couple weeks ago, I was debating what I was going to talk about in this sermon. I told Pastor Kelly Ryan I had great reservations talking about the one topic that I think about every single day.
Then, a terrorist massacred nine innocent people in a church that I went to, in a city that I still think of as home. At that point, I knew that despite any misgivings, I needed to talk about race.
You see, I don’t talk about race with White people.
… . .
White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.” Whites are often not directly affected by racial oppression even in their own community, so what does not affect them locally has little chance of affecting them regionally or nationally. They have no need, nor often any real desire, to think in terms of a group. They are supported by the system, and so are mostly unaffected by it.
The author of this piece is one of my former high school students. I taught her without knowing any of this had transpired before she came to my school.
In her Facebook status, Olivia said she had considered asking The Daily Dot to publish her memoir under a pseudonym. Then, she decided using her real name would make it more convincing and powerful.
Olivia Cole was one of the brightest, most incisive students I’ve ever had. She’s a published author (Panther in the Hive), as well. If you read this memoir, you’ll see why I admire her so much.
The word “ho” is a weapon wielded for different reasons. It can be used to knock a confident woman down a peg or two. It can be used to shame a woman for engaging in behavior that makes men uncomfortable. It can be used to control women who defy sexist expectations of sexuality. It can be used to relieve predators of blame. It can be used, as in an instance back in March involving Mo’Ne Davis, to dehumanize and remind a brown girl of her “place” in the world. It can be used to ease the conscience of a society fueled by violent misogyny. If she was “asking for it,” we never have to think twice about why a 47-year old man gets a slap on the wrist for raping a 14-year old girl.
A ho is a ho. A ho has no feelings. A ho has no humanity. A ho has no story.
As it turned out, I didn’t have to come forward on my own about my abuse. One of my abuser’s other victims told her therapist, who contacted the police. Their investigation led them to me. But by the time I’d worked up the courage to face my sixth-grade teacher in court, he didn’t even get the slap on the wrist. I thought being called a whore in the halls of my middle school was bad. But sitting on the stand in a court of law and having your eighth grade poetry project read out loud and analyzed for sexual content was worse. Later, when I found myself in the youth ward of a behavioral healthcare facility, those poems were referred to as a cry for help. In court, they were all the justification needed to convince a jury that I deserved what had happened to me.
My own (female) teachers testified against me, telling the jury that they’d repeatedly had to tell me to cover my shoulders, my thirteen-year old cleavage. They said I was promiscuous. They called my abuser a “long-time advocate for students,” arguing that he’d been “teaching for decades.” I was told to wear my mother’s pearls on the stand so I would look more innocent. “More innocent.” My teacher was cleared of all charges and retired with his pension. I think he’s in Florida.
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News came last evening that Kansas has taken a bold new step in making their schools Even Worse. The story is one of how several current trends intersect to drag schools backwards in defiance of common sense or educational concern.
Tuesday, the Kansas State Board of Education voted to allow unlicensed people to teach in Kansas schools.
Their motivations are not hard to explain. Kansas has entered the Chase Teachers Out of The State derby, joining states like North Carolina and Arizona in the attempt to make teaching unappealing as a career and untenable as a way for grown-ups to support a family. Kansas favors the two-pronged technique. With one prong, you strip teachers of job protections and bargaining rights, so that you can fire them at any time for any reason and pay them as little as you like. With the other prong, you strip funding from schools, so that teachers have to accomplish more and more on a budget of $1.95 (and if they can’t get it done, see prong number one).
Welcome to our new reality, fellow Americans. The new Libertarian foundation of our bold era of every-man-for-himself is being made manifest by bold visionaries like Gov. Brownback, Gov. Abbot, and Rand Paul/Ted Cruz/ the rest of the nutball GOP field. Welcome to our bold new Utopia America celebrating ignorance. A healthy diet of anti-Science, anti-intellectuallism, anti-world dogma will use unqualified teachers fit for propagating a bold new younger generation who think the most important event in human history is when Jesus rode a dinosaur….With his M16….Carrying an American Flag.
Abbot, Texas Libertarian Utopianist, Appoints anti-Public School Ideologue to head up Public Schools
It seems the Libertarian Utopia experiment currently underway in Texas is willing to sacrifice 94% of Texas kids in their effort to erase the 20th Century from history. It is noted in the article that 94% of Texas kids attend public schools, and now the next person in charge is a home-schooler.
