Category Archives: English Blogs

Expert Opinion on No Child Left Behind

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I got the chance to interview Mr. Porzukowiak who is a professor in the School of Education at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  He is considered in his department to be an expert on all things No Child Left Behind and has done extensive research on the policy and what exactly it says.  The video that I have recorded below is the interview that I had with him in which I asked him to just give me his thoughts on two questions that would sum up the major problems and solutions to No Child Left Behind.  The first question I asked was “If you could propose a solution to the No Child Left Behind policy what would it be? Or at least what problems would it address?”  And the second question I asked was “What do you think are the biggest problems of the current No Child Left Behind policy?”

Graphical Representation of Lack Of Comparability and AYP

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So this post is slightly out of order from where it should be but while I was researching political cartoons for the last post, I came across a couple of graphs that I thought would be good to discuss in this blog series because they further illustrate the points that I am trying to make.  Both of these provide good evidence to back up the claims that I am making in this presentation.

The first graph shows two maps of the United States of America which a series of shading on both of them.  The map on the left represents states that have schools who are not meeting the required standards.  This includes all schools that have fallen below the Annual Yearly Percentage for that particular state.  Now the map on the right represents states that are not meeting national standards.  When compared these two maps do not match up completely.  For example, in Mississippi the maps show that the majority of their schools are passing AYP but when compared to the map on the right, it shows that the students on the national ranking level are not comparing and are failing majorly.  To look at our own state, we see that Illinois schools are not doing well at meeting the state standards but when the students are compared on the national level, they are not as bad off.  The comparison between these two maps proves my point that there is a lack of comparability between states in the No Child Left Behind policy.  If the states are not performing on the national level, then there needs to be more serious consequences than just the threats that are currently in place.

This bar graph is another thing that I stumbled upon while doing my political cartoon research.  It provides a representation of how schools are doing according to the Annual Yearly Percentage.  In the beginning when No Child Left Behind was implemented (2002) the majority of the schools were passing but as the years went on that majority shrunk to a vast minority of schools that were passing AYP.  This is due to the fact that every single year, the percentage of students in a school that must pass goes up.  By 2014, the amount of students that are expected to pass the standardized tests is 100%.  Because of this progress scale, as the years pass more schools will begin failing the tests instead of passing.  This will help prove my point later when I try setting up a workable solution to the No Child Left Behind policy.  It will help me to show that not every child can be expected to pass these tests but we should expect our students to progress from year to year.

Final Project and Presentation

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So I have had my final project idea for quite awhile now and I also wrote about it in my paper for class.  As you have probably have heard in class, I am doing my project on the No Child Left Behind Policy.  It may sound boring to you but to me it is probably the topic I am most passionate about doing.  As an education major, I will most likely be teaching under this particular education policy unless Obama changes it soon.  Even more than just being an education major, I am a physical education major and this area has been taking major cuts since the policy’s implementation.  From going through the education system under this I see how frustrating it is from the student’s point of view also.  I did a speech on it and wrote my first paper on it so I am well researched already and my ideas are well developed.  I plan on filming and editing a documentary on this particular subject and it will include both interviews from various sources and also slides included with my ideas and facts about the particular policy.  I am and I am not looking for people to help.  Personally, I work better by myself normally because I’m such a determined leader but I do realize that this particular project is going to require a ton of work.  I’m not very experienced with video editing software and I am going to have an interesting time trying to figure out how to edit the documentary.  If someone in my class is very good with this type of software and would love to help I would be forever grateful.  However, I do understand that my project may not that interesting to everyone so I don’t expect a lot of people to absolutely want to do it.

Panopticism and Plagued Villages

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In the main article for this week the concept of an observation system known as a Panopticism was evaluated.  The author, Michael Foucault, did a great job of analyzing this concept with an in depth discussion on how plagued villages in Europe during the Bubonic Plague were similar to a Panopticism.  The author offered up many different reasons as to why these villages fell under the description of this unique observation system.  The system is essentially a way in which the observer can supervise the observed at all times.  The layout of a Panopticism is a circle of rooms with a guard tower (observation station) in the middle.  It is made so the observed can be seen at all times but the observed can’t see the observer.  The observed never knows whether or not they are being watched but they know at any moment they could be watched.  This allows for a physiological guarding in which the observed won’t try to escape or make a mistake because they don’t know whether or not they are being watched.  Like I mentioned before, the author compared this observation system to the plagued villages in Europe during the time of the Bubonic Plague.  One way in which the two were similar is in the villages, the citizens were watched by guards at all times and a guard could observe a whole street at one moment.  However, the villagers couldn’t see the guards because they couldn’t step out of their houses which allowed the guard to remain unseen.  Also most villagers never attempted to leave the house because they didn’t know whether or not they were being watched at any particular moment.  This allowed for the physiological guarding part of the system to kick in and do most of the guarding instead of the guards having to do constant surveillance 24/7.  The system of order is another way in which the plagued village is like a Panopticism.  The observer being superior to the observed is a true for a Panopticism and it was definitely true for the plagued villages too.

