Sunday, April 20, 2014

Empowering Education:Education In Politics Connections

Before I even begin this blog post, I just have to say that I can’t believe it is our last blog for FNED. Time went by so fast! When I found out that we were supposed to blog as a requirement for the class, I was so nervous about the idea of other people reading what I wrote, but now it feels kind of weird knowing that we don't have another bog post due next week, I had gotten used to it. I appreciated this experience a lot! 

Now getting to the reading: I have to say that this article was a nice way to end the semester. It brought everything together, and it was just great how in my mind I could see connections of past readings we have done. I just think is awesome how we have become better readers and more informed people about what is really going on in the eduction field. Although  I always  knew how education is political, this article definitely  helped me see in more detail how much politics is behind what we teach out students and what they lean from school. 

For this week’s blog I have decided to do a connections post. While I was reading, McIntosh and Finn were always in my mind. I could see their ideas reflected in what Shor was explaining  in detail. 

One of the things that really stuck my mind was how “the choice of subject matter cannot be neutral “ what we learn is all chosen by the people who give us funding, which is the government. They decide “which groups are included and which are left out of the reading list or test, from whose point of view is the past and present examined, and which themes are emphasized  and which not, along with many more decisions. I can relate to this because all throughout elementary school we learn about the great Christopher Columbus, what his journey was and what he accomplished in discovering the New World, all throughout the history books in my public schooling, I learned about what he did for humanity, but honestly he didn't do anything else but to harm people. I learned this in college, I was asked to read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, where the point of view is not the same as from the ones we get in  our history books, but rather we see things from the perspective of the minorities, of the people being hurt. From that book I learned that Columbus was not a hero, but a villain, who killed people just because  he wanted their gold, forgetting about their value as human beings. This power that the government has over us, and the students of this nation reminded me of McIntosh, and how she talked about privilege that white people experience due to their race, but I further connected it to the privilege that the upper class of this nation has, because  they control what everyone else in this nation sees and learns. McIntosh talked about how “when [she] was told about our national heritage or about civilization , [she] was shown that people of [her] color made it what it is” and that she is sure “that [her] chidden  will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race” and all of this is because of the power that the government has over us, and their ability to choose what students learn or at least what they want them to learn although it might not always be true. Keeping this system the way it is, just guarantees that the social classes remain the way they are and that the least advantaged remain to be so.

Finn, was always in my mind as I read this article. Just as Shor said, “Politics reside not only  in subject matter but in the discourse of the classroom, [and] in the way teachers and students speak to each other”. This reminded me of when Finn talked about the working-class schools, “Where knowledge was presented as fragmented facts isolated from wider bodies of meaning and from the lives and experiences  of the students”. Finn also talked about the lack of participation of students, which a key in education just as Shor described. Shor says that politics in present in “what the teachers say about the subject matter, [in how] students  respond to each others’s remarks, [and if ] they are asked  to think critically about the material and to see knowledge  as a field of contending interpretations” among many more things, which are not present in working-class schools that Finn described. Finn stated how in these poor schools the opposite of what Shor recommends takes place, because there is “little decision making [by the students] and teachers rarely explained why work was being assigned or how it was connected to other assignments”. From what Finn described we can see that what we tack in working-class schools is what McLaren, in Shor’s article describes as “a curriculum designed to empower students [that is]  transformative in nature and help[s] students to develop the knowledge, skills, and values needed to become social critics who can make reflective decisions and implement their decisions in effective personal, social, political, and economic action”, that way we can break the cycle and create students to learn about new opportunities for them in order to change their economic or social statuses thus breaking the cycle of the status quo that  the people in power want to keep in place. 

As for discussion points, I would like to talk about ways in which us future educators can make the curriculum a  better experience for our students, and helping them make more our of it than what it is intended. 

Here is an Article that talks about how the new Common Core Curriculum won't fix the many problems that the American schools face. 


  1. Oh Maritza, what a great job you did with this post. You are a wise old soul, and you will make a difference. I wish you great success, you will shine!

  2. Great job on your post this week! I really liked what you wrote and the pictures too! I can't believe this is the last blog either....time flew by this semester!! Nice work!

  3. The connections you made between Shor and McIntosh and Finn were really awesome. I like how you made the jump from racism to classism in regards to McIntosh, because privilege is privilege no matter the context. And as a history major, I really love the fact that you talked about Howard Zinn. That book is one of my favorites, so it's great to hear that other people have been exposed to it. Great job!