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 Post subject: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:26 am 
Nooch of Earl
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I've been seeing lots of good stuff lately on fb about schools, privilege, and being able to protect our kids and make sure they're getting an education. I know there's a privilege thread over in the parlor but thought it might be nice to have a place to post and talk about it here.

Obviously, I don't have personal experience with this stuff yet. But I have so many friends who encounter frustrations large and small in their school districts that I'm pretty nervous about what we'll encounter.


I thought this essay was good, about the disparity between parents able to volunteer and the rest of the school population:

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014 ... blogs&_r=0

Quote:
When my daughter started high school, I hoped students would plan their own events and that the dynamic that makes public school democratic — a place to confront the humanity of others — would prevail. Then I received an email outlining fees for girls who made cheerleading: $2,250. My daughter made the squad. So did her friend, whose mother requested a payment plan. No dice, said the organizers. Use a credit card. A payment plan would delay the order: multiple top-of-the-line uniforms per girl. I paid up, my emotions as divided as the student body. I felt happy for my daughter, yet guilty, complicit, thinking of girls who can’t afford to succeed.

A childless friend said to me: “You need to give that committee an earful.” Yet my daughter asked me not to object, not this time. She had worked hard to make cheerleading.

The problem is bigger than that. It’s an inescapable fact that extracurricular activities, which increase student investment in school, are planned by parents who have ample time and money, who sometimes lack insight into the lives of students whose parents don’t. I tried to advocate for these students. My empathy is tangible. Where exactly do you live again? a volunteer asked when I said pizza, not sushi.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:28 am 
Nooch of Earl
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And in bullying idiocy news, there are these tidbits:

http://jezebel.com/nebraska-school-give ... 1564016234

Quote:
Zeman Elementary School fifth-graders were recently sent home with a flyer to help teach them how to act if they're being bullied. It's more shitty than you can possibly ever imagine. Here's just a few of the highlights:

Rule #7: Do not tell on bullies. The number one reason bullies hate their victims, is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?
Rule #8: Don't be a sore loser.
Rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get "hooked" by put-downs. Make a joke out of it or agree with the put-down. For example: "If you think I'm ugly, you should see my sister!"



http://www.vocativ.com/culture/society/ ... retapping/

Quote:
After being regularly shoved and tripped, and nearly burned with a cigarette lighter, a tormented special-needs student in Pennsylvania decided to take matters into his own hands. He secretly recorded the abuse on his school-issued iPad, and his mother eventually submitted the evidence to the school’s principal. But instead of punishing the teenage tyrants caught on tape, administrators decided to call the police, who threatened the 15-year-old boy with felony wiretapping, but later reduced the charge to disorderly conduct. He was found guilty on March 19.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:47 am 
Heeeerrrrree's JACKY!
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annak wrote:
And in bullying idiocy news, there are these tidbits:

http://jezebel.com/nebraska-school-give ... 1564016234

Quote:
Zeman Elementary School fifth-graders were recently sent home with a flyer to help teach them how to act if they're being bullied. It's more shitty than you can possibly ever imagine. Here's just a few of the highlights:

Rule #7: Do not tell on bullies. The number one reason bullies hate their victims, is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?
Rule #8: Don't be a sore loser.
Rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get "hooked" by put-downs. Make a joke out of it or agree with the put-down. For example: "If you think I'm ugly, you should see my sister!"



http://www.vocativ.com/culture/society/ ... retapping/

Quote:
After being regularly shoved and tripped, and nearly burned with a cigarette lighter, a tormented special-needs student in Pennsylvania decided to take matters into his own hands. He secretly recorded the abuse on his school-issued iPad, and his mother eventually submitted the evidence to the school’s principal. But instead of punishing the teenage tyrants caught on tape, administrators decided to call the police, who threatened the 15-year-old boy with felony wiretapping, but later reduced the charge to disorderly conduct. He was found guilty on March 19.



That turned my stomach.
My oldest daughter (who was 14 at the time) was bullied out of our neighborhood high school. The worst was having a bible thrown at her head. I went to the admin and their official stance was that it was Alex's own fault for being out.

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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:33 pm 
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This is a great thread (with some truly depressing subject matter)! We think a lot about school for our children though I don't really have many intelligent thoughts to add to the discussion. I'm following a lot of the standardized testing/opt-out news and recently read Diane Ravitch's book Reign of Error. Part of me wants to homeschool, part of me wants to get rich and do Montessori school, and the rest of me thinks that it is incredibly selfish for those with privilege to remove their children from the public school system to leave the rest of the country to work it out. I feel like we are probably the kind of parents who can ensure our kids will do fine wherever they end up going to school, and that if everyone was more invested in our public schools, especially those with means, things could get a lot better. But I don't know if that is incredibly naive. And I would really hate for our kids' passion, creativity, love of learning, and emotional health to be sacrificed on the altar of our good intentions, especially since there is so much bullying and lack of support for victims in the news lately.

