Sunday, March 27, 2011

Color Preference

Extended Comments:

Black, white, rich, poor. What's the difference? I would like to use Amanda C.'s blog this week as my extended comments. I know she used Billy's, but Her first paragraph was extremely strong. Amanda talks about how she has seen her neighbor go through tough times to keep their house. I know that this week is about the separation of black and white people, but this also ties into how much money a person or family has.

My family has been through hell and back, financially. I was always taught that I had to work my butt of to get what I wanted. I never could just splurge on something because I had the money or just because I wanted it. In my house, I learned the value of money, without a choice. Now I am not saying that I am dirt poor, but my family has come close to losing our house several times. I will never forget the week when both of my parents lost their jobs. The jobs that they had was just enough to pay for the house. Forget about food. They went grocery shopping maybe every 3 weeks. It was tough living paycheck to paycheck. This only made me work harder for what I wanted.

My town is not the richest town, nor the poorest, but it's school system is NOT good. There aren't many books in the school library, people have to pay an arm and a leg for sports, and there are NO buses to get to and from school. No, sorry, that's a lie. You had to pay $400 dollars each half of the year to take a bus. It's a public school. REALLY?!?! It was a white dominated school, but you knew that many of the kids had tough financial problems at home. I go into my service learning school and the kids are getting the same education I am. Yes, they are under privileged, but I would have to say, that would make me the same way. Just because you are in a white school doesn't mean that you have a better education.

I think that teachers become teachers to help their students to learn and make something of their lives. A school with all colored students can be in the same boat as a school with all white students. I feel, because most of the poorer schools are dominated with colored students, that that is where the attention is going. I am not looking for attention, but I am saying that there are more than just problems with predominantly black schools.

The New York TImes article is a really good one. It does seem that there are black schools and white schools. The segregation has never really ended. We just took that one more step towards equality in our nation with the Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation laws. It all goes back to being in a poorer school doesn't give the best education. "The current obsession with firing teachers, attacking unions and creating ever more charter schools has done very little to improve the academic outcomes of poor black and Latino students." This quote is perfect. I have little to say after this. I have run out of words to say. Grades and money, unfortunately, go hand in hand. It's almost like that commercial you didn't go to college, so you didn't get a good job, so you work that much harder, and the cycle continues.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Response to Service Learning Post

I am so excited that my blog this week caused so much commotion! Dr. Bogad told me to elaborate so I want to do this here. I also want to talk about Nick's comment about just talking to the congregation not being a change type of service learning.

The students who are actually participating in this event do not get the WHOLE effect of what it is like to be homeless, but they learn what it is like to not have running water, or food, and potentially little sleep. I don't think there are blankets either, because it is very rare to see a homeless person with pillows and blankets, etc. After going through this semi-difficult experience, the students go to the soup kitchens and help to serve the homeless. Now, at this point, they are seeing others and being able to try to compare their experience, and eventually make a change in homelessness. I would think that, with all this said, Kahne and Westheimer would agree that this type of service learning is considered change.

Telling the congregation about their experiences, is not the change type of service learning for the congregation, but the fact that these students are sharing their experience shows that they have learned something. Since they felt what it was like to be homeless they do not want to face it themselves and they want to help the current homeless people. I agree that the congregation is only hearing the stories, so it is only spreading the word. Like Mary said, the church has many resources and continues to do this every year, and every year there are more and more people who volunteer their time to support this activity.

Thanks Luke and Sarah for pointing out my favorite line, too. "Service learning, no matter what type, is beneficial for everyone." It is the point of the student to take something from their experiences. Whether they take action to change the problem or not, is their prerogative. But in the end, someone's life has been changed.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Service Learning


Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer's "In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning"describes two different types of service learning projects. The first one is more about charity and the other focuses on change. What the authors are trying to tell us is that there are two ways to help the people in need. The first service learning project got students working with those in need. The students directly helped the less fortunate, but never discussed or focused on the problems that got those people to where they are. In the second case, the students did talk about the issues and then work with the people who needed help. They also worked, throughout the year, in the classroom writing papers and relating topics to their service learning.

My church has a youth ministry group where students who are very involved in the church can go and be active in the church and the community. During Holy Week, these students, every year, fast for twenty-four hours and sleep on the church floor. They are trying to recognize what it is like for those on the streets without the full severity of it. At the same time, they are respecting the religion. The next day, these students go into Boston and work in the soup kitchen to help the people who cannot afford to support themselves. During the Easter Vigil, the students come into the mass and tell the congregation about their experiences.

I believe that this type of service learning is similar to the second case that Kahne and Westheimer describe in their article. The students get to feel a little what it is like to have almost nothing and then they go into the city to see what it actually is like. They take a lot out of their experiences and share them with the rest of the congregation, hoping that they will help those in need in their lifetime. This article explains the benefits of service learning amongst youth. It also gives information to those who are looking for service learning opportunities for more than just the young people. They have opportunities for parents and teachers, also.

Service learning, no matter what type, is beneficial for everyone. Some may take more out of it than others, but they still have the opportunity to help those in need. I am not sure what the authors' take is on this subject. Is one option better than another? How do YOU look at it?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cartoons Promote Stereotypes


Linda Christensen argues, in 'Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us', that the media stereotypes different genders, ethnicities, and physical features. She explains that cartoons, movies, and even sports commercials show certain people in their stereotypical lifestyles. For example, Popeye the Sailor Man was a cartoon that explicitly discriminated against any other ethnicity. The Arabs were all shown as thieves and they all looked the same. And some of the things that the leader sings about is very inappropriate. About 2 minutes he sings about when things are quiet he starts a riot.

Stereotypes are always going to be known. This website explains many different types of stereotypes and it explains how stereotyping is such a terrible problem. Linda Christensen explains that in order to see how the media affects people in their everyday lives, the people need to acknowledge that it is a problem starting from childhood. The way to overcome this issue is to have students recognize this pattern and to make projects based on what they learned. They even had to say who they could explain to that there is a problem. 

Like Linda Christensen expresses, there are so many stereotypes and the only way to overcome them is by understanding that they are real and in the media. I find it interesting that the shows, movies, commercials, etc. all have underlying political and stereotypical messages. As a child, I never realized that the princesses were all beautiful for the one fact that a prince could only fall in love with a beautiful woman. I just enjoyed the movie. But now things are starting to change. And just like Dr. Bogad says, there was a pebble thrown at a window and there was a crack. Now the crack is getting bigger because more and more people are realizing the issues with the media.