Bahorich, a former communications director for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick who will succeed outgoing chair Barbara Cargil, was quoted by Texas Public Radio as saying that “my research and my work and my desire and interests have all been in education.” But her appointment is drawing criticism not just from Abbott critics but also from some of Bahorich’s Republican colleagues. Texas Public Radio quoted Thomas Ratliff, a Republican member of the state Board of Education, as saying:
“Public school isn’t for everybody, but when 94-percent of our students in Texas attend public schools, I think it ought to be a baseline requirement that the chair of the State Board of Education have at least some experience in that realm, as a parent, teacher, something.”
This is nothing less than a race towards an imagined Utopia. …A magic Libertarian fairy-land where things just sort of take care of themselves. And if they don’t… well, it’s not MY kids that are doomed to fail basic educational standards. I can afford private school! It’s not my grandma being tossed to the wolves. I can afford to get her medical help! And no need for police either! When all the “good guys with guns” are present, nothing bad could ever go wrong!
Imagine if the US Congress agreed to make higher education tuition-free and funded it by increasing taxes on corporations. Pure fantasy, right? Well the government of Chile is doing just that.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has made overhauling the nation’s education system a key goal of her administration.
“In March 2016 we will start with free higher education now that we have the resources,” said Rodrigo Peñailillo, Chile’s Minister of Interior in early December following approval of a corporate tax hike that will generate $8.2 billion in new revenue.
I guess the “conservatives” would consider this socialist indoctrination.
Here’s yet another example of sloppy math in the media.
Based on one report by an education consulting agency, the media in China and America a couple of weeks ago trumpeted that US universities had expelled up to 8,000 Chinese students for poor grades and/or cheating over the past three years.
What’s buried in all the anguished prose is the provenance of that figure. It’s an estimate, and not even a reliable one.
WholeRen Education, which provides academic services for Chinese studying in the USA, published a white paper (PDF in Chinese) on May 27. Based on a survey of 1,657 students, WholeRen found that 3% (about 50) had been expelled from American institutions, mostly because of low grades or cheating, in the last three years.
Someone then took that sample’s results and applied it to the 275,000 Chinese studying in the USA to arrive at 8,000. Outlets like Newsweek and (dog help us) The Daily Caller have repeated this hypothetical expulsion rate as gospel truth.
In fact, we don’t know exactly how many Chinese students have been expelled.
Yesterday, MuGe Niu, a Chinese who studied at the University of Wisconsin, wrote this article at WisChannel C, a blog and videoblog started by Niu and two other Chinese students. She cautions that the 8,000 figure is not only unreliable, but also obscures the real issues facing Chinese students studying abroad.
The issue highlighted in American media is that due to budget slashes, many American universities (especially public ones) have been admitting more Chinese students for the sake of tuition, but haven’t figured out a way to screen and serve the growing population. Their Chinese counterparts, including People’s Daily Online, focused more on who the expelled students are and why they were expelled. One theory pointed to the low grades and academic dishonesty of this small population, and concluded these are results of fundamental flaws in the Chinese education system.
In fact, there is no data to prove Chinese students are more likely to cheat. Even the best students make mistakes under tremendous pressure. In 2012, about 200 students of an intro political science class at Harvard University were probed for cheating and more than half were suspended for a semester due to collective cheating on a take-home exam.
Even though they focused on different aspects of the story, both American and Chinese media treated the expulsion of Chinese students as news. But let’s face it, expulsion based on low grades or academic dishonesty is written in the school policy of community colleges and Ivy Leagues alike. Many students fail to get through the transition period from high school to college, lose motivation and fail the first year. So why is the 3 % expulsion rate of Chinese students such a big deal?
In the U.S., the stereotypical image of Chinese students is your glass-wearing, ambitious, smart nerd, who discusses math problems in the library as if there is nobody else is around, but rarely makes a sound during class discussions. The Atlantic article quoted one source who said some colleges are “addicted” to Chinese students, because they are hardworking, have good grades and pay lots of tuition. In China, it is often taken for granted and boasted about that our students usually outperform American students in subjects involving math or science. This makes the idea of expulsion based on low grades hard to swallow.
She argues that, while some Chinese students cheat on exams and assignments, in China and abroad, the frequency of such behavior is very low. Additionally, Niu contends that many very capable Chinese students feel lost in the American education system, which is so different from China’s. They are sometimes ill served by the very institutions that crave these full-pay students from abroad.
