Social Class Links 12/19/2014

December 18, 2014

  • A sobering look at college and the history of opportunity.

    “The college wage premium looks pretty good when the floor is being lowered, but even that premium isn’t the same for all degree holders. As CEPR’s Dean Baker has pointed out, “almost all of the increase in the gap [between degree holders and non-degree holders] during this period has been due to wage growth for those with advanced degrees.””

    tags: socialclass

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

I wrote yesterday about a teacher’s blog post framed as being about “Today’s students” and offering advice about technology in schools, based on the experiences of these particular students.

These were some of wealthiest children in the country.

Today, an article came across Twitter about the lengths a district near me is going to provide the most basic access to technology to low-income students.

These are also “today’s students” and they do not have the privilege of being indifferent about technology.

It is not ok to render them invisible when talking about children very very different from them.

Social Class Links 12/13/2014

December 12, 2014

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

I was intrigued at first by the tweets.  MiddleWeb distributes great information about teaching in the middle years:

So I clicked through.  @CherylTeaches asks great and important questions about when we do and don’t use tech in schools, but her experiences didn’t resonate with what I hear from many teachers.

She wrote about how, when given choices in schools, her students often choose something other than technology.  She goes on to wonder if “we”, meaning the profession for whom she’s writing, overestimate the extent to which students find technology engaging.

She sounds like a terrific teacher and and I want to be as  clear as I can be that this post is not about her as a teacher or disagreement with anything that she said about tech in schools.

It’s just that I am so troubled by the language that we use to evade talking about social class and education.

The tweet promises news about “today’s digital students’.  The author writes about “today’s students” and then writes sensitively about what she sees in her students.

We don’t learn until the biographical statement at the end that this teacher currently works in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  Her students live in a community in which the per capita (not household) income is  $104,920 .  Bloomfield Hills ranks within the top five wealthiest communities in America. 

I began my teaching career in in Appalachia, in Jackson County, Kentucky.  When I was teaching there, it was one of the poorest school districts in the country. Today, the per capita income for the county is $10,711. 36.50% of children under 18 live below the poverty level.

I’m trying to imagine any circumstances in which a teacher in Jackson County Kentucky could write a piece for a major, excellent education group like MiddleWeb that was framed as being about the experiences of “Today’s students”.    I’m trying to imagine this teacher then offering advice about how teachers in other places might think about using technology, based on her experiences with some of the poorest children in the country.

It would never happen.

Teachers working with the wealthiest families in the country no doubt bring their full energies to the challenges of working in such communities.  It is great when they listen to their students on reflect on how to best serve those children.

But in these times of growing and serious digital divides in which high and low income children use computers in very different ways,  offering advice to teachers about “today’s students” based on the children of the wealthiest people in the country –who have out-of-school access to any tech device they might wish to have — is troubling at best.

  • In many families, these are years of raising young children, paying for child care and preschool, finding time for reading and conversation and play that translate into success in school.

    Even in professional jobs, wages have fallen.

    “Since the Great Recession struck in 2007, the median wage for people between the ages of 25 and 34, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in every major industry except for health care.”

    tags: socialclass

  • Sherry Linkon reflects on teaching at a working class college (where I also used to teach) and now at a more elite school.

    “For working-class and poverty-class students, college often feels like a site of struggle, while elite students see it as a stage for performance, and that distinction matters when I think about the value of my work as a teacher”

    tags: socialclass

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

  • Priviliged white parenst

    Privileged white parents become involved in improving their diverse neighborhood schools. Little mention of low-income or parents of color beyond their demographics and the appreciation of “other” parents.

    “Essentially, the “school choice” movement, embraced by our district for decades, encouraged concerned parents to “choice” their children into niche magnet schools, themed charters, or typical public schools in other neighborhoods where the scores were higher and other data less daunting to them.”

    tags: socialclass

  • Complicated and shifting class relationships in Britain.

    “The more unequal Britain becomes, he said, “the less we want to talk about it.” Britain is a nation of “inverted snobs,” because to claim one cares about class “is, in itself, a low-class indicator.””

    tags: socialclass

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

British young people create a report on what poverty looks like through the eyes of children.

The Children’s Commission on Poverty.

What if we did more of this sort of listening to children in school?  Would it deepen stigma to have  children speak of themselves as poor?  Or get past the stigma by openly talking about the full lives, including the poverty of their families?


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