Wednesday, February 20, 2013


After reading Chapter 5 of Paul Loeb's book Soul of a Citizen, I feel as if he is trying to say that regardless of what others think, things are not just going to happen on their own. If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen! Much like Vanessa German claimed in her presentation Wednesday, there is no "they". You cannot just live life thinking, "Oh, they will come up with a solution to that problem." There is no they! If you want to see something happen, you have to do it for yourself. And I truly do believe that one person can make a difference. As for my personal passion project, advocacy is huge. Advocacy for public education is a large catalyst for making any sort of reform. Children, especially those in public schools, need people to speak up and advocate for them. If educators, parents, families won't stand up for children, then who will? In my lifetime, I really do hope to see some drastic change in our public education system. Every child has a right to a great education, and I know, for sure, that I will do everything in my power as a teacher to make sure that happens for my students.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Love Front Porch

After viewing the Love Front Porch website, I feel very inspired by the organization! I think that Vanessa's motivation to expand and just be there for those children is wonderful. It also seems that she has such a positive attitude. Even with all of the negative things that happen in her community, she still tries to turn it into a positive. As far as the website is concerned, I think it is constructed well. The pictures and paragraphs really tell the story well and kept me reading to find out more. She also has a lot of great social media, including a video, Facebook, and Twitter. For improvements, possibly the site could try to be more outrageous or create a buzz in order to really grab the attention of more people. Finally, a question that I would have for Vanessa: Where do you see your organization in five years?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Personal Manifesto

For our readings this week, we were assigned a chapter in the text Sevice-Learning Companion. We had to read Chapter 3: Becoming Good Citizens. In this chapter, Duncan discusses creating a personal manifesto. This is a simple way to narrow down an underlying issue in society and try to decide how you can personally make it better. To create my own personal manifesto, I decided that our society is too busy and stressed. People simply fly through life and worry about every small detail, including myself. I think that stress management is a key life skill to have. I think the best way to get on the right track toward achieving this skill it to just relax! I created five tenets to try to live by for a week. These tenets included:

1. Don't dwell on all of the things I need to get done.
2. Walk a little slower and take in my surroundings.
3. Go to bed earlier.
4. Reflect for atleast 5 minutes a day.
5. Try to not take medicine for a stress-related headache. Find another solution i.e. workout, etc.

To be completely honest, some of these tenets were easier to remember than others. I found myself forgetting about the assignment really because I was so busy! :/ But! When I did remember, it was definitely nice to take my time walking to class, kind of taking in my surroundings a bit more. I did go to bed a bit earlier, which was also very nice! However, I cannot recall one time when I actually took five minutes to simply reflect. Overall, I think the assignment helped me de-stress a little. Maybe if everyone took some time to simply take things a little slower, our society wouldn't be so busy and stressed??? 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Analysis

After reading Waiting for Superman: How to Save America's Failing Public Schools, I am left feeling slightly discouraged, yet hopeful about our public school systems. To begin, the authors of the non-fiction piece start with discussing the problem of our education system; simply that too many children are being left behind. Especially children from lower-income families, the education system is failing them, resulting in drop-outs and uneducated children. The book discusses the making of the film, which was actually made before the book. Then, the book is a mix of introductions to stories of five different children who are being failed by the education system and excerpts from various professionals. They offer a variety of solutions to the current state of our education system, including: charter schools, better teachers with more accountability, more student involvement, and a focus on global learning. The editor closes the book by calling to action teachers, parents, students, and concerned citizens by listing a variety of steps they can take to help improve the public education system.

In addition, I read the article The Myth of Charter Schools to get a counter viewpoint from the collective views of the book. This article really stressed the idea that charter schools (privately run schools where children are given admission by lottery system) are not a solution to our public education issues. In fact, it highlights that 37% of charter schools are worse than public schools, 46% of charter schools have the same academic gains, and only 17% of charter schools are proven to be better than public schools. The author of this article believes that our education system needs to improve its teacher force. The article ends as the author expresses his gratitude towards our American education system where no one has to win a lottery to be accepted, much like that of a charter school.

Obviously both sides agree that our education system is in trouble. However, after reading opinions from both sides of this highly debated issue, I have come to determine that I do not think charter schools are the solution to our education system. Yes, charter schools do work well for some children, but they leave a ton of other children behind, as well. However, overall, I think the book truly did highlight some of the main issues in the education system. It also offered a variety of plausible solutions. I think this book was a great beginning to my personal passion project, and I plan on utilizing all of the information I have learned in order to fully investigate and try to advocate for our public education system!