Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

jld

About education in India . . .

Recommended Posts

What happens later in Finland? There is this video on the BBC's website, but the students shown are not very old.

 

(I think Japanese elementary schools are rather interesting but change dramatically in style in middle and high school, so one should judge the whole age range.)

 

Here is the Finnish ministry of education's website (English version).

 

This has been a fascinating thread! I find it very interesting that the Finnish schools spend the least amount of time doing "school" and yet they get an amazing education. I love the no shoes, casual, team work approach. It also struck me how well the teachers know their students and how team work rather than competition is the driving force so to speak. This team work seems to extend to the teachers. All of them with masters and with three in a classroom. How much fun would that be to teach like that!!! The teachers aren't isolated, they work together and can feed off of each other. I'll bet teaching would appeal to people a lot more if it was that way here. They didn't talk about class size - I don't think - but it appeared to be a very small class.

 

Happy and engaged teachers, involved parents, happy kids - all key elements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But just as my great high school in NY is not repeated at all schools across our country (nor subpar one I teach at) nor is your experience with German schools. The exchange student we hosted was placed in Calc here, yet she had never, ever done any trig functions at all. She said they were in the back of her book, but the teacher never got to them. Doing Calc was a struggle for her, but she did manage to get a 3 on the AP test at the end of the year. There's no way she would have been able to stay in the course if I hadn't been able to help at home as she had a lot of catching up to do. Had I known it, she wouldn't have even started the course here, but I went off her report of what she had done. Then too, she was astounded that my then elementary aged kids were studying the solar system in school. She said she never recalled studying that at all and didn't even know the number of planets there were. My oldest was in 3rd grade and she couldn't believe many of the things in their science book. They did have bits and pieces of various sciences as you mention, but parts are certainly left out.

 

We have a student in our school now from Germany who has been placed (accurately) in Alg 2. I haven't asked him which track he was/is on in Germany though. I do know he only has one year left when he returns. We have another in Chemistry who is learning right along with our students. If she's seen the things they are doing before, it isn't obvious from her work.

 

Out of all of our exchange students I've met (approx 5 per year, 10 years - so roughly 50 here, plus a couple I distinctly remember in my high school growing up), exactly one has been absolutely top of the top superb academically. She'd have done well wherever she went. The majority fit right in with our top 10% to where you wouldn't know the difference other than language issues (which isn't such a big deal in math). A few are in our lower top 25%. The German boy that is here now is the first we've ever put in Alg 2 I believe. Most get in Calc, Stats, Pre-Calc or College Alg - pretty much the same as college bound students here. Granted at the school I teach at the actual education they are getting here is subpar compared to a good school with the same named classes, but even then, only one has truly outshined all but one of our native students in the 10 -11 year history I've been here.

 

I don't doubt that schools like you've experienced exist just as the high school I attended existed and regularly sent out top students. However, it's not that way at all schools from what I've seen. By name and idea, it's probably true. By learned and remembered material, not necessarily so much.

 

And I agree with you about languages. I very much wish the US would allow languages to be learned much earlier when it comes naturally to students. At the high school of my youth, we started French (or Latin) in 7th grade and continued through 12th. Here where I teach, students can only start their language in 9th grade. At one nearby public school students start French and Spanish in 1st grade. I was hopeful a trend would start, but it hasn't happened yet.

 

Incidentally, our best academic exchange students tend to come from China...even though they have the biggest language difficulties at first. They really put in the time and effort to glean all they can and surpass what teachers require in homework with their outside study. But I'm not saying we should copy their system. I just agree with those that wonder what we need to do to compete with them in the future. We haven't had a student from India. The bulk of ours come from Germany, then other countries in Europe, Asia, South America, and Mexico (all in order of numbers). We also have many students who have immigrated from Mexico and Bosnia, but they are in a different category (almost always in lower level classes). Exchange students usually have to be near the top educationally in their school to get accepted.

 

The thing is you can't really judge the level of math of a system by what level students place outside of their system during the growing years. I think you need to judge by what comes out at the end.

