i would like to hear about your views on public education in the US specifically high school? thanks ;))))@Anonymous
Hi! This is a really broad question. I’m not sure what kind of answer you’re looking for exactly, but I will do my best:
I think that the public education system in the US is very corrupt at this point. There are a lot of things that I would change about it. To name a few:
- Test based assessing of students is huge. Some students are great test takers, some are not. This is not always or even often a good evaluation of merit. It also leads to a huge amount of stress for the students. When I was in high school, I would have tests and quizzes every single week. It is nothing like this in college. The constant testing is supposed to “prep” you for when you need to do ACT/SAT/AP/Final Exam etc, but really all it does is cause immense stress for students. I think that high school should be a time when students are exploring their interests and learning rather than just memorizing. The huge amount of testing is starting younger and younger too, which is quite troubling.
- “Zero tolerance” policies and punishment in schools. For one, this type of punishment is almost always biased by both race and class. Black students are far more likely to be suspended and expelled from school, even in preschool, for the same rule breaking that their white peers cause. Children that are lower class get the brunt of lazy punishment strategies. Teachers seek to punish rather than teach, to discipline rather than help. When a rich white parent comes into the school, teachers know that they must be on their best behavior, that they can’t abuse a child. But when it comes to a poor child whose parents may be absent, often because they are working crazy hours, that child has no adult voice protecting them. The school does what they want. They punish them for everything and increasingly dramatic ways. They attempt to “put them in their place” by humiliating them. Wearing hats is a capital offense, sagging pants means detention. It is all about bullying people into acting a certain way, namely low income people. And it is wrong.
Don’t think that these children don’t notice that they are being treated differently than their peers. They do. They see how the white football captain gets away with everything, from drugs and alcohol to even rape. They see how white girls cry to the teacher about missing an assignment, and get leeway. They see that the majority of the kids in detention are black, even if the school is majority white. They see that some of the things the teachers do are not okay, like straight our racism and physical violence, illegal searches, etc. But they know that they are powerless to stop it. So they get angry. They act out even more.
When I was a kid in grade school, I was an immigrant kid at a somewhat fancy upper-middle class public school. My parents never came to PTA meetings or field trips. They never defended me when I got in trouble or felt mistreated by a teacher. I always felt very helpless, and singled out because of it. I felt that teachers could say whatever they wished about me, treat me as terribly as they could, and get away with it. Most of it was passive-aggressive of course. Teachers would tell other parents, in their conferences, that their children shouldn’t be friends with me. How messed up is that? An adult saying that about a child? I think that I was in 5th or 6th grade at the time. I guess I was a “bad influence” because of I don’t even know what. I got stellar grades. I was friendly. I was obsessed with boys and other petty things, yeah, but overall I was a great kid. And I always felt singled out, like the world was against me. It set me up to be very anti-authoritarian in every aspect of my life.
But I had it lucky. Although I was low income in the beginning of my education, my family’s financial status improved greatly. I had parents who were highly educated and willing to spend hours tutoring me. I had a lot of encouragement and pressure to do well in school. I am white. All of these factors led me to be ultimately successful in school and not singled out too terribly. Compared to what black students face, I faced only a pinch of what they experience. And it fucking sucked. So I can’t imagine how SO many black students persevere through all that, and graduate with honors and go on to prestigious colleges, etc. It is an awesome feat to overcome a lot of the systematic barriers and come out on top.
- I’ve basically already covered this but yeah, systematic barriers. Black children are treated differently than white children, punished more harshly. Same goes for low income children and children with disabilities. Girls are also treated differently than boys.
- In public high school, dress code is a big issue. This is the main arena where girls are taught that their bodies are sexual in nature, and thus bad. Girls as young as the 6th grade are told that their shorts (in the summer!) are too short. Why are they too short? Because they might distract boys. The assumption is that boys are some sort of crazy animals that are unable to function when a female is around. It is also assumed that a girl’s body is sexual no matter what, no matter how young. And that her body is public property to have regulated at whim. I’ve written a lot about this before, you can search my tags. It is also true , and an interesting tidbit about our culture, that boys and girls dress codes are regulated differently. Boys are usually punished for wearing clothing that is in defiance to the Anglo-Saxton status quo and authority in some way. Baggy pants, for example. Or hats. Females, on the other hand, are punished for their bodies. Even though men often wear revealing clothing too (look at all of those track boys running without tops on, don’t they have any shame, those sluts! or freakin wrestling uniforms) only women are punished for it because their bodies, especially their breasts, are seen as inherently sexual. But breasts are secondary sexual characteristics just like male facial hair is. They are highly sexualized by society and our public schools.
