About Me

heyy...my names kendra. I'm a sophmore @ ric studying to become an Eled. teacher with a concentration in social studies. I run xc and track for RIC and played soccer my freshmen year. I've been with my boyfriend for 5 years & goin strong haha<3 FYI me and katie are cousins :)so there's a little about me...ttyl

Blog Archive

Monday, April 21, 2008

So in class thursday everyone showed up and it went well. We discussed each persons job and found quotes within the texts that we can use to connect with our service learning experiences. I feel confident with our group and how our project will come out in the end; we all seemed as though we were on the same page & understood the direction of our powerpoint. :)
“Privilege, Power, and Difference” by: Allen G. Johnson

Context/ Premise:
Saying the words, privilege, power, race, discrimination, acknowledgment, recognition, gender, silence, violence, ignorance, social systems, community, people, rejection, school, solutions, oppression, change, patterns, talk, languages, competition, fear, leverage, individuals, and avoidance.

Allen G. Johnson argues that without recognizing privilege and power we can do little to overcome it, with knowledge and the right language we are better able to produce solutions to the problems surrounding such inequalities.


- “The challenge we face is to change patterns of exclusion, rejection, privilege, harassment, discrimination, and violence that are everywhere in this society and have existed for hundreds…of years.”
There are certain aspects of our society that have been so engrained within us that it makes it difficult to change. Recognizing the discrimination within our society and addressing it are the changes that are necessary to challenge the “hundred years” of indifference.

- “Large numbers of people have sat on the sidelines and seen themselves as part of neither the problem nor the solution.”
I feel like this is why it is so difficult to speak the words and make changes within our society. People feel as though they are neither the problem nor solution and so they don’t see how they can contribute or change the things which have been set in place and engrained for centuries. Change begins with individuals and therefore, what each person does is necessary towards moving in the right direction of speaking the words and using the right language.

- “There is less attention given to the millions of people who know inequalities exist and want to be part of the solution.”
Sometimes it takes more than simply knowing things are not equal and it can take time before people hear your voice, but that does not mean that you should be silent. Change can make people feel fearful of its consequence and so the people that do recognize the inequalities are not fully heard because they are not given that attention. It is seen in many issues we know about today for example, there is still an ongoing fight for equalities among those who are gay or the minority. Because they are not the popular belief or norm, issues such as gayness and race are going to be silenced more than the culture of power.

- “The problem of privilege and oppression is deep and wide, and to work with it we have to be able to see it clearly so that we can talk about it in useful ways.”
This quote addresses the concept that we have to understand and know what is going on so that we can actually do things which are worthwhile and productive. By talking about issues with the right language we are better apt to address the issues which have been silenced.

- “privilege doesn’t necessarily lead to a “good life,” which can prompt people in privileged groups to deny resentfully that they even have it.”
I liked this quote because there are people in the privileged state that do not feel as though they are privileged. Privilege does not necessarily mean that everyone has it made and it is for that reason that those in the lesser portion of the privilege scale do not feel as though they reap its benefits.

Monday, April 14, 2008

“School Girls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap” by Peggy Orenstein

Girls, hidden curriculum, school districts, education, equality, aspirations, women, educators, strategies, neighborhoods, environment, confidence, cooperative learning, gender equality act, training programs, experience, women’s rights, discrimination, boys, ignorance, learning, respect, interactions, cooperation, talking, accepting, allies, behaviors, assumptions, and gender roles.

Peggy Orenstein argues that teachers need to make their curriculums gender neutral so that boys will not be the only ones praised and recognized within the classroom and girls may value their importance in order to create more collaboration between the genders and address the hidden curriculum misguiding young girls.


-“Is it enough to simply call on girls more often or to introduce cooperative learning without changing the core of the male-dominated curriculum? Is it enough to change the substance of the curriculum lost to retain traditional classroom structures?”
It is not enough to just call on girls more, there needs to be something much more concrete done in order to truly incorporate girls into the classroom so that they are learning more than just the hidden curriculum.

- “the curriculum should be both a window and a mirror for students…they should be able to look into others’ worlds, but also see the experiences of their own race, gender, and class reflected in what they learn.”
I really liked and respected this quote from the document I felt as though it grasped a lot of what I understood this excerpt to be talking about. Students need to be able to see the world around them but also see how it reflects them as well. Hearing, seeing and learning about the world should also reflect what they know or feel they know to be true. Being what I feel as a strong woman, I want to learn about other strong women in society.

