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

Posts tagged ‘Women in Education’

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/


Reflective Book Report: The Angel Inside Went Sour

Reflections on “The Angel Inside Went Sour”

Dr. Esther Rothman’s book, “The Angel Inside Went Sour” documents her position as the principal of Livingston School for girls in New York, beginning in 1959. Rothman, a well experienced teacher with a doctorate in psychology was highly qualified for any principal position by the time she was assigned to Livingston. This school was special in that it was the final destination for troublesome girls; a place where they were sent when they had been suspended from multiple public schools and even failed in the correctional schools. As a principal, Dr. Rothman drastically changed the daily routine and methods of Livingston. She hired teachers who could not only teach, but who loved teaching. Teachers at Livingston had to love learning from their students and be willing to put up with and love students who: used dirty language as their main vocabulary, acted without a sense of purpose, were frustrated with life, yet, fought to survive and keep above the water of hopelessness (Rothman 1972). She describes many examples and scenarios in which she both failed and succeeded in reaching out and showing girls that they were loved and could make something better of their lives.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed “The Angel Inside Went Sour”.  Through Dr. Rothman’s words, I was able to step inside the inner city school of Livingston and catch a glimpse at what real teaching is all about. At first, I was a bit shocked at the attitudes and vulgar language that the girls used; Rothman thoughtfully included word-for-word language of the girls for authenticity and honesty. But as I continued reading, I was thankful for the exposure to the everyday experiences that the teachers at Livingston had.

As an inner city school, Livingston was filled with girls from extremely rough home lives. Girls faced situations and experiences I could never dream of living through. I loved how Rothman took the school day and flipped it upside down by having the students choose their own schedule and which subjects they wanted to learn. This not only showed me the importance of giving students choices, but even a bit more control when they have none in their personal lives. I realize that this exact example is next to impossible for most schools, but in principal, the idea of breaking the mold, and molding education to fit the needs of students is revolutionary and very applicable to the classroom today.

Livingston was also a very multicultural school with the minority being white students. Rothman treated students of different ethnicities equally. She seemed to see race as a cultural boundary (Banks, 2010). Her staff was comprised of a mixture of races. Through her eyes, whether it be a student or teacher, she saw them as people. Dr. Rothman and her teachers did not simply overlook race and culture when teaching, they embraced it. They allowed the culture to change their curriculum so that it was designed specifically for their students (Banks, 2010).

I was continuously inspired by the way Dr. Rothman handled difficult situations and difficult students. Her methods were grounded in getting students to understand why they were hurt, why they felt the need to lash out at others, and how they might better fix the problem by being in control of themselves. She rarely “punished” girls. Punishment seems to be the easy way out of a problem, without really solving it (Rothman, 1972). Instead, Rothman worked through problems with students and found ways of rewarding those who were able to work through problems on their own.

As I continued to read, I was awestruck and challenged by the lives of the teachers at Livingston as well as by Dr. Rothman herself. They were able to see past the behavior of a student, and look deeper into the lives and hurts of students, in order to heal their broken self-worth. Students, no, people, came first. When a girl was at Livingston, she was not there to improve her reading, writing, or arithmetic; though she often did so. She was there to learn about herself, and hopefully come to the realization that she could be more. Teachers needed to be good at their subject. So good, so as to attract the attention and curiosity of girls who chose what they felt they should learn. But more than experts in their field, teachers needed to be invested in the lives of their students. They had to care more about the girls than they did about being cussed at. They had to care more about making a difference in the lives of their students than their test scores. These were real teachers.

When I am teaching, I hope to be able to model myself after the teachers at Livingston. They saw past race, social economic status, and reached out to hurting lives. Through respecting the students, and treating them like breathing, feeling, human beings, teachers were able to connect with students and make a difference. I want to put my students first. I will put their personal growth before my classroom agendas and be sensitive to the lives which they live. From a multicultural standpoint, I will defy racial and ethnic stereotypes and treat my students with respect. Doing this, I hope to also look through the behaviors of my students and dig deeper into the hurt causing their angel inside to be sour.

