October 24, 2014
October 21, 2014
October 20, 2014
October 15, 2014
October 15, 2014
If you’ve been at Education and Class for any time at all, you’ll know of my commitments to First Generation students, my growing interest in digital media for amplifying voices that would not otherwise be heard, and my particular interest in bringing these two areas together.
With my partners Class Action, I’m launching a project to take digital storytelling workshops to campuses across the country. Because it is so challenging to find funding through traditional foundations and grants for projects in which we *listen* to First Generation students before rushing in to try to fix what ails them, we are experimenting with Crowd Funding this project.
I’d be very very grateful if readers of this blog would join this project by being part of the network who will be publicizing the project launch and then updates along the way. Our platform (and academic-only site) will provide you with some video-based training and ideas for spreading the word. You’d post on your blogs, Facebook pages, emails to supporters of First Gen students, or other networks.
This would take less than an hour a week. You’d be making it possible for First Gen students across the country to work together to craft elegant multi-media stories of their time in college, you’ll be learning something about fund-raising for projects that don’t interest more conventional funders, and you’ll be part of creating a digital portal for these stories so that we can all learn from the storytellers.
If you’d be willing to consider helping us to spread the word about this project as we approach launch (Planned for October 27), and then during the four week campaign, you can find much more information at the link below:
Thank you so much!
October 15, 2014
Early in my work as a teacher educator, we were talking in class one day about reasons that parents may not be involved in ways that their children’s teachers expect. Among other things we talked about were work schedules that can complicate the lives of parents — especially low-income parents who have little leverage for negotiating working conditions of hours. A young man grew quite agitated and insisted that when he was a parent, he would put his children first and take time off of work to attend conferences and volunteer in his children’s classrooms.
A non-traditional aged woman in class who hadn’t said much to that point turned to him and said “I manage a McDonald’s. And if you worked in my store and asked for time off like that, I’d fire you and hire someone who wouldn’t complicate my scheduling”. She wasn’t explaining her personal values — that was clear. She was explaining corporate policy.
There’s a taken-for-granted assumption in many schools now that parents are available to take direction from teachers about how they should spend evenings and weekends on homework or other school activities. There’s another taken-for-granted assumption among many of my students that “parent involvement” means “parent volunteers”. In their internships, it’s common for students to hear teachers describe parents who don’t consistently sign reading logs, come in to volunteer, are hard to reach, or who don’t regularly contact teachers with questions or gestures of supports as “uninvolved” or “not conveying their support of education”.
When such things come up in class, I ask them what they actually know about these parents’ lives, and we often find that we know what the parents don’t do, but little about their actual day-to-day lives.
And we then talk about data like this and like this on the limited control that growing numbers of lower-income workers have over their hours or schedules as employers change shifts with little notice, require night work, or refuse to move workers from part to full-time work so that parents are piecing together several jobs to make ends meet. That conversation with the McDonald’s manager in class that day was over twenty years ago. Working conditions have only deteriorated since then.
Where I teach, most of the students work, so many have personal experiences with the instability of part-time work.
Yet the rhetoric in schools about “parent involvement” as classroom volunteering, and the moralistic judgment of parents who don’t comply with teachers’ expectations about their roles in supervising homework (in spite of little evidence that most homework is valuable) continues.
So we keep teaching, and we keep sharing the growing data that many parents simply aren’t positioned to do the things that schools expect of them because of the demands of their employers.
Update: A more extensive scholarly look at work, schedules, and inequality is the Russell Sage Foundation’s Unequal Time
Control over one’s time is a critical resource for managing that unpredictability, keeping a job, and raising a family. But the ability to control one’s time, much like one’s income, is determined to a significant degree by both gender and class. In