writing as an educational historian and an educational advocate–which we’ll be doing for our major papers. So today we’re beginning with the “research” you’ve already done into public education: your own experiences in school. I’m asking you to write, then share what you wrote in small groups and then perhaps with the class. Here’s the prompt:

Reflect on your own education–in elementary, middle, or high school, or right here at UC Irvine–and identify a problem. What about your own education, or the education of others you know, caused difficulties or harm? Write for fifteen (15) minutes, covering two parts:

Part 1: Historical Analysis:

  • Identify the problem: What is it? What is its scope. Who’s affected?
  • What are its impacts on you and/or others. What harms did/does it cause?
  • Think about the causes of the problem: What factors led to it? When did it begin? How did it develop?

Part 2: Advocacy:

  • Discuss how the problem could be solved, or what attempts have already been made to solve the problem.
  • Who’s responsible for solving it? What must they do? What might it cost? Why are/aren’t these solutions likely to work?

Can’t think of a problem? Here are some ideas:

– Parental Involvement

– Administrators: principals, course directors, provosts, school boards, etc.

– Support staff (counselors, custodians, office managers, etc.)

– School closure or takeover

– