problems.  I thought it was an interesting article because of its relevance to educational budgeting and because of its personal relevance to all of us.

References

10 facts about k-12 educational funding. (2007). Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/fed/10facts/index.html

 

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.).      Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

 

Race to the top program guidance and frequently asked questions. (2010). Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/faq.html


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