Monday, October 6, 2014

In Class activity
Data synthesis activity

Discuss step 2: sketch mandala and prepare interview questions (assigned Wednesday October 1, due Monday October 6).
(1)Sketch out family tree
(2) sketch out 2×2 framework with two forces for the future where your family is situated.
(3) sketch out family timeline
(4) sketch mandala and prepare interview questions
(5) Fill out matrix for each persona.

Homework assigned
1) Documentary | Frontline: Separate and Unequal (52 minutes)
2) What current events in education relate to your persona family

A2 homework

step 3: “interview” participants, synthesize data into mandala. (assigned Monday October 6, due Wednesday October 8).

Documentary | Frontline: Generation Like (56 minutes)
Documentary | Frontline: Two American Families (85 minutes)
Documentary | Frontline: Separate and Unequal (52 minutes)

How does resilience play out in your personas families?

10 thoughts on “Monday, October 6, 2014

  1. A thought about the first half, the St. George/Baton Rouge situation. Along with all the rest of the Tea Party/libertarian news that’s going on today. You’ll notice that none of the pro-St. George people refuted the charges that it’d drive the city apart. Instead, they just said “the city of Baton Rouge is failing our children.” I don’t care about our city as a whole, I just care about my children.

    I’m wondering how to think about this in terms of forces of change that we can work with. Can we say “growing selfishness” is a force of change? My instinct is no. I feel like it’s too broad, squishy, and multi-causal. So instead I’m thinking, instead of “growing selfishness”, we can say “school district re-segregation”, “Tea Party”, “shrinking incomes”, “cities splintering off other cities”. All our forces of change should be relatively specific and verifiable. Does that sound like a useful way to think about it?


  2. Based on the Frontline documentary as well as some of the research from the Frameworks Institute, it seems the main problem facing educational reform in the future is an individualist mindset. I define this individualist mindset as “only caring about you and your family and not caring about the community as a whole.”. This mindset is a byproduct of the increased globalization leading to the increased competition for work on a global scale.This increased competition has created uncertainty in the minds of many middle class Americans, making them less willingly to share the success they have with those around them. Especially in America, where people are brainwashed into believing that it is only their hard work that leads to their success. This individualist mindset has two main drawbacks, a) it fails to consider that for a large part of history, minorities or non-whites were not allowed to progress as rapidly as whites and b) if only the wealthy have access to a good education then our education system will be inefficient at finding the best and brightest.

    The first drawback is widely discussed and accepted as fact. It is just unacceptable to believe that minorities have made up all the ground between themselves and whites in the past 40 years. They have simply just not made that ground up yet. There are still many more whites in higher education than non-whites. The second drawback is more important for the nation as a whole, if only the wealthy are educated then we are robbing America from many future innovators. Coming from a low-income neighborhood, I was fortunate enough to have access to gifted classes and extra-curricular activities that helped me improve my skill set but if those opportunities were not there for me than who knows where I would be. Finding the best and brightest is of paramount importance as there are many problems to solve in this world. Americans have to be a lot smarter about the way they look at policy and understand that while benefiting the whole might not have immediate benefits for you as an individual, it will have substantial benefits for you in the future. Who knows, it might be a low-income kid that makes the next big thing.


  3. What’s sad and frustrating to me about this is that it really is an issue of racism. These families want to separate themselves from the community for the reason of giving their children a better education (“the education they deserve”) – and you can’t really argue with wanting the best for your kids – but they do not address the actual problem at all. The problem might be the violence and “dangerous” school environment which is partially a result of poor or inappropriate education, but it doesn’t seem like the families are trying to improve education at these schools so much as taking the best resources out of them to give to their kids. I don’t feel like I can argue against the mindset of doing what’s best for yourself because sometimes it might be necessary, but I think this case is rooted in racism. There is the idea that the people left behind do not “deserve” the better education they propose, and the fact that crime and violence is so prevalent among low-income families is also a result of a flawed (and racist) system. Clearly these families don’t care about the rest of the community (Norman Browning’s talk about “community” I think refers specifically to a community that is just like you – white, privileged) and I think it is this kind of mindset that allows racism to endure. A better solution might be to improve the quality of education by targeting specific problem behaviors, but this requires time to see results. Patience aside, there is also the issue of entitlement, and the feeling that you shouldn’t have to “suffer” so that somebody else can “benefit” that really stems from a prejudice – this other group doesn’t deserve my help for whatever reason.