 

I grew up in France, my daughter is studying algebra 1 with Foerster right now and in her books are concepts I didn't study till 11th grade (quadratic equation) so I had come to the US at the beginning of 11th grade I probably would have been consider behind however by the end of 12th grade we had done calculus (probably about the equivelent of AB calculus, maybe a little more). Also my track was focusing on math/science (I hae a degree in mechanical engineering) so this is the most math you can get in a French high school, kids focusing on litterature, obviously don't take that much math (they had 6-7 hours of philosophy instead)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The thing is you can't really judge the level of math of a system by what level students place outside of their system during the growing years. I think you need to judge by what comes out at the end.

 

I grew up in France, my daughter is studying algebra 1 with Foerster right now and in her books are concepts I didn't study till 11th grade (quadratic equation) so I had come to the US at the beginning of 11th grade I probably would have been consider behind however by the end of 12th grade we had done calculus (probably about the equivelent of AB calculus, maybe a little more). Also my track was focusing on math/science (I hae a degree in mechanical engineering) so this is the most math you can get in a French high school, kids focusing on litterature, obviously don't take that much math (they had 6-7 hours of philosophy instead)

 

At the end, I think the top students from good schools in these countries all can compete with each other... but maybe those in China and India would surpass our NM commended students. Who knows?

 

At my high school we regularly had students who got 5's on the AP test in Calc before going off to college. They needed to do so to get in to the top colleges. At the school where I teach now, we don't even offer the AP test any longer (stopped about 5 years ago). I recall 3 kids who got 4's or 5's in my early days of teaching. Schools vary considerably.

 

Kids picking their classes (here) has the same effect of tracking students by preference or ability in France. One major difference is kids in a similar track here don't take all the same classes together as they do in France (as per exchange students). I picked my classes to head toward a science future. My senior year I had three science classes (AP Bio - got a 5), Physics, and Microbio. I loved that year. Otherwise I had AP English (4), AP US History (4), Pre-Calc (I had taken a year off from math my junior year, I honestly don't recall why.), French and PE. I don't recall any other student having my exact same schedule as all kids on a certain track in France would have.

 

All that said... I just finished with a low level class of "math standard" kids who really don't want to be in school and I'm envious of the European system where they would be out of school by now (mostly juniors - 2 seniors). I also have two Stats classes. They are fun to teach. In the "math standards" class some of the kids are gems - the majority of those are immigrants from the Middle East. They are incredibly polite and eager to learn even when put into a class of "don't want to be here, don't care, and not afraid to tell you that" Americans. Unlike Europe, I'd let those kids stay and work to catch up, but I sure wish we could let the others move on.

 

I'd love to pick and choose and get the best "mix" of our respective systems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think 2mm is an interesting perspective - esp. in light of the book, "The Post American World." (another great recommendation from Nan - thanks, Nan!) I've just skimmed the thread so far but the reason I keep referring to 2mm is because I continually hear (irl) that if you are academically rigorous than your kids 1) don't have fun 2) aren't inspired 3) are repressed, etc. etc. My point is that you can have rigor and fun. In fact, sometimes fun is a result of rigor;).

I always felt restrained by my lack of study skills. 2mm shows the importance of them. No fear here. Just more food for thought as I continue to develop an educational pedagogy.

 

Looking forward to spending more time reading through this later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pixie, my dh is a French native also, and a mechanical engineer (UTC, 1989). He just hated his education in secondary school (surprise written exams, and very heavy course load--math/physics track). He is completely against tracking, and says it's important for all children to learn together.

 

He also told me that when he graduated from college, and got his first interview, the company sent him to a testing office in Paris. He was tested in all sorts of areas, and when he got his results, saw a 0 in Creativity. He was shocked and sort of embarrassed, but the tester told him not to mind, because all the engineers get 0s!

 

His displeasure with the French school system (known to be quite rigorous) is why he wanted us to homeschool. He thinks the project method is really important (he was talking to me about this 17 years ago), and just feels this can be implemented much more easily outside of a school setting.

