Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Race Preferences Vote

"The ballot initiative, Proposition 2, which would amend Michigan’s Constitution to bar public institutions from considering race or sex in public education, employment or contracting, has drawn wide opposition from the state’s civic establishment, including business and labor, the Democratic governor and her Republican challenger. But polls show voters are split, with significant numbers undecided or refusing to say where they stand."

After reading the article where do you stand?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Voter Supression!

Why are Democrats concerned with the "black vote"? How are candidates trying to get more African Americans to vote? According to the polls that the author uses in the article, what seems to be trend in the feelings of voters? Is voter suppression illegal or immoral? Whose job is it to inform the public of their rights? Is providing misinformation illegal? What assumptions about African American voters are all these candidates making?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

30 Seconds of Personality

Today we touched on the images and phrasing politicians use to help get their message across. After looking at print ads from Peter King and Kemp Hannon we viewed several commercials on YouTube.com

What images are these politicians using in their commercials?
What catch phrases are they using?
Who seems to be the target audience for these ads?
What information do we learn about the candidates from these ads?

What do all the ads (print and video) have in common?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Voter Apathy

Today’s class conversation was terrific. We spoke about voter apathy, read an excerpt form a Harvard professor and listened attentively to the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

The class discussion seemed to focus on the lack of clear lines between what it means to be a Democrat or a Republican. I think when commenting today we should try to define clearly the differences between Dems and Reps.

Where does each party stand on global trade, civil rights, the war in Iraq, terrorism, taxes, immigration, stem cell research and gay marriage?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Media and Elections

How can we effectively get information about candidates running for political office? How much do TV commercials influence our opinions? Why is voter turnout in the US so low? Are voter “apathetic” or do they feel their voice is falling on deaf ears? Who actually votes?

PLEASE remember to collect and bring in any political mail, or TV commercials for Wednesdays class.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

$1.2 Million, Well Spent?

Today in class we discussed the city’s decision to allocate $1.2 million to our 10th and 11th graders with their most popular product the PSAT. After reading the article, Bloomberg Unveils a Plan to Encourage City Students to Take the PSAT, students were then asked a series of question:

1. Why are schools so interested in PSAT exams?
2. Who benefits from PSAT exams?
3. Is the “College Board” profiteering?
4. What affect will this exam have on the sophomore class?
5. Why did the author add the last line to the article?
6. What will school do with the results?
7. Are we as a society ready to let the “College Board” assess our 10th grades?
8. Who pays for the proctors, the non-test taking students, and the counseling of the students who received poor results?
9. Is it a NYC High School’s responsibility to provide prep classes for the “College Board” exams?
10. How might the $1.2 million dollars a year of public school funding be better spent than the PSAT exams.

COMMENT ON: http://monticohort1.blogspot.com/2006/10/12-million-well-spent.html

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The "gap"

I apologize for the delay in posting this:

We read in class about the gap in math scores on state tests. In more affluent communities the scores are higher and in high-need communities the scores are lower. We also began to explore the controversial issue of “language”. As a class we acknowledged the social vs. “test” of academic language.

What are we supposed to do with this information? If there is discrimination in the system, how can we as 18 yr olds do something about this? What responsibility do state legislators have to close this gap? What seems to be the real issue here?

Carolina summed of the conversation at the end of class exquisitely by stating,

“The government either has to change the parents, change the tests, or retrain the teachers.”

Are there any other options?

For those of you that want more insight check out Jonathan Kozol's book Savage Inequalities (excerpted here)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Veterans for Peace

Today in class we were honored to have to members of the Veterans for Peace organization join us about their experience in the military. Ms Groebner contacted the non-partisan speakers to share their experiences and choices they made during the 1960’s while the country was recruiting soldiers during our armed conflict in Vietnam.

Their message was simple. They cautioned our graduating seniors against the dangers of racism that had been instilled in them during basic training and spoke about the danger of not having an action plan after graduation from high school.

Impressed by the positive culture that exudes from each student and faculty member as you walk through the halls of the building, Dayl Wise (Speaker) said, “I arrived here early and I was totally impressed, not only with the school’s physical environment, but with the attitude of the student body... you can tell that there is something special going on here.” Dayl has spoke at numerous high schools throughout the country and clearly has a solid basis for comparison.

Ms. Grantz, Mr. Shatz, Mr. Eddelson, Mr. Brown, and Ms, Groebner would like to extend a warm thanks to Dayl Wise and Jim Murphy for coming to our school and sharing their experiences with a (Montessori and Friere) Participation in Government class. I persoanlly would like to thank Ruth for once agian providing such a rich educational environment in my classroom.

Check out pics from class in thsi brief video : http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4264646037143288688

Guiding Questions for comments:

  1. After listening to the speakers, how did you come to understand their reasons for joining the military?
  2. What actions must seniors take to avoid letting others make choices for us?
  3. What is your plan after high school?
  4. What role does racism play when war is involved?
  5. When Michael Z asked, “Did war make you a better person? What was Jim Murphy’s response?
  6. Dayl spoke briefly about the “stare of a little girl” as he took a shortcut through her house; how did this affect him?
  7. Please fell free to ask more questions.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Not to be seen!

Should video footage out of Iraq be censored? Whose responsibility is it to “fact check” video authenticity? What danger does watching these videos pose to US troops? Whose best interest is being served by showing the videos? Whose interested in censoring these videos? Does the US government have the right to remove video clips from the Internet?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Showing Support?

After reading the article from the Cornel Daily Sun, explain how the war has become a political debate? Have people, according to the author, changed the meaning of the word "support"? Does "anti-war" mean "anti- America"?

What do the Following photos mean to you? Has your opinion changed after reading the article? Can patriotic Americans be against the war?

Figure #1

Figure #2

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Death of AP Exams?

How would the Queens High School of Teaching be different with AP exams? Do you think a trend going to be set by the Scarsdale School Distrct of schools abandoning the AP exam? Is this going to make school "better"? Colleges and parents mentioned in the article seem understand, how can Scarsdale get teacehers to buy into this shift in assesment? How does the College Board defend its product?

(Click Here) to read today's NY Times Article.

TO COMMENT ON THIS BLOG PLEASE COMMENT on www.monticohort1.blogspot.com! You will be involved in a public disscussion with teacehers, parents and students. Identify yourself as a HS Senior when commenting.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Amish Shootout

What measures should local, state, and federal officials take to ensure the safety of all children in school? What freedoms are you willing to give up in order to be safe? This recent incident is extremely similar to one that occurred just last week; does the media have a responsibility to not glamorize criminals?

Students Killed by Gunman at Amish Schoolhouse.