MK 354 Spring 2010

April 25, 2010

Plan To Ban Burqas

Filed under: blog #10 — marissaestrada @ 9:57 pm

Not too long ago, women in Afghanistan were being forced to hide their faces with veils called burqas. That was when the Taliban ruled over the deeply conservative country, but since the US Invasion that ended the Taliban’s rule in 2001, many women have stopped hiding behind their burqas. There are still many women, specifically in urban areas and in the southern part of Afghanistan, that continue wearing their burqa.

Controversy over burqas has once again made the news after several European countries have pushed to ban wearing burqas all together, a move which “restricts a Muslim woman’s choice in countries that otherwise make a fuss about personal rights.”

France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, as well as Italy and Belgium are the countries considering the ban burqas and face veils because “many see them as the subjugation of women.”

Women such as 35-year-old Afghan government employee Shukriya Ahmadi see the ban as a way for the government to “use democracy, freedom of religion and human rights issues only when it suits their purposes,” and ultimately see the ban as a major double standard. Others are against the ban because of it’s violation of a woman’s right to choose what she does or does not wear, or whether she shows her face or not.

I am personally outraged by even the proposal of such a ban. I see this as a complete obstruction of personal choice. Even though these countries proposing the ban are trying to liberate Muslim women of the burden the burqa enforces, they are actually furthering women’s oppression by telling them they absolutely cannot do something. It is very simple, men and women both should feel free to express themselves however he or she pleases.

Source:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/16/AR2010041601142.html

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Longer school days

Filed under: blog #10, Uncategorized — mtamayo26 @ 9:44 pm

The article I chose deals with President Obama purposing longer school days and shorter summer vacation for students. He believes because students spend little time at school American children are at a disadvantage with other children around the world. However, while it is true that children in many other countries have more school days, it’s not true they all spend more time in school. “Kids in the U.S. spend more hours in school (1,146 instructional hours per year) than do kids in the Asian countries that persistently outscore the U.S. on math and science tests — Singapore (903), Taiwan (1,050), Japan (1,005) and Hong Kong (1,013). That is despite the fact that Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong have longer school years (190 to 201 days) than does the U.S. (180 days).”

The extra time would be intended for core academics, more time with teachers and for students to get help if they have fallen behind. The article also mentioned leaving the school open after classes and on weekends as an optional place for students to spend their free time in an enriching environment. The Goodwill offers after-school programs for young boys and girls to continue learning outside of the classroom with instructors and mentors to help them with their schoolwork. Ultimately, the programs offered by Goodwill are similar to those that would come from having longer school days and shorter summers, except Goodwill offers its programs to children who are underprivileged who seek the extra help with their academics.

HIV: spread the message not the virus

Filed under: blog #10, Uncategorized — csomerville @ 8:43 pm

There is a lot of time and money being spent on developing a vaccination to prevent the contraction of HIV/AIDS. Millions of people would benefit should this advancement come to pass, and a stop could be brought to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has ensued for 30 years. However, there’s another form of prevention that could produce the same results and it’s already on the market.

Using contraceptives is an affective way to prevent the contraction of HIV as well as other sexually transmitted diseases and infections. There should be a greater importance placed on educating people, particularly youth, about HIV/AIDS prevention. Teaching students at an early that condoms are the only prevention tools that protect sexually active people against HIV/AIDS would hopefully put an end to the myths and misinformation.

The fear that I have about the creation of an HIV/AIDS vaccination is that people will feel less inclined to sexually protect themselves against diseases and end up contracting something else. Though the other STDs and STIs don’t compare to HIV/AIDS, they can still be painful, embarrassing and incurable. I believe that the vaccine would be of lesser importance if people were more sexually educated, because there is already a sure-fire way of prevention. When it comes to HIV, spread the message not the virus

April 22, 2010

¿ Tú hablas español?

Filed under: blog #10 — jlptzld @ 2:46 pm

I recently read an article written by Washington Post author Michael Alison Chandler that discusses a local school district’s goals for early-foreign-language instruction and for students’ proficiency in two languages by the time they graduate. The article, “Budget woes frustrate foreign language goals; in Fairfax schools, the debate becomes fundamentals vs. frills,” discusses the county’s ambitious education goals, the advantages of a bilingual-education and the budget cuts that threaten its curriculum.

The disadvantage of being familiar with only one’s native language in an increasingly interconnected world has been a subject of growing consideration as technology and businesses bridge gaps between different parts of the world. According to Chandler, “English is insufficient to succeed at international business or diplomacy,” however, only “16 states and the District require students to complete some foreign language coursework to receive a diploma.” This, Chandler implies, is evidence of “America’s aversion to learning foreign languages” because many programs only require a few years of instruction in high school or middle school.

