Monday, November 18, 2013

Citizenship In Schools

Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome


Now we know that people with disabilities can learn and have a full, rich life. The challenge is to erase negative attitudes about people with develop mental disabilities, get rid of the stereotypes and break the barriers for people with disabilities. (Kingsley, 1996, p. 6). Most of the time individuals put labels on people with develop- mental disabilities because they don’t see deep within that individual to actually come to the realization that they are just like us. They feel, learn, and do many of the things we can. We tend to focus more on their apparent differences instead of their similarities to us, which then leads to the creation of these dominant barriers which disables us to see that we are all humans. In my high school the children in the special education classes were basically a joke. There was this one boy who really liked receiving hugs from girls. He had the tendency of hugging for too long and tight, so his teachers would only let him hug if he promised to let go. The sad part is that none of the girls wanted hugs from him and instead began laughing and ran away. I can remember how frightened and upset he was just by looking at his face. So I took action and every morning I would give him a giant bear hug, I could see the excitement and joy I brought to him just by looking in his eyes. It made me sad to see how he, and along with his peers were treated so differently by the other students. This reminded me of SCWAAMP because I believe that in society there are things that we value and sadly develop-mental disabilities or even any disability in general is not valued.

Question to ask: Has this ever happened in any of the other high schools you guys attended?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Promising Practice!

As I arrived at RIC on Saturday morning to participate in the annual promising practice I was in a very grumpy mood. My Saturday mornings are usually dedicated to resting because of my busy work and school schedule throughout the week. Despite the challenge of having to drag myself to the conference the worst part was having to sit though the introduction. As I sat there and listened to the guest speakers I couldn't help but notice how the mayor said that every child can succeed, poverty is a factor not destiny which made me think about Bob Herbert’s article in which he states that “residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities” do contribute to the success of a child. Not every child will have the opportunities he did despite the fact that he came from the same kind of background. In conclusion to the intro part of this conference I came to the realization that after hearing all of the guest speakers and the way the treated some of the individuals made me really upset, I was not too fond of it. I prayed my first session would go well and make me forget all about the introduction.

For my first session it dealt with Action Civics model within democratic classroom structure. Going into this session I found it extremely difficult to understand what it was that they were trying to teach me about action civics. I think that if they had started with the definition of what Action Civics is then I would have had a better understanding of what they were looking. I was completely dumbfounded entering this session but after looking up the definition I become a little more engaged with the conversation. Action Civics is basically an applied education process where the voices of participants are encouraged, valued and used to the fullest and how we could incorporate civic participation in and advocacy within the classroom pedagogies. This session reminds me of Christensen because she believes in taking action step by step to solve the issue of secret learning. In comparison, this session also deals with something called an advocacy hourglass which consists of steps that have to be taken in order to resolve issues in the community

The second session on Student/Labor Solidarity as pedagogy. I found this session to be even more challenging that the first one. I thought the presenters were extremely quiet and expected us to know a bunch of information on their organization. Every time they would ask questions that we didn't know the answer to, things just got really quiet and awkward. However, after doing my own research, what I understood from this organization was that students from this organization were building relationships with local workers organizations and unions. The students would team up with these workers and in order to acquire benefits for these workers. For example, students don’t buy school name clothing like Nike or Adidas sweaters so that sweat shop workers produce in order for them to get the chance to get better pay. This meant that the sweat shop workers wouldn't work until they are able to get a higher pay. At the same time students aren't buying the clothing and sweat shop workers aren't working. Which then forces the big companies pay more to the workers. Basically it’s like a big protest. This reminds me of SCWAAMP because these big companies that refuse to pay their workers less than minimum wage are basically power junkies. They make tons of money off the materials they produce but still feel the need to pay their workers crappy pay. These people clearly know that their employees cannot live off of the pay they get; but no sympathy is felt whatsoever. This organization is really striving for change and I think it’s really great what they are doing.

                                               s13 hourglass

Over all I think my day was very interesting and although I feel like I didn't feel like even going to the conference at first, it ended up being a great opportunity, and a learning experience.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Striving For Racial Equity


“The evidence of racism and discrimination against average everyday folks of color is still very much evident”. I as a person of color witness many of the ways in which white people discriminate towards people of color in ways that make us feel, in comparison to them, inferior. A few days ago at the pharmacy I watched as the pharmacist, treated the woman with little to no respect. As I approached the counter I had this feeling of fear, like he was also going to treat me as badly as he did to the woman before me. To my surprise he didn't and after analyzing what had happened I came to the conclusion that he didn't treat me as badly because I demonstrated to have somewhat a decent amount educational background, despite my skin color. I believe that many times white people judge wrongfully. They see a person of color and automatically assume the worst. They see the broad picture but forget to consider the alibis. For example, the majority of people of color live in poverty, send their children to less privileged schools but are expected to get the same kind of education a white children who live in privileged neighborhoods and attend private schools. The reality is that it is nearly impossible. “Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality” (Herbert). Even though the law of Brown vs. Board of Education still exists we still see a level of discrimination even today. “Black and Brown is still considered in a negative light. The fact that we can carve out exceptions for people that make us feel comfortable is not going to get us fully to racial equity” (Tim Wise). After hearing his I had ah ha moment because I completely agree with this. The fact that people of color are still till this day looked down upon is only holding us back from achieving the goal of racial equity. We need to fix this issue and the only way to start, is to stop denying the problem itself.  

Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity

Talking point: Many white people don't know exactly what it's like to be a victim of discrimination. If more people knew what is was like maybe they would stop judging and starting thinking differently about people of color; leaving behind the horrible stereotypes that have been glued to our foreheads.