Education: I hold a bachelor's of arts in politics, philosophy, and economics and a master's in elementary education. I am professionally certified in elementary education, special education, middle school humanities I and II, middle school math, and middle school science.
Profession: I currently teach in a middle school (6-8), emotional / behavioral disability (E/BD) sitting. I have been teaching since 2014. Before that I worked as an emergency medical technician for thirteen years in an urban and suburban area.
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Standardized tests measure affluence over ability, and males of all races have more behavior problems than their female counterparts due to delayed executive functioning development. The only reason this is a story is because we have so much standardized testing that we can now provide data to something that has most likely always been the case.
Note, it doesn't say that black males cannot read. It says that black males are not proficient at reading. Go take a crack at the SBA practice test sometime and tell me a kid who is hungry and who is exposed to hard living circumstances can be rated as proficient, or even basic on that test.
Fair warning, you won't get a grade at the end, so you just have to self-assess how awesome you are ... or aren't ... in preparation for the real test.
I am not familiar with Blue Highways, but I will check it out. To the library! (Thank you!)
This got me thinking about Steinbeck's Travels with Charley. It is a relatively light read, and is very good. After reading your post I am going to give it another read.
- Travels with Charley: In Search of America is a travelogue written by American author John Steinbeck. It depicts a 1960 road trip around the United States made by Steinbeck, in the company of his standard poodle, Charley. Steinbeck wrote that he was moved by a desire to see his country on a personal level, since he made his living writing about it. He wrote of having many questions going into his journey, the main one being, "What are Americans like today?" However, he found that he had concerns about much of the "new America" he witnessed.
- When I read about professors being afraid of their own students and changing what they teach in response to that fear, I'm struck by two things. First, I understand why they're afraid. After my decade and a half in the classroom, I can confidently add to the chorus suggesting that universities increasingly treat students like consumers. As administrators seem more concerned with enrollment dollars than students' learning, instructors receive a clear message: "The customer is always right.
Students are consumers. They do have a choice in where they attend higher education, and if they do not like the education they are receiving then they are free to transfer. That said, I think that professors are afraid of the wrong thing here. While teaching controversial topics may offend, I believe that more students will be offended by lackluster course presentations. As long as controversial topics are not rammed down anyone's throats, and people are given a structured means of responding, then I believe that professors have nothing to worry about.
I guess what I am trying to say in an ineloquent manner is that there is more than one thing to be afraid of, and under-performing is as real a fear as teaching something controversial.