In fact, “school leaders say the early programs are crucial to producing a generation of bilingual students. Two or three years of French in high school are not enough to get students beyond the beginner level…. It takes more time to move past memorizing vocabulary lists and start communicating” (Chandler). I think many students my age can relate to this experience—a good portion of students took a few years of a foreign language in high school, but how much of it do they really remember? Personally, a few key phrases and random words are all that remain from my four years of Spanish from eighth to eleventh grade.

Fairfax County not appear to only value the advantages of a bilingual-education, but the district also recognizes the importance of learning languages at an early age. The county has developed foreign language programs that begin in elementary school; the article describes an 8-year-old boy named Jordan that learns Japanese for half the day in his third-grade class. However, according to Chandler, the elementary school language program faces a significant threat as the county projects a “$176 million shortfall in next year’s budget”—budget cuts have been known to affect nearly every academic subject and “anything apart from reading, writing and math is vulnerable.”

This “aversion to learning foreign languages,” that Chandler describes, could prove to place American students at a disadvantage to international students in areas such as Europe and East Asia “where foreign language instruction is given.” In fact, many individuals remain skeptical of the benefits of learning a foreign language due to the fact that English is spoken worldwide. However, the fact remains that children of other countries are capable of learning multiple, and arguably more difficult languages—not only can they communicate in their native language, but they are capable of communicating with others on a global scale. This ability provides bilingual or multilingual students with the ability to rely less on others and more on their own knowledge—a sense of individuality and independence that is normally characterized as a particularly American trait. Yet, the majority of the American school system does not provide its students with adequate exposure to skills that can further their self-reliance.

http://www.lexisnexis.com.proxy.emerson.edu/us/lnacademic/results/docview/docview.do?docLinkInd=true&risb=21_T9136480022&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=26&resultsUrlKey=29_T9136480036&cisb=22_T9136480035&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=30

April 21, 2010

Jumpstart gains an added dimension

Filed under: blog #10 — ajblack029 @ 6:44 pm

Even though I have been working with Jumpstart all semester, for the most part I have only been thinking of the short-term effects of the program. There have been countless studies that show the importance of early-childhood education and how it can positively affect these young children greatly: higher test scores, improved social skills and generally being more prepared to succeed in school and in life.

Recently, I have started to hear stories about people who have been through programs like Jumpstart. More often than not, those who have gone through similar programs or attend preschool, are extremely thankful for the opportunity, even fifteen to twenty years later. An article in Pittsburgh’s Tribune-Review, Preschool education promoted as crucial, featured a student, Natalie Bercik, who felt so influenced by her preschool experience, that she felt inspired to pursue a degree in early childhood education.

                After reading this article, I realized that I have heard several stories like that. I had written a backgrounder on a Jumpstart Corps member named Freddy who said he had joined Jumpstart to return the favor that he had been given in a similar program when he was younger. Even closer to home, my grandmother was a teacher, both my mom and sister are teachers, and all of them have echoed similar sentiments at some point about being inspired to get involved in education by their own experiences in the classroom.

                The realization that attending preschool can have a profound effect on a child’s life brought a whole new depth of Jumpstart to my eyes. Not only are these children learning essential skills to enter school prepared to succeed, Jumpstart enables partner schools to be able to provide this meaningful experience to the young children. In the article, Bercik concluded, “If each child felt like I wanted them to be there, I did my job.” Through Jumpstart and other opportunities in early-childhood education, a child’s life can certainly be changed forever.

April 14, 2010

U turn.

Filed under: blog #10 — cathleendbombard @ 12:41 pm

I am sitting at my aunt’s old computer by the wood stove in New Hampshire trying to write my blog post. My head is twirling with anxiety and I feel as though I could puke. Yep, I’m going to go right out and say it: I got arrested and I have a court date tomorrow morning. Before you get all excited and think I did something epic, I have to let you know that it wasn’t an epic arrest at all. There wasn’t a police chase and it wasn’t a hit and run. I made the unfortunate decision to go on a U turn on the highway.

