Advocacy/ Argument

October 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Wordle: WordPress

 

Racial Tracking: A reality through the lense of The New York Times

Should tracking be used in determining courses for public schoolchildren? This is a question that many public school systems across the country face. In theory, tracking, placing students in different level classes based on test scores, seems like a harmless system: But in reality, it is anything but harmless. Public schools across the United States have implemented tracking, which in some school systems separate students as young as grammar school in divided classes, each with different learning outcomes.  Tracking is supposedly placing students in classes based on academic ability and test scores; however, numerous studies over the years have found that people of color are being wrongly placed in lower classes based solely on race. Racial tracking is very common still in the year 2010, although mostly prevalent in southern states, but nonetheless found in schools all over the country.

This system is essentially limiting the opportunities of children of color, as they are not sufficiently prepared for college. The astonishing stories of students who experienced firsthand the discrimination that these systems implement, along with the many scholarly studies reported over the years, prove that these ‘tracking’ systems are inherently racist and must be eliminated. While the white children with the same test scores, or in some instances lower test scores than the African American children, are being placed in higher college preparatory classes, the African American children are being subjected to the lower classes, even though their test scores may be higher. Instead of preparing one for college, these lower classes are preparing students for vocational jobs. Racial tracking is still prevalent in US society, and is clearly limiting the opportunities of many capable students, who are pushed to the lower classes at young ages and prepared for solely vocational work instead of a professional career.

The New York Times published an article February of 1995 entitled “Georgia Superintendent Battles a Subtle Racism,” which follows Corkin Cherubini, a 20 year English teacher at Calhoun County High School in Georgia. At Calhoun County High School Cherubini noticed that black students were being placed in lower tracks based solely on the color of skin and he decided to do something about it. After 20 years of silence for fear losing his job, Cherubini won superintendent of the schools in Calhoun County and was finally able to do something about the discrimination he had to witness on a daily basis. Once he called in the Federal Education Department to investigate, Cherubini soon became a target to white families in Calhoun County who insist that there was nothing wrong with the system their school practiced. “For stirring the waters, Dr. Cherubini, a soft-spoken white man of 50 and a self-proclaimed outsider in this county of peanut and cotton farms and only 5,700 people, has become the target of bomb threats, hate letters and oral taunts from white parents and students” (Georgia 1).

The Calhoun County school district places students in four different class levels: A, B, C, and D. Track A includes classes that prepare students for college, with courses that incorporate problem-solving and critical thinking skills and require one to analyze, evaluate, use creativity, and tap into a higher order thinking. Track A strongly contrasts with track D, which rather than preparing students with college preparatory classes, students in track D were considered on the vocational track. Students subjected to track D were trained to think that there was only one answer to each question and experienced lack of mobility in the classroom. This system subjected children at a very young age to one track, and moving up was virtually impossible after awhile- it was almost as if their future and possibilities were determined for them.

“Racial tracking, Dr. Peck said, is all too common, particularly in Southern districts where the administrators are white and at least half of the student body is black. She said the elite, majority white classes are sometimes consciously created to prevent white flight. More often, she said, the imbalance results from white parents’ clamoring to get their children in the best classes and the mistaken feeling that black students are not as smart” (Georgia 2). While overt racism like this presides in the southern states like in Georgia, racial tracking in more northern states exists too, and is less noticeable and almost worse in this way, as it is harder to find.

In a more recent example of racial tracking, Lois Descio covered South Orange Maplewood Schools on May 18, 2010. “The issue is one of the most contentious in the SOMA district. The towns, which pride themselves on their racial diversity, have been grappling for years with disparate educational outcomes for black and white students” (Descio 1). Descio outlines that the school district in New Jersey is dealing with doing away with their system. The superintendent of the school district is promoting to “de-level” the schools, in order to eliminate the fact that some students are being prepared less and are not being challenged enough as their peers placed in higher level classes. “The data showed that the achievement gap between black and white students begins to appear by the end of third grade and has an adverse effect on black students throughout their school experience” (Descio1).