 

Were you pleased with your education growing up? What made you decide to homeschool?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pixie, my dh is a French native also, and a mechanical engineer (UTC, 1989). He just hated his education in secondary school (surprise written exams, and very heavy course load--math/physics track). He is completely against tracking, and says it's important for all children to learn together.

 

He also told me that when he graduated from college, and got his first interview, the company sent him to a testing office in Paris. He was tested in all sorts of areas, and when he got his results, saw a 0 in Creativity. He was shocked and sort of embarrassed, but the tester told him not to mind, because all the engineers get 0s!

 

His displeasure with the French school system (known to be quite rigorous) is why he wanted us to homeschool. He thinks the project method is really important (he was talking to me about this 17 years ago), and just feels this can be implemented much more easily outside of a school setting.

 

Were you pleased with your education growing up? What made you decide to homeschool?

 

I actually like my educaion growing up, especially in high school. FINALLY I was learning something in a classroom that wasn't slowed down by kids who didn't want to be there or just plain didn't get it (that sounds mean but until 10th grade I was bored in school sitting there waiting for other people to learn the material). Yes the load is heavy but I thought it was worth it.

I am totally in favor of tracking, some kids are just not college material or they need time to mature to get there. There are plenty of bridges between tracks in the French system that allow motivated people on a vocationnal track to end up in a university or even engineering school (there was a guy in my graduation class in engineering that started on a vocationnal track in 8th grade and ended up with a degree in mechanical engineering). If you don't track you end up with kids who have no desire to be there and become behavior problems.

As far as creativity, I don't have a creative bone in my body nothing anyone could do about it :lol: but I had plenty of friends in enginerring school who were very creative, my roommate was writing short stories and novel in her spare time for example.

 

My kids have been in and out of ps. My oldest was homeschool k-3, we started because of a very poor school where we lived in Louisiana, when we moved to South Dakota we kept homeschooling until she asked to try school, she went for 4-5th grades (our local school was pretty nice). Then we spent last year in Louisiana so we homeschooled again.

This year we are in Utah (hopefully we are not moving anytime soon lol) and she goes to ps part-time and we homeschool part-time. I am actually homeschooling math and science because I don't think the school system here is rigourous enough, I spent the last year fixing bad habits she got from math classes in ps, I wasn't upon to send her right back in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just picked out a French physics text for 8th grade and it covers 3 topics - air, electricity and light. Some of the detail is greater than what one might get in say Physical Science and some is less... So my impression is that what we would call General Science for 7th grade or Physical Science for 8th grade has just been divided out into the different domains of biology, chemistry and physics and maybe earth sciences/astronomy can get left out altogether sometimes...

 

Joan

 

It might be that some topics are totally missed, or it might be a product of her school and just another topic that teacher "never got to" as with the Trig issue. I'm not sure. Considering Germany's prominence for science in general, I'd tend to lean toward a poor school or teacher(s).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He is completely against tracking, and says it's important for all children to learn together.

 

 

 

I've seen tracking and equality. Quite honestly, in my opinion and with testing results, tracking works better. I won't say it's perfect, but... my kids were bored in our elementary schools where no tracking was done. They much preferred being in reading and math groups with others of the same caliber.

 

Since the US doesn't divide up by schools as much of the world does, we absolutely need tracking at our high school level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Merci, Karine. Il me semble que tu et mon mari sont des opposes, completement. Mais vive la difference!

 

Dh says that one of his concerns about tracking is that when kids get out of school, they need to be able to work with other people, especially people who may not be at their intellectual level. He thinks that by being in classes with people of diverse abilities, kids will be better able to handle these differences. I don't know if this is true or not, but he seems to think so.

 

One thing that he's noticed here in India is that there is a lot of emphasis on the performance of the individual, but not of the team. It has been a challenge for him to build a team here, as that just doesn't seem to be the way people are used to operating.

 

I think 8 makes an important point when she says we first need to be competent on our own, then we can be contributing members to a team (you did say something like that, right, 8?). Interdependence first requires independence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dh says that one of his concerns about tracking is that when kids get out of school, they need to be able to work with other people, especially people who may not be at their intellectual level. He thinks that by being in classes with people of diverse abilities, kids will be better able to handle these differences. I don't know if this is true or not, but he seems to think so.

