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

Posts tagged ‘Gender Equity’

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.

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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: http://www.pbs.org/kcet/publicschool/


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America’s Teachers, Chapter 8

“Sorting” Students

Students can be sorted by ability in academics, preference of educational focus, geographical location, career goals, and age. Sorting of students is often used to put them in project or activity groups. This is best done when groups are equal, working cooperatively and not competitively.

Differences between Expectations

In public high schools in 2005, it was found that while 70 percent of upper and upper-middle class students were enrolled in college preparatory classes, only 25 percent of lower-working class students were taking those same classes. Conversely, there were no students of the upper and upper-middle class students enrolled in “track three” classes, yet 20 percent of lower-working class students took “track-three” classes (Newman 273).  These statistics are the reason many educators assume lower-class students should automatically place lower than upper-class students.

Tracking

As a home school student, I was not subjected to many forms of “tracking” in elementary or secondary school. I did work through several courses which were defined as “Advanced Placement (AP)” courses or “College Prep”. These courses, specifically calculus, biology, and chemistry were slightly more advanced and work intensive than the general courses in their respective subject. Through sports in the local public middle and high schools, I observed several of my peers and their involvement in “tracking” programs. One specific program I recall was called “foundations”. This was simply a euphemism for a repeated pre-algebra course in high school. Students in this class recognized their “failure” and assumed that they were not smart because of their enrollment.

Race or Ethnicity

In understanding students, ethnicity is far more significant than race. In knowing a student’s race, I simply am able to observe the color of his or her skin. However, if I am knowledgeable of the student’s ethnicity, I will understand his or her cultural background. This information is much more useful to me as a teacher. When I know that John is Hispanic American, I will better understand the traditions he and his family may participate in, as well as consider his abilities with the English language if any initial concerns arise. If I know that Cindy is Japanese American, I will better understand her social behaviors as well as her home expectations. Individually, knowing a student’s ethnicity will not answer all of my questions or concerns. Not all children from a certain ethnicity will behave in a manner considered the ethnic norm or generalization. Yet, by having a basic understanding of different ethnic cultures, I will be able to better know my students.

Segregation

The most common form of segregation that I have observed in schools has been that of De Facto. Students simply are attracted to people similar to themselves. In my years at Olympic College, the black students in my classes always sat together, even if they had never met before the first class date. A similar example is found in cultural segregation. Students who appeared to be from “the ghetto” sat next to each other, while those who came from the suburban more preppy areas also tended to group together. In both examples, students chose segregation. However, each group was represented in the larger class and interacted regularly with the other groups and benefited from cooperative learning.

Bilingual Education

Bilingual education is controversial because educators and the government are continually trying to close the achievement gap between English Language Learners (ELL’s), and those who already speak English as their first language. Basically, those with English as their first language are able to outperform ELL students to such a degree, that educators recognize that a change must be made. There are four types of bilingual education that educators have experimented with:  immersion, English as a Second Language (ESL), transitional bilingual, and bilingual/bicultural maintenance. Immersion places ELL students in the traditional classroom for the entire school day, though the teachers often speak a bit slower for better understanding. English as a Second language has ELL’s in the traditional classroom for part of the day, and then “pulls them out” to go to a special class with certified teachers in ESL to for the other part of the day. Traditional bilingual education  require bilingual teachers to work directly with ELL students to help them move along in the traditional classroom setting. The last method, bilingual/bicultural maintenance teaches all children two languages. There is still much controversy over this issue as no one method has been found to completely close the achievement gap.

Role in Gender Equity

As a teacher, it is my role to assist in closing the gender gap and maintaining gender equity in my classroom and school. This will occur through equal scoring, praising, and attention given to students. As a math teacher, I will encourage both boys and girls toward success in my classroom. It is my belief, that any student, regardless of gender, can learn the basics of algebra, trigonometry and geometry if they are willing to put forth the effort to learn. It will be my role to teach by example. I will equally respect both peers and superiors of both gender not only because it is the right philosophy to have, but because I am an example to my students through my life.

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Citation

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