Racism and segregation is still prevalent in today’s society; however, it is much more covert and this makes it more dangerous. “Studies have found tracking to be anything but an innocent practice but one that – intentionally or unintentionally – produces racial inequality…Racialized tracking remains even after students’ cognitive ability and class backgrounds are taken into account. And studies have shown that, as a school’s racial diversity increases, the chances that blacks and Hispanics will be assigned to higher tracks decreases” (Desmond 341). Whether the school’s intentions are good or bad, minority students that are subjected to tracking in their public school system are losing. Tracking is a system that leaves many unchallenged and left with no way to excel. Not only is tracking 21st century segregation, but it is a structural form of racism found in today’s society. Racial tracking is not publicized today as it was in 1995 when Calhoun County was under investigation, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist.

Tracking is not as publisized as often as it should- one of the reasons why The New York Times does not have many articles covering racial tracking is because it does n ot exist in the same obvious manner as it did in 1995 at Calhoun County high School. Although the New York Times appeals to a more liberal audience, topics related to modern day racism such as racial tracking or racial segregation are not normally written about. The New York Times covered a few stories of racial tracking over the years, but there are definitely more evidences out there. This is proof that this type of racism is hidden in society, and until people like Cherubini speak up for the elimination of tracking systems, racial tracking will continue.

Descio, Lois. “The Day: A Case for De-Leveling SOMA Schools.” The New York Times. 10 May

         2010. Web. 10 Oct. 2010. <http://maplewood.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/the-

         day-a-case-for-de-leveling-soma-schools/?  scp=1&sq=racial%20tracking&st=cse>.

Desmond, Matthew, and Mustafa Emirbayer. Racial Domination, Racial Progress: the Sociology of

            Race in America. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010. Print.

“Georgia Superintendent Battles a Subtle Racism.” The New York Times 14 Feb. 1995.

            Nytimes.com. Web. 10 Oct. 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/14/

          us/georgia-superintendent-battles-a-subtle-racism.html?scp=1&sq=racial%m

           20tracking&st=cse>.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Advocacy/ Argument Project Draft

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Wordle: WordPress

Racial Tracking: A reality through the lense of The New York Times

Should tracking be used in determining courses for public schoolchildren? This is a question that many public school systems across the country face. In theory, tracking, placing students in different level classes based on test scores, seems like a harmless system: But in reality, it is anything but harmless. Public schools across the United States have implemented tracking, which in some school systems separate students as young as grammar school in divided classes, each with different learning outcomes.  Tracking is supposedly placing students in classes based on academic ability and test scores; however, numerous studies over the years have found that people of color are being wrongly placed in lower classes based solely on race. Racial tracking is very common still in the year 2010, although mostly prevalent in southern states, but nonetheless found in schools all over the country.

This system is essentially limiting the opportunities of children of color, as they are not sufficiently prepared for college. The astonishing stories of students who experienced firsthand the discrimination that these systems implement, along with the many scholarly studies reported over the years, prove that these ‘tracking’ systems are inherently racist and must be eliminated. While the white children with the same test scores, or in some instances lower test scores than the African American children, are being placed in higher college preparatory classes, the African American children are being subjected to the lower classes, even though their test scores may be higher. Instead of preparing one for college, these lower classes are preparing students for vocational jobs. Racial tracking is very much still prevalent in US society, and is clearly limiting the opportunities of many capable students, who are pushed to the lower classes at young ages and prepared for solely vocational work instead of a professional career.

The New York Times published an article February of 1995 entitled “Georgia Superintendent Battles a Subtle Racism,” which follows Corkin Cherubini, a 20 year English teacher at Calhoun County High School in Georgia. At Calhoun County High School Cherubini noticed that black students were being placed in lower tracks based solely on the color of skin and he decided to do something about it. After 20 years of silence for fear losing his job, Cherubini won superintendent of the schools in Calhoun County and was finally able to do something about the discrimination he had to witness on a daily basis. Once he called in the Federal Education Department to investigate, Cherubini soon became a target to white families in Calhoun County who insist that there was nothing wrong with the system their school practiced. “For stirring the waters, Dr. Cherubini, a soft-spoken white man of 50 and a self-proclaimed outsider in this county of peanut and cotton farms and only 5,700 people, has become the target of bomb threats, hate letters and oral taunts from white parents and students” (Georgia 1).