 

I think it's possible for a school to provide students at different intellectual levels opportunities to work together on teams without removing tracking.

 

My concern is that students who are beyond their peers academically can too easily become disenchanted with learning. School becomes a place to tolerate, not a place to thrive. I afterschool because my youngest's school teaches to the bottom one-third in several classes, and ds in in the upper third. Next year he'll be at a high school that offers tracking, and for that I'm thankful. If they didn't, I'd be homeschooling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He is completely against tracking, and says it's important for all children to learn together.

 

 

Unfortunately, this means that gifted students are not being educated if the teacher has to make sure the underperforming students get up to grade level.

I have not seen effective differentiation in a classroom of 25-30 students that actually allowed a gifted student to be challenged according to their abilities.

When I withdrew her from school, DD said: "Now that I don't have to go to school anymore, I can finally learn something."

 

Guess why we homeschool. If we lived in Germany, she would be attending public school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, when dh and I had this little conversation about tracking the other day, he did concede that he went through the French school system, not the American one, and so he realized Americans might see this differently.

 

I think one of his concerns about tracking, at least in French schools, is that he believes it reinforces the elitist nature of the schools, and, of course, the society.

 

Dh has commented that the caste system of India is similar to (well, of course in a more dramatic way) that of France. Dh believes that social hierarchies limit the progress of a nation, and that one of America's strengths is that, more than other countries, it allows people of ability to succeed, and not just people of a particular family. I realize this can be debated, but I do think he has a point.

 

At the same time, when it comes right down to it, people want their kid to get the best education possible. They don't want their time wasted. Tracking would seem to be the most efficient way to do this. I guess I would have to read more about it to really be informed on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dh has commented that the caste system of India is similar to (well, of course in a more dramatic way) that of France. Dh believes that social hierarchies limit the progress of a nation, and that one of America's strengths is that, more than other countries, it allows people of ability to succeed, and not just people of a particular family. I realize this can be debated, but I do think he has a point.

Maybe, but when will African Americans get out of the lowest caste?

 

According to a book I read recently, (I think What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know: A Report on the First National Assessment of History and Literature by Diane Ravitch) black students who speak another language at home way outpace English-only-speaking black students in standardized tests. I suspect that those black students in the first group have immigrant parents or rather unusual parents. Whereas African Americans sit at the bottom of every testing experience, have higher incarceration rates, lower saving rates, lower incomes, and the list goes on. All immigrants outpace them. What can be done to stop that? Something's burning in the "melting pot." Our current president is an interesting example: he was raised by his white relatives, is the son of an immigrant, and was raised in Hawaii.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jld I agree with your husband. One of the wonderful things about the US is that we don't have a caste system. Do we have racism, prejudism, socioeconomic classes? Unfortunately yes. But not a caste system where there is no hope of changing your circumstances based on the family you were born into. There is opportunity here and generally education is the way to access those opportunities.

 

Ignore my last post, I probably read things into a post that weren't there. :tongue_smilie:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ignored. ;)

 

Yes, a caste system is a real hindrance to society. I guess every society has one (even America has class issues), but fortunately it is not as much of an obstacle as in other countries. And even the bottom in America is at least middle class in many other parts of the world.

 

What I really find irritating is when someone holds up one superachiever, like a kid from the slums of some Indian city who stands outside the classroom because his mom was too poor to pay the tuition, and makes a fortune later on, and then people expect all poor Indian kids to do what he did. It is great that this kid was able to succeed, but that can't be the only path to success for poor kids. There have to be some wider roads, ifykwim. It's like relying on winning the lottery to finance your retirement. It might happen, but I hope there's a backup plan . . . And to be fair, India is becoming more and more conscious of the need to change the opportunities for the lower classes.

 

And, guess what? Dh told me the gov't wants to upgrade its health care system quite significantly, with universal coverage. His company will begin paying a tax soon on each worker to pay for it. And India is setting up some kind of national retirement system, too, that dh's company will be contributing too, in the name of each worker. I am really excited for India. It's doing so many good things, or at least seems to be trying to, that will improve life for its people.