  4. I found the Bel Fanz research intriguing, stating how they were able to find three main factors at a sixth grade level that are the most indicative of whether or not they will graduate from high school. I found the heartwrenching and inspiring story of Omorina and Omarlin, very symbolic of the success of putting the Bel Fanz research into action. In Omorina’s case, it shows how having someone identify that problem child and then address it through a homeroom teacher, staff, principal, and counselors can make a big difference in the child’s behavior. She was inspired to “Not quit, dream big.” On the other hand, Omarlin fell through the cracks, ends up on the streets, is shot at, and at the end of the story is caught with the possesion of marijana and ecstasy.

    Sometimes I feel like problems can only be solved in the home, with the parents, but this story disproves this and demonstrates how a school can intervene and provide good shepherding. My question being how can we change the status quo, how can we change the future to make sure that every children has the same opportunities to succeed? A future of growth, would have both, Omorina and Omarlin, flourishing.


  5. I think the segregation would cause a greater divide between the classes in the future and create a more isolated mindset for those children in the future. However I find that when it comes to children’s education today, people can become short sighted. All they care about is getting the best education for their individual child, which is a good thing, however it can be detrimental to children as a whole. I think this also means we need to redefine what a good education is. Is it attending the best schools or is it developing an understanding for people and their differences? I believe that it is a combination of both and the second can only be achieved through the process of going to school with a wide range of people.


  6. The two stories in the documentary “Separate And Unequal” (of St George/ Baton Rouge schools and of Omarina) showed how important it is for children of low SES communities to receive greater community support and be exposed different opportunities. What was happening with the St George/ Baton Rouge schools was really disturbing – essentially the high SES white community turning their back on children from non-White backgrounds and increasing inequality. Omarina’s story (along with her twin brother’s story) shows on an individual level how important community/school support is for children who have unstable family/living circumstances and how this makes all the difference in their future trajectories. This is not only about the education of children from low SES backgrounds, but also the education of their more privileged counterparts to work against inequality, foster a sense of communal obligation, and to stop ignorance that comes from segregating communities. Intervention programs (like the one shown in Omarina’s story) and bigger, diverse schools are forces of change that can shape the future to have more or less societal inequality.


  7. In Omarina’s Story, she is attending an exclusive private school. It was an adjustment for her and it seems that she doesn’t belong in the school. Unfortunately, those who are around her, the kids all are of high upbringing.

    Luckily, she is part of a program that offers her an opportunity and support to keep her on track. They provide alternative routes to get to school, books, and support from peers. The program even got her bus passes. She got belief from her current teachers and knows that adults surrounding her cares. Not a lot of kids make the right choices and in bronx it’s difficult to stay on track. Her brother unfortunately got caught with her neighborhood and couldn’t continue to pursue his dreams. “It taunts me that making here isn’t the obstacle; it’s making it out.” (Omarina). It really is the support schools that push to keep children in school that helps push the growth for new leaders and push forth for the children’s better lives.


  8. The Separate and Unequal video was very disturbing to me. The meeting of the pro-segregationists had a lot of rhetoric that reminded me of propaganda distributed by different segregationist groups throughout history… similar to the Nazis or the KKK. I can understand the parents’ desire to ensure the safety of their children, but they’re being very short-sighted in their views and selfish. If all of society just think about themselves and their families then the morals and values of society will fall. While the immediate effect of removing their children from the schools may make them safer in the short term, it will not make them safer in society. Lack of empathy and experience of dealing with others who are different from you, breeds hatred. This hatred is at the root of human violence and warfare.


  9. This topic of segregation of individuals and separation from the community for the opportunity of better education is ultimately creating more inequality in society as richer kids have access to more resources that ultimately make them ahead of the game but at the same time it creates individuals who are not very broadminded because they are not exposed/ interact with a large section of the society making harder for them to relate to society as a whole. When these individuals become politicians and law enforcement officers, they are not able to relate to people at the lower end and are not sensitive to their needs. This maintains the inequality status quo. The kids with the upper-hand may receive better quality education but not the experience that can benefit society as a whole.


  10. Whenever I’ve thought of resilience, I’ve though about it in a personal context – but in the website they talk about resilient cities. It’s nice that they’ve broken the different factors that affect the resilience of the city, from health and wellness, leadership and strategy, economy and society and infrastructure and environment. I think all of these factors are complex ones – though I strongly resonated with the forts two because I felt like I could draw the most parallels with when thinking about individual resilience


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