EDU 806

Equity, Equality or Equal Opportunity

All new posts will now be at the top. Apologies that I cannot rearrange my previous posts.

Success! 3/6/2015

The "Student Success Initiative" was developed at Oregon State University to improve their university's affordability to allow all students regardless of race, economic status, or family background to have the same opportunity at a quality post-secondary education. The president of the university stated that the likelihood of obtaining a college degree if your family was in the lowest quartile of income was 6% forty years ago. Today that percentage is 9%. The president feels that this statistic is astonishing and that higher education is supporting this divide by not allowing affordable quality education. To support the need for equity, the president of the university created the "Student Success Initiative."

Since the inception the following goals have been reached:

  • Enrollment exceeded 30,000 students for the second year in a row, and 6,300 degrees were presented to OSU’s largest-ever graduating class;
  • The first freshman class started at OSU-Cascades in Bend, and construction began on Oregon’s first completely new college campus in the past half century;
  • OSU’s Ecampus online educational program continued to grow and was ranked seventh nationally by U.S. News and World Report, and fourth in the nation for veterans;
  • OSU faculty conducted $309 million in research, nearly double the combined total of the state’s six other public universities;
  • Donor gifts to the university continued with a total of $130.8 million, the OSU Foundation’s best fund-raising year ever, and built on the success of the hugely successful Campaign for OSU that raised $1.14 billion; and
  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and state legislators helped provide the first increase in state funding to higher education in nearly a decade.

The long-term goals include to raise the first-year student retention rate from 83.8% to 90% and its six-year graduation rate from 63.1% to 70% by the year 2020. Although the university is seeing success with their initiative they recognize that the end is far from view. They are committed to achieving excellence for all.

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Funding Undeserved Students 2/29

I love Target. I can never walk in that store without buying something I don't need or finding something in that darn dollar section...

The great thing about spending money at Target is that the corporation has designed a way to give money back to education. In 2010, Target set a goal to give $1 billion to education by the end of 2015. Target set this goal because of three overarching concerns. First, Target asked the consumers what was their biggest social concern. The responses showed that education was on the top of the list. Second, Target noticed that American schools were experiencing dropout rates that were excessive. They found that each year about one million students did not graduate on time, that 1 in 3 African American and Hispanic students did not gradate on time, and that about 1 in 4 students never graduated high school. The last goal was to create an educated workforce of future leaders. Target met its goal of $1 billion in August of 2015. The money was divided into five different categories. 48% ($487 million) of the money was given to support classroom resources, 21% ($208 million) went to reading programs, 12% ($118 million) was for high education, scholarships, and international grants, 10% ($98 million) went to educational programs and finally, 9% ($88 million) of the funds were spent on arts in schools and hunger. Target has continually evaluated their corporate goals and have worked with many other organizations to help meet the needs of students in all walks of life. Target has partnered with the Thanks a Billion Campaign, America's Promise Alliance, and Meals for Mind. Check out the short video and link below to read more about their support for undeserving students as well as many other positive outreaches that Target is a part of.

Introduction 1/27

Welcome to my blog! My name is Katie Marttila. I have been working at Central Bucks School District for 8 years as a Special Education, Learning Support Teacher. I worked in a middle school setting grades 7-9. I have worked with students with varying needs and disabilities. I love my position because I feel that the smallest amounts of progress result in huge gains for the student academically and emotionally. The students I work with mostly have learning deficits in the area of reading, writing, and/or math. It is the goal of educator to best meet the needs of the students outlined in the Individualized Education Program while meeting the demands and rigor of the national standards, as well as the demands of the school district. Many times, the frustration level of the students is prevalent. They need to work harder than any other student to achieve at a comparable rate.

For the purpose of this blog, I would like to focus on the discrepancies within the designed curriculums, the outlined Individualized Education Programs specific grade levels, and state testing. Although special education students have the same access to the curriculums, the understanding of the material can take multiple attempts, rote memorization, or a removal of independence to gain support from the teacher or educational assistant. To help ensure equality and equity amongst students, the Common Core standards were developed. These standards were developed to ensure that all students would have met the same level of achievement by the time of graduation. In my school district, we found that the mathematics instruction was not meeting the academic rigor of the Common Core Standards. To meet this demand, the school decided to implement a new math program that would meet the needs of the IEP as well as the needs outlined by the state. The short-term implication was the uneasiness of the chosen curriculum. Would this truly meet all aspects? Are students being challenged academically at an instructional level according to their IEPs? In the long-term, would the curriculum show improvement in state achievement testing? Would the students show achievement on the local mathematics assessments? More to come in further blogs!

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Equity Policy 2/4/2016

One of the most famous court cases that has paved the way for equity in education is Brown v. Board of Education. The case stated that education "is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms." The U.S. Department of Education is continually working to ensure equity with students. The federal law requires under Title VI that all students have the same educational opportunities as any other child regardless of race, color, or nationality and will be discriminated against. Under Title VI schools are not allowed to treat students different based on race, color, or nationality. This includes providing academic courses, extracurricular opportunities, school facilities, instructional materials, and technology requirements to level the playing field for all students.

