Only One of the Many

10 Things the US Government Got Right (And Promptly Ruined) - America’s public schools are overwhelmingly financed through the collection of property taxes. That means that poor neighborhoods equal low property values, which equals low spending on public schools.

Riverview Elementary School is a Title I school, in which most students come from low-income families and receive federal funding. More than 95% of students receive federal funding at Riverview. Though Riverview receives federal funding, the school’s academic performance is inadequate like most other public schools that are Title I. To show Riverview’s poor academic performance, I have researched their third-grade class Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Language Arts test scores:

  • 6% of students did not expectations on PARCC
  • 2% of students partially met expectations on PARCC
  • 5% of students approached expectations on PARCC
  • 6% of students met expectation on PARCC
  • Less than 5% of students exceeded expectation on PARCC

So, only about 24.6% of students performed well on the test while 78.3% of students did not.

Riverview PARCC

Now, I am not saying we need to teach students to perform well on tests, but why are students at low-income community schools doing worse than other students at high-income community schools?

At Severna Park Elementary School, a high-income community public school in Anne Arundel County, the PARCC test scores are:

  • Less than 5% not meeting expectations
  • Less than 5% of students partially meeting expectations
  • 4% of students approaching expectations
  • 3% of students meeting expectations
  • 1% of students exceeding expectations

Severna Park PARCC

The majority of students at Severna Park Elementary School are white and the majority of students are African-American at Riverview Elementary Schools with a large Spanish community.

Severna Park Race and Ethnicity

Race and Ethnicity at Riverview

These statistics are important to look at because they show us that we have an unequal public-school system here in the United States of America. An unequal education is established by a student’s family socio-economic background, race and ethnicity, academic performance, and by the resources provided to the students.

In late August of 2017, I decided I wanted to do service-learning at the Shriver-Center at UMBC. In October, I became a teacher’s assistant at Riverview Elementary School for a third-grade class where I helped my students build strong literacy skills, while building positive relationships with them.

In the third-grade class that I helped assist, there were six students below reading grade-level. One of my students approached me and said that she didn’t like reading her books, because they were too easy for her. I then read ono-on-one with her to see where she was at with her reading ability and I found that she stumbles on some words, but overall, she reads efficiently. I then had her choose a chapter book for us to read together while I helped her sound out the words she didn’t know and asked her questions about the book to make sure she understood what she was reading. In addition, I took notes on the story, so when I would read with her the next time, she would not forget what happened and would understand the story better.

I also found that my other students below reading grade-level were reading books that were unchallenging and I also sat down with them individually to read with them one-on-one. Unfortunately, I could not do this every time I volunteered at Riverview because of their schedule and the major projects they had to do. I think having more time at my service-site would have benefited my students more and would have helped me improve their academic abilities. However, I did find that having my students read out loud and tracking what they are readings is a lot better than them reading on i-ready, a website that assists students in learning how to spell and sound out words.

In addition to working with my students become better readers, I also worked with them to become better writers. Some of my students struggled with structuring their sentences and paragraphs, or even writing down their ideas in a coherent way. I found only helping them structure their paragraphs with transition words and correcting misspelled words, assured me that they were thinking on their own.

I wanted to volunteer at Riverview Elementary School to gain teaching skills, because I planned on doing Teach for Americaafter graduation. However, my students showed me that I want to make a career out of bringing an equal education to all children in the United States. Volunteering at Riverview, helped me notice the discrimination in low-income community schools more clearly. It helped me see the ignorance to the issue and that some people don’t know what a Title I school is.

If I were to volunteer again to help students thrive in their academics, I would definitely go to my service-site more than two days a week. I also would communicate more with the teacher to see what I can do to have a greater effect on the student’s academic performance. I would want to work more ono-one-one with my students below reading grade-level to see through chapter books with them.

Through doing this activism project, I learned that I will continue this work throughout the course of my life. I learned that feminist activism does not only have to be about fighting for women’s rights but fighting for equality for all those who are marginalized. An unequal education prevents, both girls and boys, from achieving gender equality. In addition to, it cripples their right as a human being to have a quality education, one that is not affected by their socio-economic background. In order for women and men to be equal, they all need to be equal through the social, economic, and political domains.

I also learned that in order to make real change in the world, we cannot think practical. For instance, charter schools and financial assistance are only going to prolong the problem, they are not the solution to solving the issue. We need to establish an equal education for students altogether in the United Sates without the need of financial assistance and the need to open up charter schools in low-income areas. We need more teachers, we need after-school programs, we need to give all academic subjects equal value, and we need to give students the opportunity to be taught humanity.

https://datausa.io/

http://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov/

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/articles/2017-05-08/how-charter-schools-improve-traditional-district-education

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/bs-md-ci-poverty-undercount-20180202-story.html

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-rr-school-counselors-letter-20180305-story.html

 

 

Raising the Awareness of Sexual Assault on College Campus

Sexual assault in conjunction with alcohol has been an unsolved problem on college campuses throughout the years. The vulnerability faced by individuals who are under the influence increases the risk of being sexually assaulted. A student once said, “I was really drunk, and I kind of remember becoming aware that it was happening. It could’ve been conceived as consent in a way. It wasn’t like I said no and it happened anyway” (Washington Post, 2015).

            Research has been conducted at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to show sexual assault and rapes that have occurred on campus for students under the influence. In 2014, four members of the Men’s Basketball team were accused of gang raping a female student after a party. A more recent case occurred in during the 2017 Quadmania where a sexual assault was reported as occurring during the concert. Both of these incidents had occurred where the students were under the influence, rendering it nearly impossible to consent, and also making the victim more vulnerable and susceptible to sexual assault or rape.

            There are many laws in place to report sexual assault claims that many students’ are unaware of. According to Title IX, any person (student, faculty, administration or support staff, visitor or guest to the campus community, or a family member), whether sober or intoxicated during the time, can report a sexual assault incident. To report a sexual assault, an individual must inform a designated responsible employee in person, by phone, in writing, e-mail, or even anonymously. All information about reporting, rights, resources, and additional information related to sexual assault and Title IX is provided at: http://www.umbc.edu/uhs/forms/VAV_protocol_updated_5.18.12.pdf.

            Lastly, there are also many on campus and off campus resources. On campus an individual can contact the UMBC Campus Police, Escort Service, The Women’s Center, University Counseling Center, and an Employee Assistance Program. There are also helplines off campus including, but not limited to, the Howard County Hopeworks, TurnAround, Inc., Baltimore County Domestic Violence Referral Program, Violence Referral Program, Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) Sexual Assault, and many other.

            The research conducted on factors of sexual assault in accordance with alcohol consumption show that rates of report decrease when a victim was not sober. There are many rules and rights that allow victims to come forward and discuss the incident that many students are unaware of. The created brochure will be distributed to high-risk areas such as, residential dorms, athletic centers, commons, women’s center, and other places. Through this, the hopes of the rates of reporting and rates of charges and arrests though these actions increase.

Please View Our Brochure Here:

sexual assault pamphlet

Additional Resources:

http://humanrelations.umbc.edu/files/2014/12/VAV-Incident-Report-Form_20151001.pdf

http://humanrelations.umbc.edu/files/2014/12/USM-2015-Sexual-Misconduct-policy.pdf

http://humanrelations.umbc.edu/sexual-misconduct/umbc-resource-page-for-sexual-misconduct-and-other-related-misconduct/

http://humanrelations.umbc.edu/sexual-misconduct/training-and-advocacy/