The Calhoun County school district places students in four different class levels: A, B, C, and D. Track A includes classes that prepare students for college, with courses that incorporate problem-solving and critical thinking skills and require one to analyze, evaluate, use creativity, and tap into a higher order thinking. Track A strongly contrasts with track D, which rather than preparing students with college preparatory classes, students in track D were considered on the vocational track. Students subjected to track D were trained to think that there was only one answer to each question and experienced lack of mobility in the classroom. This system subjected children at a very young age to one track, and moving up was virtually impossible after awhile- it was almost as if their future and possibilities were determined for them.

“Racial tracking, Dr. Peck said, is all too common, particularly in Southern districts where the administrators are white and at least half of the student body is black. She said the elite, majority white classes are sometimes consciously created to prevent white flight. More often, she said, the imbalance results from white parents’ clamoring to get their children in the best classes and the mistaken feeling that black students are not as smart” (Georgia 2). While overt racism like this presides in the southern states like in Georgia, racial tracking in more northern states exists too, and is less noticeable and almost worse in this way, as it is harder to find.

In a more recent example of racial tracking, Lois Descio covered South Orange Maplewood Schools on May 18, 2010. “The issue is one of the most contentious in the SOMA district. The towns, which pride themselves on their racial diversity, have been grappling for years with disparate educational outcomes for black and white students” (Descio 1). Descio outlines that the school district in New Jersey is dealing with doing away with their system. The superintendent of the school district is promoting to “de-level” the schools, in order to eliminate the fact that some students are being prepared less and are not being challenged enough as their peers placed in higher level classes. “The data showed that the achievement gap between black and white students begins to appear by the end of third grade and has an adverse effect on black students throughout their school experience” (Descio1).

Racism and segregation is still prevalent in today’s society; however, it is much more covert and this makes it more dangerous. “Studies have found tracking to be anything but an innocent practice but one that – intentionally or unintentionally – produces racial inequality…Racialized tracking remains even after students’ cognitive ability and class backgrounds are taken into account. And studies have shown that, as a school’s racial diversity increases, the chances that blacks and Hispanics will be assigned to higher tracks decreases” (Desmond 341). Whether the school’s intentions are good or bad, minority students that are subjected to tracking in their public school system are losing. Tracking is a system that leaves many unchallenged and left with no way to excel. Not only is tracking 21st century segregation, but it is a structural form of racism found in today’s society. Racial tracking is not publicized today as it was in 1995 when Calhoun County was under investigation, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist. The New York Times covered a few stories of racial tracking over the years, but there are definitely more evidences out there. This is proof that this type of racism is hidden in society, and until people like Cherubini speak up for the elimination of tracking systems, racial tracking will continue.

Descio, Lois. “The Day: A Case for De-Leveling SOMA Schools.” The New York Times. 10 May

         2010. Web. 10 Oct. 2010. <http://maplewood.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/the-

         day-a-case-for-de-leveling-soma-schools/?  scp=1&sq=racial%20tracking&st=cse>.

Desmond, Matthew, and Mustafa Emirbayer. Racial Domination, Racial Progress: the Sociology of

            Race in America. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010. Print.

“Georgia Superintendent Battles a Subtle Racism.” The New York Times 14 Feb. 1995.

            Nytimes.com. Web. 10 Oct. 2010. <http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/14/

          us/georgia-superintendent-battles-a-subtle-racism.html?scp=1&sq=racial%m

           20tracking&st=cse>.

