Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"Literacy with an Attitude"

"Literacy With an Attitude"
Patrick J. Finn

     In "Literacy with an Attitude" Patrick Finn breaks down how the school system is divided into social and economic classes and how the learning experience reflects the emphasis on what is truly important in society.
    Kozol had a very similar point of view in his article, he provided stories that gave examples of how the system has been letting the people of our country down for centuries. He talked about the government as a system keeping people in their social class. Kozols piece relates to Finns in the sense that the citizens really don't have much say as to where they are placed. The way that the local schools are divided is by zip codes and the zip codes are what keeps the poor in the ugly places with the poorly performing schools and the lowest taxes. The lowered taxes make it easier for landlords to buy multiple houses and turn them into multifamily homes and pay minimal taxes on their properties. In turn, the land lords are luring in low income families to these areas. By drawing in these people who cannot afford to own land the town is not collecting property taxes off the renters therefor there is less money to put into the school system.
    The zip codes also keep the rich people that make donations to the schools and pay higher tax rates. These areas typically have lower populations and a lot less multi family homes, therefor the town is collecting more tax money off the home owners and there are less people living below the poverty line.
Top 10 Schools in RI 2015                Top 10 Wealthiest Cities in RI               
1. Barrington HS *                               1. Jamestown
2. Classical HS                                     2. East Greenwich
3. South Kingstown HS                        3. Barrington
4. Portsmouth HS *                              4. Exeter
5. North Kingstown HS *                     5. Cumberland
6. East Greenwich HS  *                      6. Narragansett
7. Lincoln HS *                                    7. Portsmouth
Barrington High School
8. Cumberland HS  *                            8. North Kingstown
9. Narragansett HS *                            9. Scituate
10. Chariho HS                                  10. Lincoln

*Occurs in both lists

 This chart is not the only indicator of what happens when school are located in areas of wealth. The same point is proven in the schools that are located in less wealthy areas. The bottom three school systems are located in the three poorest areas in Rhode Island. (Central Falls, Woonsocket, and Providence) Providence is hurting primarily because they have the largest population, they also have the most private schools which deflates the high school rankings. The majority of people in Providence thatch afford to send their child to a school like Wheeler or Lasalle will do so in order to avoid sending them to a public school.
    I grew up in two different areas of Rhode Island, i attended k-7 in Warwick and 8-12 in Cumberland. The experience at the two schools differed immensely. The funding at the two schools were also entirely different. In Warwick there was a lot more violence, there were fights in school almost every day. We also had a run down elementary school and a middle school that actually was built to house the military in the event of a nuclear attack (Gorton Junior High) Gorton is one of the oldest schools in Rhode Island and is still totally out of date. When I moved to Cumberland I attended a middle school that was somewhat new, and a high school that was about to undergo a multimillion dollar renovation. In Warwick there were cages on the windows and in Cumberland we had court yards at both schools with great lunches and brand new Mac desktop computers.
   The truth is that had my parents never moved us out of Warwick who knows where I would be now. I probably wouldn't be in college because about 75% of the people I went to Warwick with never even went to college never mind finishing it. In Cumberland it was the expectation that you were going to attend college or the military. That was the norm and I think that the town in which I lived in made the difference. Warwick was strictly a working class system while Cumberland was middle class/ college prep.
St. Georges Academy, Newport, RI

Woonsocket High School Woonsocket, RI


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha

  My Delpit experience came a couple of weeks ago when Alan Shaun Feinstein Elementary School had a substitute principle. There also happened to be a substitute teacher in my class as well. The class was disrupted by the principle when he barged into class with a student who had been in trouble from an event before school. He came into the fifth grade classroom and proceeded to yell at the entire class as if they had all done something wrong. He then asked a confusing question. He asked the class "are any of you in kindergarten or first grade?" One of the girls in the corner of the class reluctantly raised her hand, she looked as if she may not have understood the question. He threw her out of class immediately. Delpit would have said that student didn't have to get in trouble, had the principle simply made a statement instead of asking a passive question the students would have clearly understood what he expected.

   Collier stated that we should honor the heritage of our students. My class room is 100% black or hispanic. When I walked into the classroom the bookshelves grabbed my interest immediately. The standard books are present, like the story of George Washington and Eleanor Roosevelt, but the rest of the books are about Harriet Tubman, Barrack Obama, and other black or hispanic historical figures. Mr. Shelton also makes a point of using black and hispanic names in his math problems which makes the students feel more normal and less like a minority.

  Mcintosh discusses how whiteness is an unrecognized privilege. In the inner city schools such as Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary School white privilege is obvious. I am currently volunteering in a class that doesn't have a single white child in it. However the teacher is a white male, the principle is a white female, the police officer in front of the school is a white male. Any individual of power in the school is white. I have not met most of the staff in the school but from what I've seen all but one of the teachers are white. However the office staff, crossing guards and the cafeteria staff all mostly hispanic. Clearly the school system doesn't think that the minority students would learn more from a minority teacher, or even just a Spanish or Portuguese speaking teacher.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Problem we All Live With

The Problem We All Live With

American Life


Normandy High School, Normandy, Missouri

Nikole Hannah- "If you're surrounded by a bunch of kids who are all behind, you stay behind. But if you're in a classroom that has some kids behind and some kids advance, the kids who are behind tend to catch up. These kids in these classes in schools with concentrated poverty don't have that."

Nikole Hannah couldn't have possibly explained this problem better. Kozol talked about how the system keeps poverty in its place. He explained that the placement of lower class citizens into areas with poorly funded school and hospitals essentially makes it nearly impossible to succeed. In schools children are influenced by their peers, if they see their friends dropping out of school or doing poorly in school they are likely to follow suit. If families were able to choose which schools their children attend then we would have a much better blend of race and class in our nicer schools. Maybe there wouldn't be as many struggling schools and maybe the opportunity to leap from one social class to another may become easier.
 "Under the law, while Normandy students can enroll in any nearby accredited district, Normandy has to provide transportation to just one. Normandy officials chose a district called Francis Howell. Francis Howell was 85% white. It's across a river in another county, roughly 30 miles away from Normandy"
    The system is constantly working against the people below the poverty line. As if it wasn't bad enough that their school had closed and now the students had to be displaced, separated from their friends, and now had to find transportation to a new school, now the state is only providing free transportation to a school that is 30 minutes away. to add insult to injury, if the students wanted to attend another school they would have to pay tuition. Essentially what is going to happen to these students is they are going to drop out and only a few of them will actually end up transferring. I am sure that of the students who actually seized the opportunity, to go to the better school with the state provided transportation, only a few of those students actually finished their high school education. The system doesn't work in favor of the lower class and it continues to make things impossibly difficult.
"One mother asked why residents did not get to vote on letting in Normandy kids like they vote on public transportation."
"Years ago, when the MetroLink was being very popular, Saint Charles County put to a vote whether or not we wanted the MetroLink to come across into our community. And we said no. And the reason we said no is because we don't want the different areas-- I'm going to be very kind- coming across on our side of the bridge, bringing with it everything that we're fighting today against."
This quote showcases the typical mindset of the wealthy and privileged. These children don't have a school to go to any more and this wealthy school district is fighting to keep these children out. They don't want them coming across their bridge, they don't want their medical problems, criminal records or their race infecting their town. These people are so concerned with their own well being that they can't see the greater effect of their close mindedness. These kids need help, and yes they do come from a different background but who is to say that if any of those upper class people had started from the absolute bottom of society, would they have ever graduated from the lower class to anything more?