Thursday, July 28, 2016

7/14 Knowledge is Power

*note: this blog is an entry from 7-14*

Education is an entitlement for everyone, at least in the present of today. Back in time from before the 17th Century until around 1955 -1965 education was only for the white and privileged. Since the Constitution itself does not cover education within it, it made it even harder for this right to be even considered. Laws such as the Separate but Equal Act (Plessy v. Ferguson), are evidence from the past proving the difficulties in receiving an equal and fair education as the rest of the more favored students. Cases like Brown v. The Board of Education in 1954, challenged this problem residing within the society.  Brown had challenged the idea of segregating schools proving how unconstitutional it all was. By 1955, the Supreme Court ordered public schools to be desegregated. Even with this massive change, equal school education still remained unrepresented.

If you were a minority, life in school was much harder. Students were grouped into a school based on where they lived. This made it easier for people in poorer areas having fewer resources to have a qualifying education. Because of a lack in funding, many students were neglected or left behind in the system such as girls, LGBTQ, low-income, special needs, non-native speakers, immigrants/refugees, etc. They were more likely to get suspended or expelled and have fewer qualified teachers to instruct them versus privileged students. Their education was not corrected until the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It was implemented by President Lyndon Johnson and provided “compensatory education” to poor and minority students. Even with this implemented, many students were already so far behind the privileged students that it would make it extremely difficult in trying to catch up.

Reviewing this, I found it easier to apply this to our education system today. Many of our schools are stuck with little to no resources to help students learn on the same field as others across the nation because of the lack of money. In these areas, many of us are minorities. Even with all of the reforms that have been implemented such as Common Core, teacher training, charter schools, anti-bullying campaigns, etc., there are many schools with students who are still struggling to have a safe and a learning enriched environment. The areas or private schools with financial wealth are filled with a greater quality and amount of facilities for students to learn in. It’s surprising but interesting how things seem to still continue until present day even with all of the changes put into effect throughout the years.

We broke into groups to participate into an activity facilitated by the student teachers. In these groups, we would talk about the school systems we were learning in such as a public school, private, home school, charter, international, etc. and listen to how different schools were throughout the nation and world. We described our own personal experiences, the advantages, weaknesses, the quality of education everyone received and if everyone in the school and town receive the same value, and who received the better or worse education depending on their wealth/class, race/ethnicity, gender/sexual identity, and special needs/disabled.
Group Presenting Their Ideal Education System
As I listened to others speak, I learned unexpected things about other schools. Unlike what I’m used to in the Bay Area, many schools do not have diversity incorporated within them. A lot of the public schools in Philadelphia are predominantly Black with very few white people. Most of the private schools are consistent with White and Asian students. At schools which do have a variety of ethnicities rep[resented, the white students would group together and all of the other races would stick with each other. 

In schools in China, they would go to school from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM, the time they would go to bed. What seemed to be consistent with most of the schools is the people who had more money to send their children to private schools or well-funded public schools, received the better education than most. 

Learning for people with special attention or disabilities seemed to isolate those students from the rest of the school; they were taught separately and did not socialize out of that group. If there were no separate classes for students with learning disabilities, they would struggle trying to receive help or the attention needed in the average classroom. The LGBTQ+ community were treated the same way as any other students at the school; they became more socially accepted among their peers.

At my school, we are privileged in ways that a lot of schools aren’t. The administration that we have makes the student support strong and flexible. Our principal is always dedicating his time to make my school the best that it could be. He makes time accessible to students and parents who need his support along with the other vice principals and some staff. There aren’t many schools which are eligible or have people like that at their schools and long for someone to actually come in and make a change to correct that. I am lucky enough to have administration who actually care and put effort into supporting the needs of the students. 

We have different program resources in our district such as The Ivy League Connection, Upward Bound (program allowing students to take math and science classes at UC Berkeley and live on campus), EAOP (UC Berkeley program where students commute there and pick classes to take over the summer), and more. The student diversity is high, we learn from one another, and adapt to our given environment making the most of what we have.

Our disadvantages are our facilities, some teachers, and lack of money. We have class in portables as we wait for our new school to be built and don’t have much of a campus. Many of our well qualified teachers are leaving for multiple reasons and we will be getting a large number of new staff, which can either make or break the school. Everything may not be perfect about it, and we do lack in some areas, but I believe that there is plenty of room for improvement that we are still pushing and progressing in profoundly.

In the afternoon, coming back from lunch, we spent the rest of the time designing our own education system for a new country ran by us. We were counted off into groups like the first time we were split up. In my group, we didn’t get much accomplished. People were disagreeing on who should be taxed and the amount, what type of schools would be incorporated such as private, public etc., how much money each school would be funded, and still be able to make it competitive against other countries. Some were saying we should tax the rich more, but others were against the idea. We only had a few points jotted down before it was time for us to present to the class for two minutes. Our group pulled through while presenting but ended up annoying one another. Doing this not only showed how hard it was for us to form an education system but to actually work together as a team and find mutual ground for all of our different views. Even though it was rough, I wish we could have more activities like this in the future. 

1 comment:

  1. We certainly have plenty of areas where we can improve but I think you saw first hand that we’re still much better than other areas.

    While there are advantages of having neighborhood schools where you can walk to your l;local school and get an education with people from your own neighborhood, there are inherent problems associated with that. When the neighborhoods are segregated into ethnic neighborhoods, this tends to keep the different ethnicities segregated, too.

    Bussing students to schools to help diversify the student body also has problems associated with it in that the students often go to schools far from where they live and their friends from school are spread all over.

    With many of the charter schools where we live, the students come from all over so even though there is no forced bussing, the end result is the same. This is one of the negatives associated with this model of schooling.