 

And I'm proud of my dh, too, because he is going to talk to the president of the company about setting up a scholarship fund for children of the workers who want to go to high school and maybe even beyond. I think he's specifically targeting girls, but it may end up being boys, too. It's great to be a part of helping people improve their lives, especially when their circumstances are so very modest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I know what you mean. One has done it, so you can too even though in reality it would be easier to find a needle in a haystack.

 

It sounds like change is happening in India. I remember learning about the caste system in middle school and the image of how the "untouchables" lived never left me. I know a different term is used now, but their circumstances haven't changed much. They are the ones Mother Teresa and her Sisters of Charity ministered to. It sounds like some small parts of the puzzle are coming together to make this change possible.

 

What wonderful news about the health care and retirement benefits! And what a wonderful plan your husband has for the scholarship. Change here came slowly, and still has a long way to go, I'm sure it will take a lot of time for India as well, but they're definitely headed in the right direction. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm getting off track a bit here, but the documentary The New Heroes is worth watching if you haven't seen it already. It's probably my favorite. Very inspirational.

 

http://www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/about/

 

From the website:

 

THE NEW HEROES is a four-hour series, hosted by Robert Redford, which tells the dramatic stories of twelve social entrepreneurs who bring innovative, empowering solutions to the most intractable social problems around the world. Each story in this unique series illustrates the amazing changes that are possible when an innovative idea is coupled with optimism, a strategy for action, and a passionate belief in human potential.

 

 

That is really wonderful to hear what's happening in India, jld. I hope situations will continue to improve. (And, I agree with a lot of the points you're making.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm getting off track a bit here, but the documentary The New Heroes is worth watching if you haven't seen it already. It's probably my favorite. Very inspirational.

 

http://www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/about/

 

From the website:

 

 

 

That is really wonderful to hear what's happening in India, jld. I hope situations will continue to improve. (And, I agree with a lot of the points you're making.)

 

Thank you for this. Ds's aspiration is to be a social entreprenuer. This is a wonderful addition to his studies. :001_smile: My favorite quote is from Muhammad Yunus:

 

"What is this arrogance about the knowledge that you have, if it is not of some use to a dying person."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe, but when will African Americans get out of the lowest caste? When they choose to.

 

According to a book I read recently, (I think What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know: A Report on the First National Assessment of History and Literature by Diane Ravitch) black students who speak another language at home way outpace English-only-speaking black students in standardized tests. I suspect that those black students in the first group have immigrant parents or rather unusual parents. Whereas African Americans sit at the bottom of every testing experience, have higher incarceration rates, lower saving rates, lower incomes, and the list goes on. All immigrants outpace them. What can be done to stop that? Something's burning in the "melting pot." Our current president is an interesting example: he was raised by his white relatives, is the son of an immigrant, and was raised in Hawaii.

Black Americans are not in a caste system. My response to this may not be popular, and particularly not politically correct, but it will be honest. Let me preface with this: I have volunteered in organizations where black children make up 95+% of the population. My family attends an African Methodist Episcopalian church where we are the Only white family (a few white singles, 1 Hispanic woman). Without intention, we apparently brought a great deal of attention to our pastor b/c during the annual convention, my family attended...the only, Only, white folks in a weeks worth of attendance. I see, breathe and live in the black community and I can tell you this: in largest part, the community is fatherless; in largest part, education is left to public schools and the parents strongly believe the "it's the schools responsibility"; in largest part the community relies on government programs to afford general living (housing, education, food, utilities, child care) while they spend an enormous amount of money on nails, cell phones, name brand hand bags, and other vanity items, all the while living in horrid neighborhoods where Section 8 is prominent. Until the community at large decides to rebuild families and decrease government reliance (which is basically standing in for men, who would lead their families in stronger communities) there will be no change in the community. Grandmothers, who have little money, let their drug dealing grandchildren live in their homes for money. Baby mama drama is an accepted way of life. Those who "get out" take advantage of the plethra of opportunity through education and a few through athletics (and there is greater emphasis on athletics than education). Until the community at large decides to make better personal choices, they will remain in the bottom percentiles. There are pockets of this in white communities as well, a growing number in fact, but currently, this is what I see as the problem in black communities. Topped with drug abuse, these factors make for a horrid child rearing environment. Personal.Choice. I'm not sayin' it's easy to make those choices, I'm just sayin', until the community at large makes better choices, things will not change.