Categories: Uncategorized

Final Textual Analysis

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

 College: Much more than a degree

Six professional students, in some cases Ph.D. students, published their interpretation on how to approach college life in the Sunday Opinion section of the New York Times September 26, 2010 in an article titled “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend.” In “Ditch Your laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend” each writer is leaving advice for incoming freshman in college. The writer’s are claiming that one should try lots of new and different things in college because you never know what you like until you experience everything. In this collection of opinions, each writer is trying to show that the many opportunities in college can shape who you become, and in essence making the argument that college is more than just a four-year period; it is a bridge between when you’re a kid and when you become an adult.

In each commentary, the writers are making their claim by being informational, persuasive, and demonstrative in their language. By appealing to the reader with ethical appeals, each writer introduces themselves as one who gained much from their college experience and eventually became very successful. By introducing their personal experience the writers hope to make their claim in order to encourage first year college students to get the full college experience. With each writer’s own personal experience and commentary on how to live the college life, the writers of this article are trying to broaden the reader’s horizons and instill a sense of courage in trying new things. From business to art to science, this article represents different interests and fields and is aimed to appeal to all first year college students.

Tim Novikoff, a Ph.D. student at Cornell, opens his article by stating that college is the time to find yourself and your interests. ”College is your chance to see what you’ve been missing, both in the outside world and within yourself” (Novikoff, 12). He is almost implying that once college is over, you may not have the time you want and need to explore yourself and what interests you, so he says “Use this time to explore as much as you can” (Novikoff 12). Novikoff uses his own experience in college of running a math club and links this to his plans of becoming an entrepreneur.

Willie X. Lin, makes his claim by speaking to the reader about exploring college life outside the classroom. He tells the reader “amid the thrill and vertigo of change, be kind to and patient with yourself” (Lin 12). Later in his advice Lin quotes from Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs. Dalloway,” adding to his credibility as a student of creative writing.

The next writer, Aman Singh Gill, a Ph.D. student, appeals to those students more inclined to interests in science and research. By showing the reader all the benefits of becoming indulged with critical thinking and working as a researcher’s aid, he is appealing to the reader with logic. Such rhetoric like “The obvious benefits” frame his argument as almost as if he is superior in his knowing and his logic ‘obviously’ makes sense. Although his tone comes off in a different manner than the other writers, some college students who react well to his straightforward and logical way of thinking may very well be persuaded by his argument.

Since these writers have already experienced college and have gone on to pursue their dream, their credibility is substantiated. The reader can relate to these writers, and that makes their arguments even more effective. By demonstrating what they did in their life and how it proved successful their arguments feel very sincere and persuasive. DePaul University incorporates these same ideas and philosophies in the curriculum from the very first year. Classes such as Explore and Discover Chicago encourage first year students to take advantage of their surroundings and the great city around them in order to immerse themselves in everything that the city has to offer. This article speaks to college students in a persuasive way to ultimately provide that extra confidence and boost to go out into the world and explore life for your own; put down your cell phone, turn off your laptop, take a break from your boyfriend and take time for yourself to explore your environment and find what interests you.  Many people find themselves unhappy with where their life and career has taken them because they did not take the time to discover what truly interests them; the writers of this article are using encouraging language to ensure that those reading it will listen to their advice and not waste their time by pursuing a career that does not leave them content at the end of the day. Let the journey begin!

Novikoff, Tim, Willie X. Lin, Aman Singh Gill, Christine Smallwood, Evan LaLonde, and Rebecca Elliot. “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend.” The New York Times 26 Sept. 2010, National ed., Sunday Opinion sec.: 12. Print.

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Argument/ Advocacy Proposal

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Should tracking be used in determining courses for public schoolchildren? My advocacy and argument proposal is for the issue of tracking in public schools across the United States: I would be arguing that tracking is not a fair system in public schools and should not be implemented. Racial tracking is very common still in the year 2010, although mostly prevalent in southern states, but nonetheless found in schools all over the country. Tracking is supposedly placing students in classes based on academic ability and test scores; however, numerous studies over the years have found that people of color are being wrongly placed in lower classes based solely on race. This system is essentially limiting the opportunities of the African American and Hispanic children, as they are not sufficiently prepared for college. The astonishing stories of students who experienced firsthand the discrimination that these systems implement, along with the many scholarly studies reported over the years, prove that these ‘tracking’ systems are inherently racist and must be eliminated. While the white children with the same test scores, or in some instances lower test scores than the African American and Hispanic children, are being placed in higher college preparatory classes, the African American and Hispanic children are being subjected to the lower classes, even though their test scores may be higher. Instead of preparing one for college, these lower classes are preparing students for vocational jobs. Racial tracking is very much still prevalent in US society, and is clearly limiting the opportunities of many capable students, who are pushed to the lower classes at young ages and prepared for solely vocational work instead of a professional career.