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References

Banks, J.A., & Banks, C.A. (2010). Multicultural education: issues and perspectives. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons

Rothman, E. P. (1972). The angel inside went sour. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books.

 

Film Review: The Common School 1770-1890

This post is a review of an educational film viewed in my Educational Psychology class at Seattle Pacific University. In this brief post, the following three questions will be answered:

1) What is the focus of the era?

2) What do we learn about schools then?

3) Who gets to learn?

What is the focus of the era?

To build an independent, patriotic nation.

  • In school students became something larger than themselves or their families, they became part of one nation. Students learned about the meaning of democracy itself.
  • At that time, only the larger towns in New England were required to build schools, outside of this area, education was neither free nor public. Most schooling was closely tied to the Protestant Bible. With the Bible as a core part of the curriculum, school was about saving the soul.
  • Aside from using the Bible, the most common school book was the New England Primer.
  • When Noah Webster claimed that the 1st step in forming a new nation was to remove England’s textbooks- national history had to be formed on the founding fathers.
  • General education will enable people to keep their own freedom. Survival of independence relied on the education of all Americans. With this in mind, Thomas Jefferson drafted a proposal of a three year education for all children in America. Additionally, he would send on the very brightest youth to universities.

What do we learn about schools then?

Schools widely differ depending on location and private funding.

  • 18th century schools were formed in a manner so as to keep the status quo; children would replace their parents in society.
  • Men were teachers, not women.
  • There is an average of 82 days of total school in a year.
  • Jefferson said at this time,  “People have more feeling for roads and canals than for education, they are leery of taxation for education.”
  • Horace Mann, the Secretary of Education, had little previous authority or background in education before attaining his position as secretary. He reviewed facilities and town-to-town education equality. He found that wealthy students could go to school for longer, and poor couldn’t go at all. He reported on the conditions of the school buildings. Rural district schools were out of shape and in disrepair.The materials were inadequate, readers were terrible.
  • At this time, children of all ages went to school, teachers acted as a ring master to keep multiple children working on all different subjects focused.
  • Schools had very strict rules and used punishment (often physical) as a form of discipline.
  • People began leaving public schools for private schools. Mann held a series of meetings for what he called common schools. These common schools would teach from a common curriculum. This system would “know no distinction between rich and poor.” Mann believed in equalizing school. Common,  meaning: all coming together.
  • Critics of Horace Mann were opposed to state control of schools as well as the taxes that came with it.
  • Furthermore, Mann recommended resources for classrooms:  a blackboard, standardized textbooks, chairs with backs on them, and in general, more teacher regulation. He got free, tax supported education, to be available to every class. Each citizen was to be equal to any other in politics and rights.

Who gets to learn?

A select few until …progress leads to more opportunity

  • Under Thomas Jefferson’s proposal (early 1800’s), girls were alloted three years of schooling, while no education was permitted for slaves. Male students were given the most opportunities and more was expected from their education.
  • By the mid 1800’s many of the students seeking education were immigrants. However, most schools were protestant (bad news for the Irish Catholics). John Hughes, the Catholic priest, called for movement of Irish children to  not go to schools that had books which would indoctrinate Irish students against their personal religion. He wanted a just proportion of the funds from the common fund to be given to the Irish to start their own schools. The city, New York, denied Hughes’ request.
  • In 1843 Bible riots broke out, leaving 13 people dead and the Catholic Church burned to the ground. Protestant textbooks spoke about the Catholics as a different race of people in offensive and derogatory language. However, after much opposition from the Protestant movement, most offensive statements toward Catholics were removed from textbooks.
  • During this time, 2/3 of the black population lived in the south, and were severely punished for any attempt of education. In 1840 African Americas were still restricted to segregated schools.
  • Inspired by Fredrick Douglas, supporters requested desegregation as a part of equal and common curriculum. Despite the requests, segregation continued even in the event of terrible school conditions of black schools.
  • In 1849 the case was heard at the Supreme Court. Denied again, the case was taken to the state legislator where it was passed.
  • 1865- The Civil War ended.  Now all were free to pursue an education.

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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/