 

Jld I agree with your husband. One of the wonderful things about the US is that we don't have a caste system. Do we have racism' date=' prejudism, socioeconomic classes? Unfortunately yes. [b']But not a caste system where there is no hope of changing your circumstances based on the family you were born into. There is opportunity here and generally education is the way to access those opportunities. [/b]

 

Ignore my last post, I probably read things into a post that weren't there. :tongue_smilie:

Exactly. Opportunity exists, black Americans must choose to utilize those opportunities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not sayin' it's easy to make those choices, I'm just sayin', until the community at large makes better choices, things will not change.

 

Exactly. Opportunity exists, black Americans must choose to utilize those opportunities.

I am not agreeing in disagreeing with what you have to say, but there is a history of certain countries and ethnic groups to be deeply demolished and then the oppressors to stop and say, okay now, why aren't you better? This is true in many former colonies -- the damage is hard to undo. As it relates to education, which is what I was particularly focused on : most schools in predominantly black neighborhoods are hardly shining examples of excellence. That was my point.

 

Yes, individuals (children/students and their families) need to take responsibility AND there need to be structures there to support them. It can be very hard to figure things out on your own, and having an experience of how to deal with problems does help. I think it's in Outliers that profiles of how poorer people were stymied by administrative problems that basically derailed their careers. I think if you just look at how to get into college, it does take experience or guidance for a student to know all the steps way in advance to finish the coursework and register for tests etc in early fall, in order to attend college the next year. Those who aren't aware of this will suffer for their ignorance. That can be addressed. (It's an issue for those who want to be the first in their families to attend college more than an ethnic-specific issue.)

 

AND just like in India where people can usually figure out your background when they see you or hear your name, many white people can "tell" when someone is African American by name or voice, and there have been examples of how these people don't get as many calls or interest, as in France where having certain names (reflecting North African (typically Algerian) ancestry) and equal qualifications did lead to lower interest from potential employers. I know there are people who think black people are getting so many more advantages via affirmative action. But it is an issue that some people encounter that is not quite under their control because you can't change your skin color too easily.

 

I would like to point out one interesting program that was on PBS recently:

 

Three decades after it burned to the ground — and into the national consciousness — the South Bronx struggles to shake its reputation as a community in despair. But in the Morrisania neighborhood, one small school offers an example of the borough’s new beginning.

 

At the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (BCSM), principal Edward Tom stands outside on the school’s very first day, greeting each arriving student with a handshake and hug. A rookie principal who traded his financially lucrative career as a Saks Fifth Avenue executive for the less glamorous job as a public high school math teacher, Tom is committed to improving the lives of low-income kids of color. Often acting as a surrogate father figure, he uses motivation and discipline to get students to focus on a rigorous and meaningful education and become college-bound scholars. At BCSM, an 80 is a passing grade, not a 65. Mandatory after-school tutoring awaits all students not meeting the standard.

 

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/whatever-it-takes/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am not agreeing in disagreeing with what you have to say, I'm don't understand but there is a history of certain countries and ethnic groups to be deeply demolished and then the oppressors to stop and say, okay now, why aren't you better? This is true in many former colonies -- the damage is hard to undo. As it relates to education, which is what I was particularly focused on : most schools in predominantly black neighborhoods are hardly shining examples of excellence. That was my point. I actually believe that negative numbers are rising...an increase of childless fathers being born; and increase of incarceration and I'm not sure how that reflects damage being undone as much as it reflects accepted standards of living. The youth of this generation don't know much about the history of oppression of their people (they don't know much about history, period...social studies class doesn't lend much to that). They are as Americanized as Chad and Billy Wonderbread, so while I can appreciate it takes time for cultures to recover from oppression (really, I can), I don't think oppression is the problem in predominantly black schools, with which I am strongly familiar.

