Thursday, April 5, 2012

Does the Cost of Living Really Matter?

After reading an article, "Teachers' Cost of Living Matters More", I do feel that the cost of living should be taken into account when deciding a teachers pay. According to Georgiou, Villarreal and Moore, “the cost of living in San Francisco is 80 percent higher than the national average, largely because area housing costs are three times the national average”.  I think that it is only fair for teachers to be compensated in a way that compares to the national average. If the housing market is 3 times higher than the national average, teachers in San Francisco should not be expected to live on a salary from Memphis, where the cost of living is 11 percent below national average.

One could argue that if you want better teachers you have to pay them more. And while I believe this is true to some extent, I do not think that we can fix all of the problems with our education system by paying our teachers more. I do not necessarily believe that higher paid teachers mean higher test scores or lower dropout rates. However, on the flip side of this issue, I do think that under paid teachers mean lower test scores and higher dropout rates. There has to be some happy medium. According to the article, “Teacher pay is determined mostly by years of service and level of education; the grade level taught or a teacher’s effect on student performance are not considered, and advanced degrees are given equal weight.”  Cost of living is not yet a factor, but it should be.

I think that it is safe to say that most teachers are not in it for the money. I knew when I decided to go back to school, to get my license to teach, my dreams of being a millionaire were left to winning the lottery! However, it is also safe to say that most people decide to become teachers because they want to make a difference, in children’s lives and in their community. At least, that is why I decided to become a teacher.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Multiculturalism In Education

I really enjoyed the article "Multiculturalism in School Curriculum" by Adam Waxler. His perspective was very encouraging. Why should we teach each culture separately? We are a nation, a state, a classroom of multiple different cultures blended together; we should teach a history that incorporates them all. Not necessarily one history that includes all cultures, but each cultures history and how they affected one another. The term he used, “intellectual segregation” is great! I agree that by teaching each culture separately, like we do with ‘Black History Month’, is not the best way. I have always felt that the importance of a culture should not be limited to just one month. I remember only learning about different cultures, including black history occasionally throughout elementary school.  Should we not worry or care about how blacks, women or any other culture affected who we are and how we got here, during any other month than the one assigned to them? Absolutely not! The history of each culture has impacted this country and everyone it, we should be teaching this in a very integrated way.

I found myself nodding with the majority of the article "Toward a Centrist Curriculum: Two Kinds of Multiculturalism in Elementary School" by E.D. Hirsch Jr. I agreed with a lot of what he said. I particularly liked the quote, “Children will become adults who cooperate and sustain one another only if the school-based culture they gain makes them feel that they truly belong to the larger society. To create this sense of belonging for all groups has been the hope and promise of the United States in its best and most generous moments” (Hirsch Jr., E.D., 1992). If we teach our children that they all belong in school, they will feel that they all belong when they become adults. The opposite is also true, which is why I feel that having a multicultural curriculum is very important.

I loved the idea proposed by the Core Knowledge Foundation, that this country needs a core curriculum for each grade in elementary school. It makes sense to me, that every second grader, across the country, should be taught the same curriculum. I personally did not move from school to school as I grew up. However I remember a good friend who moved to my school around 3rd or 4Th grade, she was way ahead in some subjects and behind in others because her curriculum in her old school was much different than ours. The article also made a very important point that even if we do create this ‘centrist curriculum’ that we still have to make sure we are teaching them to read and write. The issues presented in Niko Kyriakou’s article "Organizers See 'New Civil Rights Movement' in Immigration Protests", in my opinion could be positively affected by a ‘centrist curriculum’ present above. The article describes the current issues with civil rights deals with “the interests of not just one minority but all migrant groups".  The issue, legalizing immigrants, is a huge political issue, by focusing on a small part; education, I think that having a standard curriculum across the country for elementary students could be beneficial.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I was very intrigued by the article "The Challenge of 'Multiculturalism' In How Americans View the Past and the Future" . I had never given much thought to a multicultural history but after reading this article I agree that having one history for many cultures is never going to happen. I really liked the point made by Taylor in that, “History has winners and losers, and they see the same events with different eyes. At the same time, virtually every non-white group sees the conflicts of the past as struggles with whites, so multicultural history becomes a collection of perspectives that are often not merely non-white but anti-white.” Each culture has a different point of view for past events and trying to combine them would likely skew actual history. I grew up learning about a history as Taylor puts it, “about white people for white people” except for February when we then had “Black History Month”.  I feel that every culture’s history is just as important as the next and to limit our nations education to one, is quite sad. Yes, it would be impossible to combine all cultures into one history book, but spending time on each should be a priority for our schools curriculum. This country is considered the “Melting Pot” because we are a nation of so many different types of people, we should be learning and teaching about everyone in our nation, not just one group.

