Global Warming, yes!

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If each of us does just one thing to reduce our carbon footprint, imagine what the headlines would be.

As future teachers we have accepted the responsibility to launch our students to become responsible global citizens. I believe that together we can all make a difference and preserve our planet. Similar to diet and exercise it takes a daily commitment.  So make sure to turn off that light when you leave the room and take the grocery bags with you to the supermarket next time you shop for food.

Relevancy, collaborative, and hipster appeal

Nearly two years have elapsed since the first class of the Master’s program. In developing a lesson plan Dr. T emphasized the importance of making the message relevant to the student. Additionally, last semester, Dr. Thoms’ catchphrase was, ‘…if it doesn’t matter to the student, it doesn’t matter.’ This course has been extremely relevant. I have developed a different perspective on teaching my future students. First, I feel fortified with a strong toolkit of applications that will enhance not only the delivery of instruction, but the mastery of subject matter. Second, while one of the express purposes of the tools we have utilized is to teach the students to collaborate, I have also learned more about collaboration, and how to reach out and learn from thought leaders and subject matter experts. The expression of one door opening another works here, in that one link leads to another interesting and helpful link. The only downside is that you may never leave the keyboard.

If there was an actual rating for a hipster scale, I feel that my score has been elevated as a result of this class. The ability to leverage the digital and social media with ease is certainly a required skill when working with school-aged children. Additionally, now that I feel better prepared, I believe that I can guide my future students online to mitigate bonehead moves.

Thank you Professor Knight for your positive attitude and enthusiasm, as well as your offer to help us in the future.

..what Jack Nicholson said

             I love movies, and sometimes a movie quote just hits the nail on the head, like Jack Nicholson’s famous remark, “You can’t handle the truth,” in A Few Good Men.

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            The above picture describes my initial reaction after reading the three articles on equity. The collective we love to talk about divides; gender divide, income divide, race divide, and now the digital divide. Can’t we call it just like it is; rather it’s a discussion between the haves and the have-nots.

             Wouldn’t it be more honest, and simple to say that being poor stinks in so many ways? We need to look at the child and the family holistically, rather than just give them a computer and internet access.

             Not too long ago I attended an education summit. There were workshops, lectures, and many groups describing how their programs/initiatives benefited children. The greatest takeaway I had was from the keynote speaker. The gentleman had grown up in the Bronx attended New York City public schools and was African American. He grew up in what would be described as modest circumstances and was strongly supported by his parents and siblings. He went on to a successful career at Harvard dedicated to education. So with all that he basically said the greatest influence in a child’s success is the parents’ background. If the parents value education, then they will instill that in their children. It’s not rocket science, rather simple arithmetic. The parents that have more resources can do more for their children. However, just because the parents have the goods, doesn’t not translate that they will devote their resources to their children.

          I recently read many studies on gifted education as well as a review of the FCPS Advance Academics program (AAP). The researchers found that there was a cottage industry developed on getting kids into the AAP. My biggest surprise was that the researchers were surprised that they were actually surprised by this phenomenon.

             So, what does all of this have to do with my reaction to the Study: Free computers don’t close the rich poor education gap, Digital Divide Is ‘Major Challenge’ In Teaching Low-Income Students, Survey Finds and Law, software fuel new ‘digital divide’ . The authors did a respectable job of pointing out that throwing money at the problem ultimately does not fix the problem. The overall problem is poverty. Money certainly helps, but what I saw that is truly needed is people, caring people. Sticking a computer program in front of a student with a help function that doesn’t help is useless. Would it be possible for the neighboring companies to provide mentors to help these students? As lovely as it would be to try to get the parents of these students more involved, more engaged, it just may not be feasible. The homes that these children come from do not resemble the middle class suburban homes that most of us are familiar with.

             I know that what I am saying is part of a much bigger problem. However, I feel that labeling the problem with low-income students as the digital divide is a misnomer. Rather, than spending boatloads of money on computer programs, spend the money on programs and people to actually work with the children. I submit there will be many more benefits than a passing score on a state mandated test.

Malala Day – July 14

Malala Yousafzai

In https://twitter.com/NEAToday/media and @MalalaFund

“If you want to end war, then instead of sending guns, send books. Instead of sending tanks, send pens. Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers.”

-Malala Yousafzai

July 14, 2014 was Malala Day in honor of Malala Yousafzai. Unless you’re under the proverbial rock, everyone knows that Malala was the brave young Pakistani girl who was nearly fatally shot simply because she spoke up and out for girls’ education in her country. Interestingly enough, July 14th is also Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the French Prison, the Bastille. This day marked the beginning of the French revolution. The similarities are very strong, Malala stands for freedom and equality, as did the French revolutionaries.

Her simple statement of 25 words to end war using education demonstrates illustrates describes wisdom beyond her 17 years. I have always believed education to be the great equalizer, a boundless source of opportunities. Given the US system of public education it is possible to raise someone out of poverty to independence.

Malala’s message goes beyond ending poverty, but all out strife and war.

Her words should be echoed at every school in the country. Is there a way to reverse the sense of entitlement to gratification? Here in Fairfax County Public Schools we live in the third wealthiest county in the nation. Our children do not ride the school bus in fear that they may be shot, simply for the reason that they want to go to school and get an education, and no one should ever be in that situation.

So, next time we enjoy our Fourth of July picnics and fireworks, we should think 10 days out and thank Malala.

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