Categories: Uncategorized

Revised textual analysis

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Six professional students, in some cases Ph.D. students, published their interpretation on how to approach college life in the Sunday Opinion section of the New York Times September 26, 2010 in an article titled “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend.” In “Ditch Your laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend” each writer is leaving advice for incoming freshman in college. The writer’s are claiming that one should try lots of new and different things in college because you never know what you like until you experience everything. In this collection of opinions, each writer is trying to show that the many opportunities in college can shape who you become, and in essence making the argument that college is more than just a four-year period; it is a bridge between when you’re a kid and when you become an adult.

In each commentary, the writers are making their claim by being informational, persuasive, and demonstrative in their language. By appealing to the reader with ethical appeals, each writer introduces themselves as one who gained much from their college experience and eventually became very successful. By introducing their personal experience the writers hope to make their claim in order to encourage first year college students to get the full college experience. With each writer’s own personal experience and commentary on how to live the college life, the writers of this article are trying to broaden the reader’s horizons and instill a sense of courage in trying new things. From business to art to science, this article represents different interests and fields and is aimed to appeal to all first year college students.

Novikoff, a Ph.D. student at Cornell, opens his article by stating that college is the time to find yourself and your interests. ”College is your chance to see what you’ve been missing, both in the outside world and within yourself” (Novikoff, 12). He is almost implying that once college is over, you may not have the time you want and need to explore yourself and what interests you, so he says “Use this time to explore as much as you can” (Novikoff 12). Novikoff uses his own experience in college of running a math club and links this to his plans of becoming an entrepreneur.

Willie X. Lin, makes his claim by speaking to the reader about exploring college life outside the classroom. He tells the reader “amid the thrill and vertigo of change, be kind to and patient with yourself” (Lin 12). Later in his advice Lin quotes from Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs. Dalloway,” adding to his credibility as a student of creative writing.

The next writer, Aman Singh Gill, a Ph.D. student, appeals to those students more inclined to interests in science and research. By showing the reader all the benefits of becoming indulged with critical thinking and working as a researcher’s aid, he is appealing to the reader with logic. Such rhetoric like “The obvious benefits” frame his argument as almost as if he is superior in his knowing and his logic ‘obviously’ makes sense. Although his tone comes off in a different manner than the other writers, some college students who react well to his straightforward and logical way of thinking may very well be persuaded by his argument.

Since these writers have already experienced college and have gone on to pursue their dream, their credibility is substantiated. The reader can relate to these writers, and that makes their arguments even more effective. By demonstrating what they did in their life and how it proved successful their arguments feel very sincere and persuasive. DePaul University incorporates these same ideas and philosophies in the curriculum from the very first year. Classes such as Explore and Discover Chicago encourage first year students to take advantage of their surroundings and the great city around them in order to immerse themselves in everything that it has to offer. This article speaks to college students in a persuasive way to ultimately provide that extra confidence and boost to go out into the world and explore life for your own; put down your cell phone, turn off your laptop, take a break from your boyfriend and take time for yourself to explore your environment and find what interests you.  Many people find themselves unhappy with where their life and career has taken them because they did not take the time to discover what truly interests them; the writers of this article are using encouraging language to ensure that those reading it will listen to their advice and not waste their time by pursuing a career that does not leave them content at the end of the day.

Novikoff, Tim, Willie X. Lin, Aman Singh Gill, Christine Smallwood, Evan LaLonde, and Rebecca Elliot. “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend.” The New York Times 26 Sept. 2010, National ed., Sunday Opinion sec.: 12. Print.