Social Networking Used to Start Revolutions

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In Egypt there has been a revolution going on to overthrow the current dictatorship government that has been in place there.  Within this revolution, there have been a series of revolts started by the Egyptian common people that have helped them reach their ultimate goal of independence from their dictator.  Some of these revolts have been started and made big by a recent phenomenon known as social networking.  One particular  instance of social networking being used in the process of a revolution involved a post on Facebook that gained country wide acceptance.  Wael Ghonim, Google marketing manager for the Middle East, was the master mind behind this particular post.  The post contained the phrase, “We Are All Khaled Said.” which is glorifying an Egyptian businessman who was beaten to death for exposing corruption in the government.  The phrase is basically saying that everyone can identify with this man because they are being constantly suppressed by their government.  The page on the popular networking site, Facebook, has been said to spark the fire for the revolts in Egypt.  The page encouraged the Egyptian people to revolt and protest on January 25th and was a call to action for all the people who wanted a change in the government.  On this particular day which is now known as the “Day of Wrath” thousands poured into the street to protest against the mistreatment by the dictatorship government.  It has been said that the reason for this huge turn out was the publication of the revolt on Facebook.  Many people saw it there and collected the energy of revolution from it and decided that they too should take action.  Social networking has had a major hand in the major revolts in Egypt and other places in the middle east.  It helps the word get spread and the people get excited about working together for a common cause.

End of Summer Blues/Joys :)

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So after it got super cool yesterday I realized that the end of summer was drawing to a close. 😦 :)I got to say I’m sad about seeing it end but also happy that its over.  Speaking solely of weather the last couple of weeks have been HELL for me because it was so hot!!  After spending a whole summer in Alaska where the temperature never really got above 75 degrees, 90/95 degree weather was KILLING me!  I had an overwhelming need to sleep all the need because I was so exhausted and I passed out twice from being dehydrated and heat exhausted.  But at the same time I’m sad to see that all end because I love the carelessness of summer.  I love being able to just chill and hang out and not have a care in the world about tomorrow. Labor Day signifies the moment where your brain needs to switch from the carefree la-la of summer to the focused, driven mind set for the semester.  I had that shocking realization Sunday while I was studying at my Grandpa’s and I know that from on out I need to be more focused on my purpose here.  So much has already happened in this school year and I’m interested in seeing where it all goes.

Happpppiinnnnessss :D

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I truly believe that happiness is what you make of it.  If you don’t attempt to have a positive outlook on life, your not going to have one.  Now granted there are someeee people who are just naturally happy people and everything works out for them but I am sure they have had their bad days too where they have to remind themselves to look at everything in a positive light.  This summer was absolutely crazy stressful for me but strangely I didn’t feel the least bit overwhelmed by how everything was turning out.  My dad lost his job at the beginning of the summer which was really hard on my family because he was the one bringing in the usual day to day income.  My mom is not making much either in her job situation right now.  Needless to say, I was kind of forced to transfer schools because the private Christian school was too crazy expensive on little income.  The transfer process is ridiculously lengthy when you don’t have reliable internet connection and you can only use the internet once a week for 3 hours.  On top of that, I found out that I applied to late to have guaranteed housing and I might have to find a place to live to go to school where I wanted to go.  OHH and I decided that my current major wasn’t what I wanted to do so I had to start thinking again about what I wanted to do with my life.  Basically I was crazy stressed but I was fulfilled and happy at the same time.  I knew the whole time that God has a beautiful plan for my life that is so much more than I can imagine and that kept my mood upbeat instead of down in the dumps.  My favorite verse from this summer was Jeremiah 29:11-13 which states,

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I can confidently say that I try my hardest to remain happy in almost every situation. 🙂