stephanie jones

Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

School kids rappin’ and rockin’ the vote!

In creativity, democracy, language, politics, professional development resources, social action, teacher education resources on October 22, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Check out this video on YouTube of a classroom of students informing and inspiring an adult crowd to vote. Thanks to Susan Bell, one of my undergrads, for sending it to me!

Stop the attacks on William (Bill) Ayers!

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Many of you have now heard of Bill Ayers as a “terrorist” who has tried to destroy our country from the inside out. You must know, however, that he is an incredibly well-respected education scholar who is also the vice-president-elect of the largest and most prestigious educational research association: American Educational Research Association (AERA). This alone should tell you how folks in the field of education feel about him..

It’s one thing to try to attack Barack Obama’s character through misleading accusations and lies, it’s another thing entirely to drag a man’s name through the mud over and over and over without anyone publicly speaking out on his behalf.

If you would like to know more about Bill Ayers or show your support for him, click here.

Grandmas for Obama

In Uncategorized on October 8, 2008 at 12:36 pm

It’s no secret that i am an Obama supporter, so I’ll get right to the point:

One of my grandmas called me this morning to wish me happy birthday (happy birthday to me…) and we talked for a very long time about the debates, Obama, McCain, Palin, the healthcare crisis, job losses, etc.

She and her friends – all retired and living in the Battleground State of Ohio – are enthusiastic supporters of Obama. In fact, in her words, they see McCain as dangerous to our national security (more wars), clueless about how most people live, dangerous about healthcare, and clueless about the impact of job losses. So many factories have shut down in Ohio over the last few years and even more are shutting down faster right now. They think he is an “old” 78-years and if something happened to him they would be horrified for Palin to run the country. They also believe McCain selected Palin because she’s a woman, proving how “out of touch” he is, not only with young people but even with women in his own generation.

Go grandmas!!!

Here’s another great inquiry opportunity: are there generation gaps in the support lining up behind each candidate?

We’re hearing so much about the “youth” getting involved – what about the retirees who are McCain’s age? Where are they standing?


Rockin’ the Vote! New voters, critical literacies, and K-12 education

In communities, critical literacy, democracy, high school, inquiry, justice, politics, professional development resources, social action on October 7, 2008 at 10:43 pm

The energy is pervasive – conservatives and liberals alike are just buzzing with constant chitter chatter about debates, advertisements, polls, pundits, and SNL.

We keep hearing about historic numbers of new voters being registered across the country (check out this video from Free Speech TV) and this seems to be the perfect time to inject our K-16 education system with some real political education. If every public education student could leave high school understanding the fundamental philosophies (social and economic) of different parties in the U.S. and feeling a sense of urgency regarding political engagement, I’d say we would be heading in the right direction. No wonder we have several generations of politically apathetic folks (including my own generation and many dear friends) – we have nearly erased real political education from K-12 education since WWII, leaving millions of people feeling things must be “fine” the way they are, so why bother?

My first grader went along with me to register new voters over the weekend – the final weekend to register in Georgia – and she had a ball. I made sure to give her the lecture about what “nonpartisan” means and that she should not mention either candidate to anyone. Instead she created tables of “registered/not registered” and made tallies to represent folks’ responses to us. She also made posters and hung them up pleading, “Please Vote,” and paced back and forth singing her ever-changing song that included lyrics like, “Please vote and help our country be happier, help us save our charities, help us be a better country…” and on and on. She loved having a real audience – something we can make happen for kids everywhere…

What could kindergarteners and first graders do in their schools? How can we inspire them to not only pay attention to current social and economic issues but also to think deeply about various “solutions” offered to us through candidates’ perspectives?

Here are some ideas off the top of my head that might be fun in various k-12 settings:

-Critical readings of television advertisements: What is the purpose of each campaign’s ads? How are they positioning one another? How are they positioning American voters? Are they talking about issues? Distracting from issues? How would students re-write those advertisements?

-Collect newspaper and magazine articles, Internet videos, etc. to share during “show and tell” (or similar sharing times during the day). Get students talking about these things every day.

-Research voter registration strategies by different groups and come up with new strategies for a local push for registration even after this election (there will be more elections folks!)

-Graph new voter registration state-by-state, then compare that to the turnout on Election Day.

-Research “early voting” rules in different states and compare them, thinking about issues of equity and access.

-Research “election day voting” in different states and compare the rules, thinking about issues of equity and access, including people who are in jail and/or people who have served their sentences.

-Brainstorm, more than one time, the reasons why it’s so important that people vote – AND – why so many people have decided not to vote in the past.

-Create brochures, films, email messages, speeches, posters, songs, artwork, and other texts to motivate people to vote in this election – and in the local elections that will also be coming up soon.

-Research any other issues or candidates that will be on the ballot in November and construct texts to advertise those issues beyond the Presidential Election.

Have Fun and let’s Rock the Vote starting with our youngest future voters…

Social class, education reform, and political affiliation

In justice, politics, poverty, social class, teacher education resources on October 7, 2008 at 10:08 pm

I’m a little behind on my reading these days, but there were two terrific articles in NYT magazine a few weeks ago.

Check this one out, by Paul Tough (he’s redeeming himself with all this work on Geoffrey Canada), that argues it takes more than traditional “school” to change the opportunities and achievement of children from poor families. I hate the in-fighting of progressives/liberals about what is best for public education, and this short piece spells out some of those arguments as well as setting up what Obama’s plan may be and the challenges he would face if elected.

And here’s another from the same issue by David Frum looking at the impact of income inequality within a particular geopolitical region and political persuasion. This is a very interesting analysis and may surprise some of you – some of it certainly surprised me.

How do these two articles relate to the issues in your communities? How about in your schools? Two more great pieces to animate talk around social class, disparity, and social/educational reform.

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