One of my students gave me a documentary to watch, called ‘Girl Rising’. It is about the power of education for girls in developing countries, and societies views of what a ‘girl’ should be (most often not involving education). This film has many different stories from girls all over the world, and is extremely powerful. I would recommend this highly if you are interested in this topic!
1. Consider this quote from A Letter to my Nephew: “if the word “integration” means anything, this is what it means, that we with love shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it, for this is your home, my friend. Do not be driven from it. Great men have done great things here and will again and we can make America what America must become.” What do you see today, in acts conscious or unconscious, that could be defined as people “fleeing from reality” in education?
2. “Some people are smart in the elite-college way, some are smart in other ways, and some aren’t smart at all.” Even if we acknowledge various definitions of intelligence, this article in American Scholar brings up the notion that some people may not fit into any category of intelligence. If a person is emotionally, creatively, and intellectually ‘dumb,’ what value do they possess that others, especially the highly intelligent or perceptive, might lack? Can we be said to perversely worship all forms of intelligence like we do money, looks, and power?
3. What is something that you hope to do as a future educator that would require courage, as opposed to merely intellect?
For Claire, Heather, Alina, and Meghan
“You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being. You were not expected to aspire to excellence. You were expected to make peace with mediocrity.”
This quote comes out of A Letter to My Nephew, but also applies closely to The Disadvantages of and Elite Education, and I think it encapsulates a lot of what we have discussed in class all semester. We get these ideas and expectations of certain people in our heads and it seems so hard to be able to change opinions. Deresiewicz similarly mentions, “The first disadvantage of an elite education, as I learned in my kitchen that day, is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you.” It’s hard to form this into a question, but how can we start to make a lasting change? What does it take to keep from having a “single story” about any one person?
This video is from a TED Talk with writer Chimamanda Adichie and is a powerful speech about the danger of having only one story or opinion of people. It is a long clip, but you can get the gist from a few minutes of listening. This is what came to mind for me when I did the reading and thought about our class as a whole this semester.
Thinking back to last week’s discussion, we talked a lot about how as a society we place higher “value” or are hyper sensitized to some lives over others. I thought this article was shocking, not only because of the scenario it explains, but because these girls have been missing for two weeks, yet I have seen no mention of it in the media. I could have missed it, but you would think that 234 abducted women would not be able to go unnoticed.
First is the article that I just mentioned: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/two-weeks-234-abducted-nigerian-schoolgirls-are-still-missing-180951236/?utm_source=facebook.com&no-ist
Second, is another titled “200 girls are missing in Nigeria- so why doesn’t anybody care?” which touches upon some of what we talked about in class: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/23/200-girls-missing-nigeria-care-sewol-tragedy
An interesting perspective by journalist Jason Whitlock on the NBA’s Donald Sterling ruling. I think it relates well to our class discussions regarding race, culture and power in America. The ruling can be viewed via video on espn.com; compare Whitock’s perspective to “Stephen A’s take” (on video). -abe
Group Members – Arunima, Jessie, and Kayla
1. The Stand Up video touches on the very important topic of teacher evaluation. This directly ties in to the reasoning behind merit-based pay, which has been discussed in our class (including a presentation) on multiple occassions. While they were the widely supported during their stand against the MAP test, the teachers at Garfield High School also received some criticism regarding their concerns with being evaluated through this test. As a future or current educator, how do you relate to this complex issue of teacher evaluation? Is it necessary to subject students to standardized tests without merit – such as the MAP – just to evaluate teachers, while concurrently reducing instructional time by teaching to these tests?
2. The readings by Baldwin and Deresiewicz discuss how people are excluded based on the expectations that society has from them. Furthermore, their exclusion is based on social, economical, or even cultural capital (diploma from an Ivy League instituition). Deresiewicz states that “There is no point in excluding people unless they know they have been excluded” (p.3). As teachers, voluntarily or not, we are a part of this process of exclusion when we constrain students to state-wide or nation-wide testing that teaches students to evaluate themselves in terms of test scores alongside their peers. How would you empower students to rise above such external factors and come to terms with their individuality?