When reviewing the policy for Drexel University, they state they welcome "individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives from around the world, and believe that an inclusive and respectful environment enriches the University community and the educational and employment experience of its members." The policy specifically states that they like to create an environment of equal opportunity regardless of a list of circumstances including race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, etc. The policy outlines when it applicable, how to file a complaint, and finding resolutions. The universities policy strives for confidentially to protect the individuals involved and explains in detail the policies in place for retaliation from both parities. I feel the policy is complete, comprehensive, and easy to follow. There leaves little room for the reader to interpret their policy any way other than in the manner it is meant.

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Race to Achieve Diversity 2/11/2016

Schools across the country, anywhere from elementary schools to Ivy League universities, are working to address the ongoing concerns of diversity. In recent news, the Ivy League school, Yale University, was faced with allegations of not meeting the needs of its minority students. The university had concerns a few years prior, but the lack of minority support was brought to the forefront when students were denied access to a party due to their ethnicity. The university was forced to address the issue when the student went to social media to express her frustration. This created a viral sensation for other students to share their stories of the lack of diversity awareness that was going on, on Yale’s campus. The university president held a four-hour meeting with minority students to address their ongoing concerns. The president stated “we have to be a better university. I think we have to do a better job.” The school president stated to the students that “he had not seen this level of emotion and disclosure in the 35 years he has been at Yale.” This seems like a lack of observation or an assumption that for the past 35 years, all the students would be treated equally without any type of school intervention. To intervene in the lack of diversity, the president accepted a list of student demands to be reviewed and examined. The students are asking for the university to involve students of minority groups in the school-wide decisions to ensure that all aspects are being included. At this current moment, there is no immediate resolution stated by the university but the school is working with school-based groups to listen to the concerns and address the areas of need. This to me, is a good immediate intervention. The school is gaining the community support through discussion and listening to the individuals that are being affected.

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Educational Success 2/15/2016

You may have read the book "Essential 55" by Ron Clark where he outlines rules that should be followed for student success. Ron Clark has developed a school setting where he has seen more educationally positive gains than most independent schools in the area. The Ron Clark Academy began after Ron Clark dramatically turned around test scores in a Harlem school and decided to replicate his teaching methods to a school in Georgia. Students apply to go to the school but are accepted not only for their academic abilities. Students of varying needs, backgrounds, socio-economic status, and behavioral concerns are all a part of the schools culture. In the first year the school was opened, Ron's academy doubled the test results of the attending students. Some students attending were given scholarships to other programs and select students were able to travel to different countries and meet the President of the United States. The tuition to attend is $18,000 which is more than most families can manage. There are other ways to help families with the fees since funding comes from training seminars and corporate donors. Ron Clark found a need to increase student learning through having fun in the school environment while rigorously learning the material. He not only taught academic concepts but found a strong need to teach students the life skills that will successfully help them in the future. Please enjoy the video obtained from the CBS news website about the work Ron Clark is doing to help students of varying needs. His closing statement of what he wants students to leave his school with is eye-opening as many schools state academic objectives. Enjoy!

Common Core Opting-Out

The Common Core Testing initiative has created controversy across the nation. While some feel the ideas of the Common Core standards had some highlights, the reality of implementation has been a detriment to the education of the students. In an article written in June 2015 by FOXNews, it highlighted the retaliation of one school when students opted out of taking the assessment. In California, a high school principal told 11th grade students and families that if they did not participate in the school assessment that they would lose school privileges for the remainder of the year and the next school year. This included senior activities, parking privileges, and off-campuses passes. The community, rightfully, decided to fight back. The state has passed a law stating that students are allowed to opt out of the testing and exercise this right as they pleased. The school was punishing students for utilizing their rights and not participating in the assessment. When challenged, the school decided to revoke the punishments but stated that they would revisit this when a clear guideline has been set. Throughout the article, it describes other students who were also excluded from school-wide activities due to opting out of the testing. One parent felt guilt for exercising her right of opting her daughter out, because the school would not let the elementary age child participate in the school celebration. As an educator, I feel the assessment is a small piece of information on how our students are performing. This assessment has taken time away from instruction and has created a learning environment that is driven toward achievement results. Although I am not a parent, I feel that a parent should have the right to excuse their child from the assessment if they feel necessary. In our state, a parent must state that there is a religious conflict in allowing their child to participate in the assessment. I feel this is unnecessary. If a parent feels they do not want their child involved in the assessment an excuse should not be required. This discussion will continue for years and the reform to the standards will be ever changing. Below is a link to the article addressing the school in California but also contains a video, from FOXNews, addressing their opinions on the pros and cons of the Common Core Test.

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