A more diverse school, a more diverse county

A more diverse school, a more diverse county

Coahulla students, teachers unite around Hispanic heritage

By Christopher Smith christophersmith@daltoncitizen.com

When Ivette Colón and her mother went to an Arizona diner in the summer of 2006, the year she immigrated from Puerto Rico, she said she experienced the kind of segregation she said she thought was left behind in the 1960s.

“I was told to wait for service,” she said. “So I did.”

But they were never served, she said. Eventually, Colón asked the staff and then the owner what was taking so long. They were told they wouldn’t be served because of Colón’s race.

Since coming to Dalton, and teaching at Coahulla Creek High School, Colón says she’s seen a community of diversity and acceptance. Students and staff are celebrating diversity, specifically the Latino population, during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Already the event has created “a lot of respect” between Hispanics and non-Hispanics alike, several students said.

Avery Hamilton, a Coahulla Creek student and vice president of the Spanish club who is currently learning the language, said he’s trying “to learn as much as I can about another culture.”

“Hispanic Heritage Month — that’s just showing people that there are other cultures out there,” he said, “and that there are large groups of people out there we can learn from.”

To read the full article, click here.

Immigrant daughter says she will bring parent, Latina perspective


September 30, 2013 12:10 AM

This is one in a series of profiles of candidates in this year’s city elections.

NEW BEDFORD — In high school, School Committee candidate Maria Mojica-Mosquea said staff discouraged her, a Puerto Rican daughter of a fishhouse worker, from going to college.

Twenty-two years, an early marriage, two children and several jobs later, Mojica became a UMass Dartmouth alum, now running for office to help others have an easier path.

“I saw my mom working three jobs, I saw how hard she worked and I knew that there are better options and no one showed me those better options, so that’s one of the reasons why I’m doing it,” said Mojica, 41, who achieved her “second goal” — after earning a bachelor’s, owning a home — this summer, moving into a house that fronts the green by the Hathaway School. “I’m still hearing the same experiences that I had and … we’re in 2013. To me that’s just unacceptable.”

For the full article click here.

Ireland’s debate on education shows little appreciation of experience in other countries

Some portrayals of Catholic schools ‘more like descriptions from the 1950s’

Denis Tuohy
Tue, Sep 17, 2013

The growing cultural diversity in our country is at the core of the debate on educational provision in Ireland. For better or worse, the debate focuses almost exclusively on denominational patronage in school governance, and the role of religious education.Little attention is given to the indoctrination and lack of diversity inherent in certain dominant economic world views underpinning education policy. These world views can see students simply as human capital for job markets. Social cohesion is promoted merely to enhance economic productivity. Education success is gauged by measuring “standard of living” rather than “quality of life”.The challenge of cultural diversity is to empower people of different ethnic, religious and philosophical heritage to work together. Education plays a key role in meeting this challenge. However, the debate is heated when individuals have conflicting approaches to diversity and we can note three – assimilation, accommodation and integration.

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Excluding religion
Assimilation sees diversity as a threat, and seeks to minimise it by promoting a single culture. This means treating all students in the same way. It leads to the standardisation of curriculum and methodology in fewer, larger schools.

It seeks to exclude religion from education to avoid “divisions”, which may unintentionally promote a unified secular world view. Assimilation can also be a feature of denominational schools when they focus on “membership” and compliance to a narrow ethos as criteria for admission.

Accommodation means different groups must negotiate space for their values, based on compromise and tolerance. In local schools, parents are required to negotiate diverse approaches to religious values with the patron. Non-religious parents negotiate with denominational patrons and denominational parents negotiate accommodation with Educate Together.

Schools accommodate diverse views through exemption systems or by allowing private arrangements for faith instruction. The proposal from the Forum on Patronage to develop a new course teaching “about” religion seeks to negotiate a single approach to Religious Education rather than allowing denominational groups promote their faith.

Integration sees diversity as a value in itself and celebrates differences. It promotes citizens living and learning together, respectful of one another. This is the ideal, but as seen across Europe, it is easier said than done. In Ireland, local schools have made efforts to cater for a wide diversity of student intake, and some have been very creative.