 

The teacher's there will say the problems all start at home (lack of personal discipline, no appreciation for education, importance of many things but not education, little to no parental involvement). Money is funneled into those schools. Our local, predominantly black school flies the gifted flag, so weekly the GT students come to the school. More money for the school :) The boy I tutor was a candidate for GT, but his behavior kept him from the class (his attitudes and behavior are quite reflective of ghetto culture).

 

Yes, individuals (children/students and their families) need to take responsibility AND there need to be structures there to support them. It can be very hard to figure things out on your own, and having an experience of how to deal with problems does help. I think it's in Outliers that profiles of how poorer people were stymied by administrative problems that basically derailed their careers. I think if you just look at how to get into college, it does take experience or guidance for a student to know all the steps way in advance to finish the coursework and register for tests etc in early fall, in order to attend college the next year. Those who aren't aware of this will suffer for their ignorance. That can be addressed. (It's an issue for those who want to be the first in their families to attend college more than an ethnic-specific issue.) I completely agree. My post in the money for ps thread reflects that I knew nothing about college or anything beyond poverty myself, but the encouragement of teachers and all the brew-ha-ha of Just Say No, YMCA, Safe Sex, etc. (funded programs, ie. structures of support) were So.Very. in my face, as they are in the face of ps children now, I was aware of the opportunity. I chose to take the opportunity (personal choice) and as a result, I broke the chain in my family. I'm the first person in my family to graduate high school, go to college, and stay out of jail or rehab.

 

AND just like in India where people can usually figure out your background when they see you or hear your name, many white people can "tell" when someone is African American by name or voice, and there have been examples of how these people don't get as many calls or interest, as in France where having certain names (reflecting North African (typically Algerian) ancestry) and equal qualifications did lead to lower interest from potential employers. I know there are people who think black people are getting so many more advantages via affirmative action. But it is an issue that some people encounter that is not quite under their control because you can't change your skin color too easily. No, you can't change skin color too easily; however the black community is Not the only culture to face this blatant kind of prejudice. My family faces it when we enter the black communities. Someone actually asked me what I knew about struggle. "You're white. What do you know about struggle?" The list was long and in the end, she realized people are people and her prejudice was as deeply rooted as the prejudice she so hated. I heard a whisper, "Why does she need to join 'our' church. Don't her people have their own?" From "christian" people...really? My children's friends think b/c they're white they must have everything and those children are shocked when they find out they dress "better" and have more games and toys than my children. We have a black president here and it doesn't matter who raised him, if his skin color was a deep rooted issue in this country, he wouldn't be living on PA Ave. I do not believe, for one second that the skin color of a person affords a "less than" life in this country. I think the comparison of India's cast system and black culture in America is apples and oranges.

 

I would like to point out one interesting program that was on PBS recently:

 

Three decades after it burned to the ground — and into the national consciousness — the South Bronx struggles to shake its reputation as a community in despair. But in the Morrisania neighborhood, one small school offers an example of the borough’s new beginning.

 

At the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics (BCSM), principal Edward Tom stands outside on the school’s very first day, greeting each arriving student with a handshake and hug. A rookie principal who traded his financially lucrative career as a Saks Fifth Avenue executive for the less glamorous job as a public high school math teacher, Tom is committed to improving the lives of low-income kids of color. Often acting as a surrogate father figure, he uses motivation and discipline to get students to focus on a rigorous and meaningful education and become college-bound scholars. At BCSM, an 80 is a passing grade, not a 65. Mandatory after-school tutoring awaits all students not meeting the standard.

 

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/whatever-it-takes/

This is my point, really....father figure, high standards, with actual consequences for accepting less than in life. If this were the norm in the black communities, the face of their culture would change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much, Tina and stripe, for these posts. They are very thought-provoking.

 

Class can limit people, unfortunately, in many ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...