Tomorrow I will face the judge and to try to explain why the charge should be lifted from my record.  By my side will be my parents and my aunt. I don’t think I would be able to walk in alone without a support system and people to advocate for me.
I took a break from writing and looked up at my mom who was anxiously biting her nails. It was at that moment I knew how scared she was for me. I then said, “Hey Mom, you look a bit nervous.” She smiled at me and said, “Of course I am not nervous.” I knew it was a lie, but I smiled back and continued writing. I know my mother was nervous because she wanted the best for me. I will never feel alone as long as I have my mother in my life.
Being alone can be a scary place to be. So many young people do not have someone to advocate and care for them. That is why I have so much respect for Partners for Youth with Disabilities. The organization makes sure that youth and young people with disabilities not only are advocated for, but that they never feel alone. PYD has a program called, “Mentor Match.” This program has a tremendous impact on thousands of youth with disabilities by connecting youth to adult role models in meaningful one-to-one mentoring relationships. A member at PYD is always there for support and guidance, which is one reason why the organization is so special.

Walking into the court house tomorrow I will think of all the youth and young people who go through a lot scarier times in their lives and I will be strong like they are.

U turn.

Filed under: blog #10 — cathleendbombard @ 12:39 pm

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I am sitting at my aunt’s old computer by the wood stove in New Hampshire trying to write my blog post. My head is twirling with anxiety and I feel as though I could puke. Yep, I’m going to go right out and say it: I got arrested and I have a court date tomorrow morning. Before you get all excited and think I did something epic, I have to let you know that it wasn’t an epic arrest at all. There wasn’t a police chase and it wasn’t a hit and run. I made the unfortunate decision to go on a U turn on the highway.

Tomorrow I will face the judge and to try to explain why the charge should be lifted from my record.  By my side will be my parents and my aunt. I don’t think I would be able to walk in alone without a support system and people to advocate for me.

I took a break from writing and looked up at my mom who was anxiously biting her nails. It was at that moment I knew how scared she was for me. I then said, “Hey Mom, you look a bit nervous.” She smiled at me and said, “Of course I am not nervous.” I knew it was a lie, but I smiled back and continued writing. I know my mother was nervous because she wanted the best for me. I will never feel alone as long as I have my mother in my life.

Being alone can be a scary place to be. So many young people do not have someone to advocate and care for them. That is why I have so much respect for Partners for Youth with Disabilities. The organization makes sure that youth and young people with disabilities not only are advocated for, but that they never feel alone. PYD has a program called, “Mentor Match.” This program has a tremendous impact on thousands of youth with disabilities by connecting youth to adult role models in meaningful one-to-one mentoring relationships. A member at PYD is always there for support and guidance, which is one reason why the organization is so special.

Walking into the court house tomorrow I will think of all the youth and young people who go through a lot scarier times in their lives and I will be strong like they are.

March 29, 2010

Sexism at Newsweek

Filed under: blog #10 — carolinerichov @ 1:06 pm

“The truth is no matter how much I respect my female co-workers I eventually think about putting my hands on their chest whenever I talk to them… And female bosses, I constantly think about having sex with them.”

Yes, someone said this.  This comment, along with dozzens of others, was in response to the article, Are We There Yet?  in this weeks Newsweek.  The article reflects upon the progression of sexism in the workplace- particularly at Newsweek.  Three female writers depict the 1970 lawsuit against Newsweek when 46-women media professionals sued for employment discrimination based on gender.  They illustrate the changes Newsweek has made over the past 40 years but admit the company, as well as others, still have a long way to go.

The three female writers and Newsweek employees, Jessica Bennett, Jesse Ellison and Sarah Ball, investigated the company and spoke with coworkers and past employees.  They wanted to gain greater insights about how the organization has changed and how employees currently feel about gender issues in the workplace:

If a man takes an interest in our work, we can’t help but think about the male superior who advised “using our sexuality” to get ahead, or the manager who winkingly asked one of us, apropos of nothing, to “bake me cookies.” One young colleague recalls being teased about the older male boss who lingered near her desk. “What am I supposed to do with that? Assume that’s the explanation for any accomplishments? Assume my work isn’t valuable?” she asks. “It gets in your head, which is the most insidious part.”

Newsweek provided an outlet for Bennet, Ellison and Ball  to publicize their criticism of the organization.  This suggests that Newsweek is willing to open itself up to examination and critique.  By promoting this critique Newsweek shows a commitment to gender equality and a willingness to discuss the matter.  The writers have started their own blog to facilitate discussion pertaining to related gender issues.

Women, Action and the Media (WAM!) formed to addess the same issues the three Newsweek employees address.  WAM! is aware of the gender inequalities in the workplace, especially across media professions.  WAM! organizes conferences and workshops as part of an advocacy movement for gender justice in media.  Newsweek and Are We There Yet illustrate many of the reasons why WAM! makes efforts to achieve gender equality.  I am sure Bennet, Ellison and Ball would agree with WAM! in saying, “power and privilege is about who gets to speak and who is listened to, and most of the time it’s not women.”

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