Categories: Uncategorized

Texual Analysis

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Six professional students, in some cases Ph.D. students, published their interpretation on how to approach college life in the Sunday Opinion section of the New York Times September 26, 2010 in an article titled “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend.” In “Ditch Your laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend” each writer is leaving advice for incoming freshman in college. The writer’s are claiming that one should try lots of new and different things in college because you never know what you like until you experience everything. In this collection of opinions, each writer is trying to show that the many opportunities in college can shape who you become, and in essence making the argument that college is more than just a four year period; it is a bridge between when you’re a kid and when you become an adult.

In each six commentaries, the writers are making their claim by being informational, persuasive, and demonstrative in their language. By appealing to the reader with ethical appeals, each writer introduces themselves as one who gained much from their college experience and eventually became very successful. By introducing their personal experience the writers hope to make their claim in order to encourage first year college students to get the full college experience. With each writer’s own personal experience and commentary on how to live the college life, the writers of this article are trying to broaden the reader’s horizons and instill a sense of courage in trying new things. From business to art to science, this article represents different interests and fields and is aimed to appeal to all first year college students. 

Novikoff, a Ph.D. student at Cornell, opens the article by stating that college is the time to find yourself and your interests. “College is your chance to see what you’ve been missing, both in the outside world and within yourself” (Novikoff, 12). He is almost implying that once college is over, you may not have the time you want and need to explore yourself and what interests you, so he says “Use this time to explore as much as you can” (Novikoff 12). Novikoff uses his own experience in college of running a math club and links this to his plans of becoming an entrepreneur. Willie X. Lin, makes his claim by speaking to the reader about exploring college life outside the classroom. He tells the reader “amid the thrill and vertigo of change, be kind to and patient with yourself” (Lin 12). Later in his advice Lin quotes from Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs. Dalloway,” adding to his credibility as a student of creative writing.

The next writer, Aman Singh Gill, a Ph.D. student, appeals to those students more inclined to interests in science and research. By showing the reader all the benefits of becoming indulged with critical thinking and working as a researcher’s aid, he is appealing to the reader with logic.  Such rhetoric like “The obvious benefits” frame his argument as almost as if he is superior in his knowing and his logic ‘obviously’ makes sense. Although his tone comes off in a different manner than the other writers, some college students who react well to his straightforward and logical way of thinking may very well be persuaded by his argument.

Since these writers have already experienced college and have gone on to pursue their dream, their credibility to the argument is very noticeable. The reader can relate to these writers, and that makes their arguments even more effective. By demonstrating what they did in their life and how it proved successful their arguments feel very sincere and persuasive. DePaul incorporates these same ideas and philosophies in the curriculum from the very first year. Classes such as explore and discover Chicago encourage first year students to take advantage of their surroundings and the great city around them in order to immerse themselves in everything that it has to offer. Many people find themselves unhappy with where their life and career has taken them because they did not take the time to explore what truly interests them; the writers of this article are using encouraging language to ensure that those reading it will listen to their advice and not waste their time by pursuing a career that does not leave them content at the end of the day.

Novikoff, Tim, Willie X. Lin, Aman Singh Gill, Christine Smallwood, Evan LaLonde, and Rebecca Elliot. “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend.” The New York Times 26 Sept. 2010, National ed., Sunday Opinion sec.: 12. Print.

Categories: Uncategorized

Rhetorical Precis

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment
Cowen, Tyler. “Can the Fed Offer A Reason to Cheer?” The New York Times 19 Sept. 2010, National ed., Sunday Business sec.: 5. Print. In this article, Cowen claims that the Fed has lost its political independence during the financial crisis, stating that lack of optimism is part of the reason for the economic stall. Cowen makes this claim by stating that the Fed must increase money supply by three percent a year to stimulate the economy. Cowen explains that it is crucial for Americans to believe in the Fed’s commitment for price inflation in order to get Americans to hold an optimistic view on the economy, and begin spending more. Cowen is directing his argument towards American consumers and members of Congress.
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