Our local schools aren't great but I feel okay about giving them a shot. However, we might move back to Chicago in a few years and I'm especially nervous about attending CPS. There's the option of testing into gifted/talented programs and selective enrollment high schools (check out this documentary preview for an interesting look at a top public high school in Chicago and the selective enrollment process) but I don't want to stress my kids out with the insane pressure of admission standards and standardized testing.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:05 pm 
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I would worry most about science. Because science is not a reportable lower grade testing category for the purposes of federal dollars, many schools are cutting or eliminating science and social studies in order to focus on boosting math and reading. They supposedly integrate these subjects into math and reading, but that doesn't work well in practice. Kids need hands on science experience! Everybody knows this, but test scores are more important.

Kids with parents who instill a love of learning are going to be ok in any school. For high school, I'm a huge fan of dual enrollment programs. I did that myself and loved it. Why putz around in high school classes with all the inherent limitations when you can take community college classes instead? I had to work to pay for that myself, but these days there are funding programs available so it's a viable option for a lot more kids.

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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:15 pm 
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my husband recently said we need to move in the next 5 years before BabyPunk starts school because the schools in our town suck. i think through School Choice she might be able to go to school in the town next to us but my husband seems to think it's only marginally better.

unless we rob a bank or win Powerball we would never be able to afford private school in MA but we probably could afford to move to a town with a better school system.

it's really sad that not everyone can get an equal education. i swear sometimes i think i just want to homeschool BP since all i hear is crappy stuff about schools. in MA they pretty much for kids to take a test called the MCAS so teachers have that shoved down their throats that kids have to get high scores on that. im sure it's a similar situation in most states just a different name for the test.

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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:01 pm 
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I worked at an after-school program for a year at a school in a very impoverished area and then for a year at a school in an upper middle class area and probably nothing has ever made me more angry.

I really wish all those auctions that schools with parents with money throw would split the proceeds with a school that can't do that kind of thing. I mean, obviously it's a systemic problem and we should not need auctions at all. But it's pretty crazy how much money schools can bring in when the parents can pay thousands of dollars for a class art project, or how much money they can get selling scrip for Whole Foods and whatnot.

(This is such a silly tiny thing, but if you have a store rewards card you can register with a school, or anything like that, you don't have to register it with your neighborhood school or the school your kids go to! Why not register it with a school that is really struggling?)

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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:01 pm 
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I honestly don't know what I'm going to do about schooling. Like LisaPunk's husband, my partner has suggested moving in the next five years. Today I learned that something like 30% of SF send their kids to private schools (a figure which lines up with the tech sector) - and tuition averages 30k a year. I can't even.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:00 pm 
Heeeerrrrree's JACKY!
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I was just sent home paperwork for Shorty's 8th grade graduation. Because this is the only school in town with such a dramatic income level difference the school has been proactive and said that the kids have a different dress code (no formal wear) and NO RENTING LIMOS. Because they want all the kids to come, to feel including and for the entire environment to be one of unity. The quote that makes me the happiest is "Limos create an atmosphere and expectations that is not suitable for this celebration"

Why does this matter? This is the only neighborhood school set (k-12) that has the poorest kids with the wealthiest. And very very few middle income families. There is the wealthiest neighborhood literally 1/2 a mile from the middles school with the lowest income subsidized housing directly across the street from the high school. The schools are less than 1/4 mile apart.

I am glad that the school team is taking this approach. I will miss this school next year. The high school is not known for doing anything that helps the poorer students.

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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:40 am 
Nooch of Earl
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We don't yet know where we'll be living during V's school years or how much moving we'll be doing (it depends on whether my husband stays in the Navy after he hits 20 years, and we are undecided). But there are definitely large naval areas with schools that have a poor reputation. I believe in making public schools as good as possible but I also don't want to compromise my daughter's education, and I hope we can find reasonable choices. It's something a lot of my friends are struggling with - whether to stay where they are and try to navigate a public school system that is stretched in a lot of directions, stretch to pay for private school, or just move out to suburbs with better-regarded public school systems. I'm not sure how much difference it actually makes. It's something that I'm finding difficult to navigate as a parent; in California, even the best suburban school districts have largely defunded a lot of subjects that aren't considered necessities.


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 Post subject: Re: Schools and privilege/inequality/justice
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:56 pm 
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kfad, that is so awesome.

i have a lot of grumpy thoughts on this topic as a teacher and a parent. however, what i will say is that no matter how bad the school is, it seems like the child's capacity to deal with it and come out on the other side as a thinking, caring person seems to really rely on the character you build when they are young and your participation at home. (obvious exception that kid in PA, which is just a horrifying story). 99% of the time when something maddening happens our advice to Baggy is just put up with it for now, instead of running to the school board/counselor/lawyer etc (when we probably could). The outcome is just too uncertain. BUT we do regularly talk about what happens in school and I take a very active interest. I am very concerned and we take action where we feel it is necessary (in the absence of a strong math program, for example, we do supplemental work, when a teacher used some racist terms we talked about how she could deal with it.).

ETA: Guess I should specify I'm more talking about privilege/justice stuff and not really coursework or content, the math thing was not a great example.

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