“It disturbed me that although girls were willing to see men as heroes, none of the boys would see women that way.”
I also feel as though girls easily accept men as heroes because it is something we have been accustomed to. Boys, on the other hand, find it more difficult to view girls in that way because girls are not constantly or typically shown in that manner. The boys need to be taught and opened to women holding powerful roles where men once stood. This is not saying that boys no longer matter, but instead, collaboration and cooperation needs to take place to gain allies among the boys so that gender no longer holds its stereotyped weight.

- “I think that boys need to learn how to talk to girls to. We have to be careful not to assume that all boys engage in this behavior. And we have to be careful that boys feel that they can take an active part in changing this kind of behavior, in changing the behavior of others. Because it’s not just a female job to change it, but a male job as well.”
This is all about how it is not simply the female’s job to change but it takes both genders to begin improving the over all society. I agree with their being males who do not all agree with the assumed male mentality. Keeping this in mind it can be difficult for boys as well because girls do usually assume all men think alike on a general term, but to think that it just as bad as some of the degrading things boys to do women. It is for that reason that being able to communicate and talk between the genders is essential in changing aspects of the community.

Monday, April 7, 2008

“Whites Swim in Racial Preference” by Tim Wise

Privilege, whites, blacks, minority, segregation, racial preference, affirmative action, inequalities, disadvantages, ignorance, fair vs. unfair, schools, deeply rooted beliefs, race-neutral, community, discrimination, children, generations, education, social inequalities and opportunities.


Tim Wise argues that “so long as white privilege remains firmly in place and the preferential treatment that flows form those privileges continues to work to the benefit of whites, all talk of ending affirmative action is not only premature but a slap in the face to those who have fought, and died, for equal opportunity.”


“Few whites have ever thought of our position as resulting from racial preferences.”
This statement is the belief that whites had to work hard to get where they are and it was not because they were white that they were able to get there. This idea of being privileged because you are white is something that some white people may have a hard time understanding or believing. There hasn’t been many times in which I can say that I have felt privileged for being white, however I think that is because I do not recognize that simply being white privileges me.

“Privilege, to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we cannot image life without it.”
I really liked the way Tim Wise explained how privilege was taken for granted by whites because it is something which surrounds them and just a part of life that it is unrecognizable to them now. Those who are privileged do not recognize it anymore because it is engrained within society; therefore, they take it for granted.

One of the issues which we were discussing in class last week had to do with whether or not it was fair that 20 points were awarded to undergraduate applicants who were members of an underrepresented minority (blacks, Latinos, and American Indians). During class I was struggling with how I felt about this issue. Even after reading this document I still feel uncertain about how I feel about this issue. Towards the end of Tim Wise’s document he says “recognition that economic statues and even geography can have a profound effect on the quality of K-12 schooling that one receives, and that no one should be punished for things that are beyond their control…white preference remains hidden because it is more subtle, more ingrained, and isn’t called white preference, even if that’s the effect.”

After reading the statement above I felt as though I got a better understanding as to why I am having such a difficult time deciding how I stand on the issue of underprivileged people being awarded more points because they were black, Latino, or American Indian. Some other statements which made me think that those who suffered should be awarded more points include:
“Even truly talents students of color will be unable to access those extra points simply because of where they live, their economic status and ultimately their race, which is intertwined with both.”
“racial preferences, hidden as they are behind the structure of social inequalities that limit where people live, where they go to school, and the kinds of opportunities they have been afforded.”

“White preferences, the result of normal workings of a racist society, can remain out of sight and out of mind, while the power of the state is turned against the paltry preferences mean to offset them.”
The main part of this statement that caught my eye was “out of sight and out of mind.” When things are not constantly in your face there is a tendency to forget they exist or simply to not recognize that they exist.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

“One More River to Cross”-Recognizing the Real Injury in Brown: A Prerequisite to Shaping New Remedies” by Charles Lawrence

Segregation, racism, blacks vs. whites, justice, Supreme Court, misunderstandings, recognition or lack there of, Brown, laws, privilege, power, unchangeable, ideas, school, nature of the institution, society, inferiority, equal participation, stigmas, race, protection, amendments, education, children, roots, establishment, injury, exclusion, state action, self-confidence, self-perpetuating institution, deeply embedded ideas, change, control, preparation and desegregation.