Basically, public schools are often a way to continue racist, sexist, and classist social norms. They are enforced and taught here. Those victimized by them are beaten down, and those who are privileged by these systems learn to do the beating.
I also think that public schools should be doing much more to teach critical thinking, in our day and age.
- Curriculum should be less standardized. This goes with having less testing. Teachers should have more leeway in what they actually teach. Various methods and styles should be accepted.
- Stop the androcentric and white-centric teaching, especially in history classes. Since when was it logical to spend 3 weeks on the French revolution, and only 1 week on the entire history of Africa? World history should be exactly that… world history. There shouldn’t be a “diversity unit” in English, but rather all of the authors read should be diverse in experience and message. This will give students a much richer understanding of others and their world.
- Critical thinking classes. MEDIA LITERACY IS SO IMPORTANT!!! As well as simply knowing about our world. Current political issues should be discussed, and often. Students should be encouraged to think of logical arguments pertaining to the issue. No student should be leaving school not knowing what went on in the world over the last 4 years. That to me is a school failing.
Wow, this ended up being a lot! And I didn’t even cover all of it. If you have any other specific questions, feel free to ask again!
|Woman:||I have been abused by all the men I've been with.|
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|Same men:||HOW DARE YOU NOT TRUST US, YOU MANHATING BITCH?|
What fucks me up about the Darren Wilson fundraiser is that he hasn’t been charged with a crime. He doesn’t have to hire a lawyer. He’s on paid leave, so he’s not losing wages. This is not covering his expenses, because he doesn’t have any additional expenses. This is a reward. He’s getting a $250,000 reward for murdering an unarmed black kid, two days away from starting college, in broad daylight.
Need condoms? Right there in the fucking aisle in a supermarket or CVS.
Need female birth control? Nah bruh, need a prescription and the consent of the lord Jesus Christ amen
As a 12-year-old, I usually spent Friday nights fussing in front of my mother’s floor-length mirror, making sure my thong straps were peeking artfully above the waistband of my Kohl’s flared stretch jeans.
This is an excellent article relating to self esteem and the sexualization of young girls.
I remember when I was oddly enough also twelve. I too would try my best to have my thong sticking out of my pants during school. I thought that this made me sexy and rebellious - together sexually rebellious, the best thing a female could be, I thought. Never mind that my body and mind were closer to that of a child’s than a woman’s, and that I had only learned what sex was a few months ago. I watched the music videos. I saw the commercials and reality shows. Even some children’s shows have females in revealing clothes (think Tinker Bell in Peter Pan).
I thought that being sexy was the best thing a girl could be. I wanted a boyfriend, badly, and this is how I was going to attract one. “Sexy” for me was defined by the television screen and the radio as revealing and provocative. Where else would I have received my definition from?
We shame young girls for dressing provocatively. We make them leave school, look at them in disgust, and some men even cat call them. But most of the time, these girls are simply attempting what they have learned is “right” to do. The girls want to be accepted and desired, like anyone. They see women on the tv screens being accepted and desired wearing little to know clothing. They do not make the connection that the sexualization of women on screen is actually a sign of a LACK of power for women. They are 12 for god’s sake, they don’t know much about the world yet.
Instead of shaming young girls for reacting logically to the status quo, we must teach them why the status quo is wrong. Why sexualizing themselves will not bring them the kind of attention they are looking for. And ultimately, we must challenge and change the status quo ourselves. What good is telling young girls that the way they are dressing is wrong, when everyone around them is doing it too?
Looking back at “the kind of attention they are looking for” phrase, I know that my 12 year old self would not have believed myself now. Those cultural messages are SO prevalent. We must fight them in any way we can. The first stem is recognition. The second step is rejection. Sometimes, we much change our own lives and habits (self hatred, for example) in order to benefit young girls. The problem is not them trying to learn the ropes and find themselves. The problem is that the world they are coming into is hostile to them. It is a world we are all a part of, and we all have the power to change.