In the end, expulsion is an extreme consequence. Most students manage to graduate despite the above issues. But it’s essential that both countries understand the 275,000 students studying in the U.S. vary a lot in terms of family background, age,interest and ability. Chinese students nowadays are no longer the elites studying on government sponsorships like those who came decades ago, nor are they all studying engineering, business and natural science. It’s time to update our collective image of Chinese students.
Like students from anywhere in the world, Chinese students aren’t immune to procrastination, social anxiety and academic pressure. Some of them need help from the school and their parents to get through the difficult transition from high school to college. ESL and international student services should improve communication with Chinese students and realize the role cultural difference plays in teaching and communication. The “Chinese student” group has become too big and too diverse for any single stereotype. In short, it’s time to lose the tainted glasses through which we see Chinese students.
Based on absolutely no hard data at all, I would be willing to argue that the expulsion rate among Chinese foreign students is less than that of resident American students. Chinese students probably work much harder to prevent being expelled than their American peers. After all, if an American student flunks out of college, it’s bad, but it doesn’t require her to return to her native country to face her angry parents and the humiliation of failing at her studies.
Raises the bar on quality, expands program to full school day, full school year, reduces regulatory burden by one-third
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today important steps to improve the quality of services at Head Start programs across the country. HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell unveiled the first comprehensive revision of the Head Start Performance Standards since they were originally published in 1975. Improving these performance standards, which provide the foundation for practices and policies in every Head Start program, builds upon past efforts from the administration to improve and strengthen Head Start in order to deliver on the President’s call to provide children with access to high-quality early childhood experiences. The revised standards reflect a vision for how to raise the bar on quality for all Head Start programs and build on the programs’ history of success to help more children onto a path to school success.
Head Start performance standards are the foundation for Head Start’s mission to deliver comprehensive, high-quality individualized services to support the school readiness and healthy development of children from low-income families. The proposed regulation will update standards to reflect best practices and the latest research on what works in early education to foster healthy child development and school readiness.
The proposed rule sets an expectation that all programs operate for a full school day and full school year; raises education standards to reflect current research on brain development, early learning, and effective practice; and builds teacher skills and improves classroom performance through a system of evidence-based, individualized professional development.
Depend on the wingnuts to cry that such programs reward the lazy and reinforce a sense of entitlement.
LAUSD FAIL. Too big to succeed. What a sad state of affairs for Los Angeles families. This is why I can’t help but keep an open mind on alternatives for parents of less than wealthy means. I just can not dismiss ideas that have been abused elsewhere, or ill motivated elsewhere. We have had that conversation recently.
One thing we do need. Vouchers for tutors. Could credentialed teachers that are substitute teachers be paid by the system to tutor? Something, anything. This simply must be fixed. It’s contributing to unemployment and crime. Poverty. Economic stagnation for families.
The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday retreated from new, more rigorous graduation standards out of concern that huge numbers of students would fail to earn diplomas.
The board previously had required students, starting in 2017, to receive a C or better in a set of college preparatory courses required for admission to four-year state universities. The goal was to ensure that all L.A. Unified students were eligible to apply for the University of California and Cal State systems.
On Tuesday, however, the board backed down from that policy. Now, students will be allowed to pass these courses — and graduate — with a D. But they will be ineligible for admission to UC or Cal State campuses with a D in any of these classes.
State Rep. Tim Kelly said today that Detroit Public Schools is so troubled that he would support dissolving it.
Speaking during a taping of the WKAR-TV public television show “Off the Record,” the Saginaw Township Republican said DPS is “bound for elimination one way or another anyway.”
“They’ve hemorrhaged kids — started with 150,000 and we’re down to 47,000… They’ve had their opportunity and quite honestly, they’ve squandered that opportunity, and not only for the last 15 years,” he said.
Kelly, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on education, also acknowledged the state bears some responsibility for DPS’ financial mess.
The state has controlled DPS for much of the last 15 years. It has been run by governor-appointed emergency managers since 2009, and was under state control from 1999 until 2005.
“I think there is culpability here, we have been involved in the last 15 years in Detroit,” Kelly said. “While I would suggest it would be worse if we hadn’t intervened, we have some blood on our hands. And I don’t know if it’s worth $500 million or $50 million a year for 10 years, but there is some bit of culpability.”
The “charter schools” can’t want to get their hands on the DPS money.