Charles Lawrence argues that “the Brown decision fostered a way of thinking about segregataion that has allowed both the judiciary and society at large to deny the reality of race in America, that the recognition of that reality is critical to the framing of any meaningful remedy-judicial or political-and that Brown may ultimately be labeled a success only insofar as we are able to make it stand for what it should have stood for in 1954.”


“the Supreme Court’s reasoning in striking down an interdistrict desegregation order in Detroit was flawed in that it misunderstood the true nature of the institution of segregation;” and the “failure to recognize and articulate the true nature of racial segregation was more the product of an intentional, knowledgeable decision than the result of any inability to comprehend.”
This sentence reminded me of some of the previous documents we have discussed in class that without recognizing and speaking the words things will just continue on in the same manner as they have been. It’s similar to “putting a band aid on a broken leg” statement because the court did not recognize the true nature of segregation; not because they were not able to comprehend it, but instead, because they chose to not acknowledge it. Segregation in itself is an institution which is formed to label blacks inferior, as the next statement suggests.

“Segregation’s only purpose is to label or define blacks as inferior and thus exclude them from full and equal participation in society.”
Basically this article revolves around this statement. The concept and foundation of segregation is to keep blacks in this state of inferiority making it extremely difficult to rise above it and ultimately remain in a lower position. The true nature of the institution of segregation is what Charles Lawrence argues about in this document in relation to Brown and other court decisions.

“Blacks are injured by the existence of the system or institution of segregation rather than by particular segregation acts.”
Because blacks are kept in this state of inferiority they have a much more difficult time rising above the segregation which the institution keeps them in. This statement argues that blacks are more affected by the institution of segregation than they are by segregation acts placed upon them.

“Segregation is organic and self-perpetuating. Once established it will not be eliminated by mere removal of public sanction but must be affirmatively destroyed.”
I liked the way that segregation was described as being “organic and self-perpetuating” because it is another way of describing it as an institution which has deep roots making it difficult to remove. Self perpetuating, to me, is describing something which can reproduce all on its own from its own establishment. It also has the affect of making me think that it is something which is embedded within people’s nature at a young age unless they are able to unlearn it and at that point of unlearning the nature of segregation does not necessarily mean that anything will be done about it. The institution of segregation, as described, can “not just be eliminated by mere removal of public sanction but must be affirmatively destroyed.” What does it mean to affirmatively destroy something? How would someone go about affirmatively destroying an institution such as segregation?

The next three quotes taken from this document are all examples of how the institution of segregation’s purpose is to keep blacks in an inferior class unable to move forward because of the lack of opportunities presented to them through the strict and deeply embedded nature of segregation. Unfortunately, like the previous statements have explained, to “affirmatively destroy the institution and its principles is the only way in which to eliminate segregation.

“Purpose of the institution of segregation has always been to stigmatize and subordinate rather than to simply separate.”
This quote talks of how segregations purpose is not only to separate the races, but more importantly or rather more significantly, segregation is used to stigmatize and keep blacks in an inferior position.

“Institution is used as an instrument of subordination which used a strict and rigid caste system to clearly define and limit the social, political, and economic mobility of blacks.”

“To create and maintain a permanent lower class or sub caste defined as race.”

Monday, March 24, 2008

“Tracking: Why Schools Need to Take Another Route” by Jeannie Oakes


Schools, teachers, practices, controversy, ability grouping, tracking, students, stereotypes, low-ability groups, gifted students, education, expectations, enrichment, learning and progress.


Jeannie Oakes argues that many “educators and parents assert that when schools group by ability, teachers are better able to target individual needs and students will learn more”, however, they also argue that “tracking locks most students into classes where they are stereotyped as less able, and where they have fewer opportunities to learn.”


“Tracking leads to substantial differences in the day to day learning experiences students have at school.”

“Critical thinking and problem solving skills seemed to emerge from the high quality of the course content. Few low ability classes, on the other hand, were taught these topics as skills.”
This quote and many of the sentences which surrounded it described the way in which students were stereotyped or favored depending on whether they were in high ability or low ability groupings. Being in the high ability classes it was as though the students were given more opportunities to strive and obtain higher thinking skills and critical reading/writing skills.

