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


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