These successes are often ignored and denominational education is blamed for the remaining problems. Intemperate and ill-informed characterisations of the schools pepper the debate. For instance, some portrayals of Catholic schools are more like descriptions from the 1950s. Little recognition is given to the fact that Catholic philosophy of education has meant fundamental changes since Vatican II.

However, its implementation is not always perfect yet no concession is made to the maxim that “an idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it”. Freedom of religion is a liberty guaranteed to each citizen and gives rise to negative and positive claims. The freedom from religion protects individuals from undue interference from others, and a freedom for religion promotes positive support in exercising a philosophical world view.

These two claims are equal.

The European Convention asserts that education will be “in conformity with” the religious and philosophical desires of parents. This is a much stronger position than a minimalist claim not to be “antagonistic” to these desires.

The growing diversity of Irish society provides a major challenge in valuing and facilitating parental choice, both in school type and in what goes on in schools. An integrating approach to diversity does not seek to remove the tension that can exist between differences. It requires that we learn to negotiate the tension and even celebrate differences as good in themselves.

Frequently, the Irish debate reflects little appreciation of how other countries achieve a balance between private and state education and how the diversity of religious experience is supported in State schools.

Responding to diversity through education requires a commitment to integration on the part of parents, patrons and the State. The rights of all three must be directed to a common vision that will only develop through an informed and respectful debate.

We haven’t had that yet. Future generations deserve it.

These issues are discussed in more detail in Fr David Tuohy’s book, Denominational Education and Politics: Ireland in a European Context, published by Veritas. The book is being launched tomorrow in the Arupe Room, Milltown Park, by Jesuit provincial Fr Tom Leyden, with speakers Archbishop Michael Jackson and Roisín Duffy of RTÉ.

Click here for online source.


Faculty development

University of Delaware
President’s Diversity Initiative announces teaching for inclusion project

10:19 a.m., Sept. 16, 2013–The President’s Diversity Initiative will sponsor a series of faculty development workshops during the 2013-14 academic year.

Research shows that student perceptions of diverse faculty can affect their evaluations of teaching. Likewise, faculty are sometimes unaware of classroom practices that can inadvertently affect the performance of different  students.

Topics will include such things as encouraging student discussion across racial/ethnic/gender/cultural identities, LGBTQ issues in the classroom, creating positive learning environments for students with disabilities, and how students perceive and evaluate faculty from diverse backgrounds.

The first workshop will be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25 in 102 Gore Hall, followed by a wine and cheese reception.

The panel will include:

• Margaret L. Andersen, sociology/criminal justice,  “Diversity and Excellence in Education”;

• Pascha Bueno-Hansen, women and gender studies, “Gender and Sexuality: Binary Distinctions and Overcoming the Norms in Classroom Practice”;

• Elizabeth Higginbotham, sociology/criminal justice, “Who Am I Teaching?: Strategies for Learning about Your Students”; and

• Stephanie Kerschbaum, English, “Imagining Disability in Your Classroom.”

All faculty and graduate students are welcome.

The project is being developed in cooperation with the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning.

The President’s Diversity Initiative welcomes suggestions from the faculty about additional workshop topics, as there will be several workshops held over the course of the academic year.

Click here for online article.

Teacher Prep Report Raises Questions About Diversity

When the National Council for Teacher Quality decided to include a “strong design for diversity” component in its Teacher Prep Review, released this past June, the purpose was to show how well teacher prep programs were doing at recruiting racially and ethnically diverse candidates. NCTQ leaders say minority teachers can play a role in helping to raise minority student achievement.

“We know that kids of color can perform better in the classroom when they have teachers that match their race,” says Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ, citing research that has shown that Black students do better when assigned a Black teacher.

Despite the purported benefits of having a teacher of the same race, minority teachers remain woefully underrepresented in relation to the proportion of America’s minority students.

To encourage national recruitment efforts for minority teachers, NCTQ decided to acknowledge teacher prep programs that had what the organization considers noticeably higher proportions of candidates of color.

“We want to make sure that the profession is doing what it should be doing to attract high-quality candidates of color to the profession,” says Walsh.

To read the full online article, click here.