The paths to "Eureka" moments: Teaching Mathematics in Secondary Education

Posts tagged ‘Academic Freedoms’

Film Review: Equality (1950-1980)

This post reflects on the film, Equality (1950-1980). Throughout the reflection, three questions will be answered.

1) Do you see any race inequalities in the film?

2) Is education a civil right?

3) What is our view of children and adolescents at that time?

Do you see any race inequalities in the film?

  • During the 1950’s segregation was a dominant theme throughout schools. Segregation was seen in:
    • Proms
    • Student government
    • Sports teams
    • School population
  • In many cases, schools were either all black or all white, depending on the location of the school.
  • Parents fought segregation of schools, wanting integrated schools
    • Boards thought they were separate but equal—this was not so.
    • Often the white suburban schools were well stocked and funded, while African American Schools were underfunded and without proper resources.
  • Beginning in 1930’s but continuing through the 50’s NAACP lawyers traveled to schools and inspecting to prove that African American schools did not have equal-facilities, resources, or environments.
  • In the late 1960’s many Mexican students were integrated into schools. Yet, most teachers were Anglo-American. These students were not allowed to speak Spanish in class, and textbooks did not reflect any positive aspects of the Mexican culture.
  • In Crystal City, school “walk outs” reflected a reaction to lack of equal education toward minority students. The action of going on strike was found necessary when the board of education in abruptly adjourned an educational meeting and debate in which students and protesters were voicing the needs of minority students.
  • As a result of the strikes, Crystal City schools became a laboratory for bilingual education.
  • At this time, several lawyers sued the San Francisco school district who taught English only. Equality of education requires different treatment to student of different languages.


Is education a civil right?

  • President Johnson- equal chance at education, meant equal chance at life
  • Civil rights act of 1964, banned discrimination on basis of race or ethnicity in any federally funded institution, including schools.
  • By the early 1970’s, feminist leaders pushed for movements which advocated women’s rights
  • At this time, it was legal for an educational institution to have a quota of women admitted to a graduate school.
  • Title 9 – 1973 had a groundbreaking precedent that if men and women were going to have equality in sports in schools, they should have equal funding.
  • Before Title 9, textbooks and reading books encouraged gender inequality by picturing boys as active members of society, while women stayed at home and cooked and cleaned.
  • Girls were discouraged from math/science, while boys were encouraged in sports
  • Title 9 said, you could not put men and women together in a sport and pick the best players (most often men), but there should be principals of equity in sports, (i.e. two sports teams, women’s leagues ect.)
  • As a result of Title 9, textbooks changed, sports teams for women were created, graduates of both men and women were close to equal, and job/career movements changed.

What is our view of children and adolescents at that time?

  • Movements of education representative of movements in adult life.
  • Children and adolescence became the training ground for change in society.
  • For the first time, all children and adolescence, both male and female, black and white, began to have the same rights and were given the same opportunities within school.


This film is part of a series of four called:

School- “The Story of American Public Education”

It was produced by PBS and narrated by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. For more information see link:


America’s Teachers, Chapter 5

This post is a reflective on assigned questions from Joseph W. Newman’s America’s Teachers: An Introduction to Education, Chapter 5.

Present a short argument for, and then, against the fact that teachers get tenured.


Teachers should have security in their job. Tenure protects experienced teachers from getting fired on the whim of their superiors. Teachers who have completed three years of teaching are given tenure, which requires school boards to prove that the teacher is unfit to continue their job before terminating their employment. This stabilizes teachers, and gives them the right to keep their jobs unless proven guilty of incompetence, insubordination, or immorality (Newman 2006).


Tenure often protects bad teachers. The status of tenure makes it difficult to fire teachers who do not teach at a high standard. Tenure gives teachers the ability to take school boards to court, costing schools to pour finances into court cases. As a result, teachers that have a low performance, but maintain tenure status, are often passed from school to school instead of being dismissed (Newman 2006). In this way, tenure is a hindrance to excellence in education.

What can cause a teacher to be liable for a students’ injury?

Teachers can be held liable for a student’s injury if the following four statements can be proven:

1. The teacher had a duty to be careful not to injure the student and to protect the student from being injured.

2. The teacher failed to use due care.

3. The teacher’s carelessness caused the injury.

4. The student sustained provable damages.

Note: These statements quoted directly from America’s Teachers, by Newman, pg. 157.

What are the limits of freedom of expression for teachers?

The freedom of expression for teachers can be viewed from several topics discussed in “America’s Teachers”. These topics include: academic freedom, right of public dissent, appearance while teaching, political activities, and lifestyle. All categories have seem to have one overall governing theme: the limitations set on teachers depends on how their expressions affect the classroom and academic learning of the students. Academic freedoms such as choosing controversial books or topics of discussion are limited, but these limitations vary from state to state. Often academic freedom will depend on the ruling of whether or not the discussion or book is age appropriate and handled in a non-disruptive manner. A teacher’s right to public dissent lies with the content of their voiced dissention. For instance, a teacher may voice an opinion regarding any issue that is of public concern, but not an issue that is heavily focused on the individual teacher. A teacher’s expression of appearance is limited to a more professional standard due to the fact that all teachers represent role models to their students and are called to “promote positive educational experiences” (Newman 2006). Finally, teachers are not limited in their own personal lifestyle such as living arrangements or sexual orientation so long as it does not affect the progression of learning in the classroom.

What is your personal position on teaching about sexual orientation?

Personally, the discussion on teaching about sexual orientation is a new consideration for me. So far, I have come to conclude that I hold all students to be created in the image of God, and thereby will treat all students equally and positively. As to teaching about sexual orientation, my role as a math teacher will most likely be a minor one. However, my position on teaching about sexual orientation is that teachers should give students truth. This truth should include the fact that homosexuality has been shown not to be a mental disease, that often HIV AIDS is contracted through homosexual men, and that using differing sexual orientations as grounds for bullying is wrong. It is my opinion that 6th grade students and above should be given some sort of introduction to sexual orientation from a purely informational standpoint. Once a student reaches the high school level, further information may be given. It is also my opinion that explicit details as to sexual activity be given with extreme caution, and by no means in an “encouraging” manner, but purely scientific. Concluding this topic, I believe that students, especially those in private Christian schools, should be encouraged, not in tolerance, but in love for humanity.

List 3 physical indicators and 3 behavioral indicators that you are very LIKELY to see (or have actually seen at some point) that would lead (or have led) you to suspect either physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.

Three physical indicators that would lead me to suspect abuse are:

  • Bruises, welts, cuts, or burns

Three behavioral indicators of abuse are:

  • Fear of going home, Habit disorders (biting, sucking, or rocking), and suicide attempts.



Newman, J.W. (2006). America’s teachers: an introduction to education. White Plains, N.Y.: Allyn & Bacon.