Reading- Democracy and Education, John Dewey
· When discussing the role of the environment in education and socialization, Dewey explains that a being or student’s behaviors can be dependent upon the expectations, demands, approvals, and condemnations of others (pp. 11-12).
What expectations are set up for students in urban schools by the educators, media, and society? What influence does NCLB’s labeling of schools as failing to make progress have upon staff and students?
· Dewey poses the question, “Is it possible for an educational system to be conducted by a national state and yet the full social ends of the educative process not be restricted, constrained, and corrupted?” (pp. 73).
· If schools remain resegregated, as they are now, urban students will have minimal access to the dominant class and without that access they will be unable to code switch. How do schools that are racially and economically balanced provide students with the opportunity to learn how to code switch, to code switch effectively, and to understand the value of code switching?
· If adults must control their environment in order to consciously control the kind of education they are providing for students (pp. 17), what is happening to the teachers and students in urban schools, who find themselves with the least amount of control and under the most scrutiny?
· Dewey explains that the use of language to convey understanding is not enough, but there is a need for shared experiences (pp.14). However, segregated and unequally funded schools deny students of all races and classes shared experiences necessary to thrive in a socially responsible manner.
· “He is trained like an animal, instead of educated like a human being” (pp. 13).
· There are many evils of a class based society (pp.64), which may be increasing with technological advancement.
· I wonder how we can begin to use education as a tool to free individuals so that our society is not such an undesirable place.
Reading: Deculturalization and the struggle for Equality, Joel Spring
· Spring suggests that there are two uses of education for domination. It is often used to control a group after conquering them, but the denial of education and educational opportunities are used as well. In America, don’t we still employ both methods to maintain power and privilege over marginalized groups?
· Spring describes the role of schools as instilling capitalism (pp. 32), how do our schools continue to do so today?
· The relationship between master and slave is discussed by Spring (pp. 51). Spring describes how slaves used trickery to protect themselves from their masters. Can this analogy be applied to the relationship between teachers and students? Do students resort to tricks and other forms of deception to protect themselves?
· “Americanization” is referred to by Spring (pp. 80) as a process thought necessary by whites. What does that process look like in schools currently?
· Native Americans resisted and resented McKenny’s efforts at ideological management (pp. 22-23). This seems to parallel the schools experience for African American males today.
· The text provided me with a great deal of insight about the deculturalization of different groups throughout history. I am curious about how long it will take before this type of knowledge is more widely accessible to the public? When will teacher preparation programs begin incorporating some of the history that has been absent or misrepresented?
Reading: A Crucible of Contradictions, Barbara Finklestein, in Valerie Polakow’s (Eds.) The Public Assault on America’s Children
· Finklestein refers to one form of violence toward children as the zero tolerance policies that are in place in many urban schools (pp. 22). How is this interpreted as a form of violence? What alternative could replace zero tolerance policies? Is there a positive preventive measure that could be implemented?
· Why is it that teachers have never institutionalized home visits (pp. 31)? What are the detrimental effects of this lack of parental involvement?
· Finklestein explains the Personal Responsibility and Right to Work Act (pp. 37) as transforming childhood policies into economic ones and state mandated prescriptions for right living. In a country as diverse as America and supposedly as free as America, who determines what constitutes right living? Who has given the decision makers of “right living” the authority to make prescriptions about issues involving groups of which they know little to nothing about?
· I am often amazed how much power resides in language. The framing of the Personal Responsibility and Right to Work Act and the efforts language of the child-saving movements both frame issues in a context, which implies individual responsibilities and minimizes the role of society. There is great power in rhetoric.
· The contradictions of the children’s rights and protections rhetoric and the actual support of the ideology have survived for some time. How is this possible? What is the role of education in maintaining this contradiction?
· The Children’s Bureau provided advice to women about how to deal with the issues of violence and incest, but failed to wage a campaign against these behaviors (pp. 34).
· I wonder what it will take for the doublespeak concerning children to cease and become action.
· I wonder if the government will ever provide women and families with the necessary supports to raise children without demoralizing and degrading them simultaneously.
Reading: “The Philadelphia Negro: 100 Years Later”
· Each contributor to the piece acknowledged that the predictions and conditions described by DuBois in his original piece still exist over 100 years later. In what direction is America heading currently? How much progress society made?
· In what ways has white society dismissed the research efforts of African Americans? I’m thinking in terms of how scholars frame their arguments; what terms are used and which subjects are studied?
· Why was the race-class-economics triad such an integral part of DuBois’s work?
· DuBois intended to raise awareness and enlighten the powerful groups in society about the plight of Black people, which would encourage others to help. He has done this effectively, along with other scholars, however it has not infiltrated mainstream society. Can a capitalist society survive and excel if the powerful people reach out to marginalized groups instead of exploiting them?
· Gerald Early mentioned that DuBois’s work gave him a sense of roots. What sense of roots do marginalized students have now?
· I wonder when DuBois’s work will gain the recognition it deserves.
· I also wonder how scholars, supposedly in search of the truth, can readily dismiss DuBois’s findings.
The One Best System