“Students who are placed in high-ability groups have access to far richer schooling experiences than other students.”
This quote directly complies with what I was saying in the statement above. It explains how by tracking students in the higher ability groups gives them an advantage over the low ability students and also loses the average student. Focusing on the higher ability students and letting the lower or averages students slip by or just get by is not providing those students with an expectable education.

“Students in the low ability classes were likely to have little contact with the knowledge or skills that would allow them to move into higher classes or to be successful if they got there.”
By favoring one group of students over another does not allow those students who are not being favored to succeed and enter into the “favored group of students” because they were not given the necessary skills that the higher ability groups of students were being taught throughout their schooling years. It is unfortunate that such a divide should be formed. I was even more discouraged to read that the average students were being lost in all this tracking business.

“Students who need more time to learn appear to get less; those who have the most difficulty learning seem to have fewer of the best teachers.”
Strongly agreed with this statement. Those students who need the encouragement were not getting it and therefore, they were not being given that extra “umph” or motivation to succeed in the academic world.

“Because they’re more likely to fail, they risk more by trying.”
Reading this statement was sad because no student should feel as though they are going to fail and therefore, they shouldn’t try. Trying and failing are lessons which everyone has to learn, however, feeling as though you are going to risk more by trying is something which should not go hand and hand. Trying is essential and sometimes you do fail, but to not try would be worse.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"In The Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Learning, service, service learning, schools, community, classroom, educational experiences, ideological, political and social goals, altruism, rich, poor, codes of power, reflection, homelessness, children, students, volunteering, caring, giving, charity vs. change, reaching out, experience rather than abstraction, relationships, progress, reality, democracy, civic duty, less fortunate, critical reflection, “otherness”, privilege, culture, culture of power, impact and transformation.


Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer argue that “learning and service reinforce each other and should come together in America’s schools”.


- “Service learning can improve the community and invigorate the classroom, providing rich educational experiences for students at all levels of schooling.”
This statement indicates that students who participate in service learning projects are given a “rich educational experience” which they are able to take with them and use.

- “Service learning activities seek to promote students’ self-esteem, to develop higher-order thinking skills, to make use of multiple abilities and to provide authentic learning experiences.”
Within this statement it is believed that service learning enables the participant to go outside the box of their normal thinking and develop their “higher-order thinking skills.” Higher order thinking skills are very important and it is interesting to hear that those skills can be obtained from a service learning project.

- “Using the community as a classroom.”
I really liked this quote as I was reading the document because I genuinely believe in this statement. I feel as though this service learning project that I am a part of has helped me to change my perspectives of poverty students and has helped me to gain a stronger understanding of what the children in the poverty school systems have to offer. Many of these students are very polite and mind their manners just as any white child would. The preconception of “the ghetto” was diminished after I worked with students who would be labeled as being “ghetto.”

- “After they returned, the students’ perspectives on these elementary school children had changed. They were surprised at the children’s responsiveness and their attentiveness; they found the children to be extremely polite and surprisingly friendly.”

- “Curriculum theorist and education reformers wanted students to engage in service learning projects so that they would recognize that their academic abilities and collective commitments could help them respond in meaningful ways to a variety of social concerns.”
Once again, this statement grabbed my attention because of the last part, “help them respond in meaningful ways to a variety of social concerns.” I feel as though my service learning project has given me a “meaningful way to respond to a variety of social concerns.” Through this experience I am able to see that children are just children no matter where they come from and even though one child may be better off than the other it does not mean that I am to sit up on a pedestal with the better child and neglect the worse off one. As a teacher it is my job to educate all students who walk through my classroom door and give each one the necessary tools to strive and succeed in the real world or racism, sexism, and hardship. This class has also allowed me to understand the political issues which surround the classroom and the different ways in which to handle those differences. My service learning class has provided me with examples of what it would be like to work in a poverty stricken school and be faced with issues of power and race that I would not have other wide been provided with.

- “experience based learning opportunities, to motivate students, to help students engage in higher order thinking in contextually varied environments…”
Experience based learning is essential in the field of teaching and I strongly agree with learning through experience.

- “real impact is seen in its ability to promote powerful learning environments.”