The article "Pithissippi Burning: Race, White, Nationalism and American Culture", was quite disturbing and in a way eye opening for me. It is very sad that there are people in the country who are SO closed minded. A quote that sticks with me the most is “For a very few people, this is exactly how they see the world today. They will not view The Brigade as an ugly, transparent piece of racial propaganda. Rather, they will open its pages and find a positive affirmation of what they already think, along with detailed directions on how to correct these ills in the goriest way possible.” I hope that one day multiculturalism would be apart of everyone and that how-to books on how to rid the world of non-whites is a thing of the past.

"Why Multiculturalism is Wrong",what? How would multiculturalism be wrong? I feel that as a future educator I should strive to teach multiculturalism every day. After reading the article I began to understand why some would think it was wrong. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines being multicultural as “relating to, reflecting, or adapted to diverse cultures.” I think that this article has pointed out a skewed perspective of multiculturalism. In the first paragraph it states, “It limits freedom, it limits possibility, and it limits possible futures” and then goes on to describe how it limits all of those things.  In my opinion that is not what multiculturalism is supposed to do at all! It is not supposed to limit what people can do; it is supposed to help provide new opportunities. I think that it is great that people have different points of view and different perspectives on things; however it’s crazy to think that something such as multiculturalism means the complete opposite in another country.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Religion in Schools

The debate on religion in schools is going to be a constant one. After reading the article Religion in Schools Debate Heats Up, I have mixed feelings on the subject. The article states that the Texas curriculum currently requires students to explore and critique the strengths and weaknesses of all scientific theories. Students are not just able to question the Evolutionary Theory, but all scientific theories. I think that questioning and debating the different theories, allows for a deeper understanding of the information. I do not think that students should just take all the information we give them as teachers and educators and never question it. Even though what we teach them is factual, they need to be able to see it believe in it with their whole mind.

I personally believe in creationism, however I would never teach my beliefs on the subject in a public school system.I agree that it is considered unconstitutional and do not think creationism should be taught in public schools. However, I feel that it is our job as teachers and educators to create a learning environment that allows student to question and explore everything that is discussed in the classroom. If that brings up “hot topics”, I think the classroom should be a safe and nonthreatening place to hold those discussions. It is important for students to form their own beliefs and opinions.

The issue of the moment of silence was also discussed in the article. I feel that the option of a moment of silence is good to have. I think that if it is taken away, it conveys the message that it is not okay to pray to oneself in school, or to reflect in one’s own way. Students, who do not wish to participate, do not have to. They can read or use that time to get a few more seconds of studying in; and by seconds, I mean seconds, less than a minute! Can we really not give students a few seconds to think, reflect, pray or anything else they would like to do, quietly?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Education Innovators vs. "Makers" of Public School

After a recent first look through two websites that discussed education innovators and "makers" of public school, I initially thought yes, Horace Mann, John Dewey, Booker T. Washington and Deborah Meier are all great individuals who have greatly impacted public education. I also questioned how Andrew Carnegie, John D.  Rockefeller and Henry Ford had anything to do with education. Sure they were great business men and leaders of their industries, but how were they “makers” of public school. After further research I realized that both groups of people had a huge influence on education.

I really feel that Horace Mann was great innovator for public education. I think that he started what has since been built on, and is what we now have today. He thought that it was essential to have a group of people who oversaw the state’s public education and established the state board of education. He also placed importance on trained teachers and established training institutes for them.  Mann also thought that education was important enough to increase the school year from just a few months to 6 months.

After doing a little research I found that Henry Ford was not only the “master of the assembly line” but also the “father of industrial education”. He created the Henry Ford Trade School, which you can find out more about here . He took a very hands on approach to education to prepare students for the real world. I feel that Henry Ford was a great maker of education by trying to create “well-rounded adults”.  He tried to get his point across by using multiple ways of teaching, something that is now valued and sought after in today’s teachers.  

When I think about innovators, I think of someone who is updating something and making it more modern. Looking at the list of innovators, I feel that they were all great for their time; they took what they knew about public education and tried to modernize it for the better. The difference in the two is that the ‘makers” created something new, they didn’t just change or update something, they produced a new way to do things.  I think that both groups of people influenced public education for the better.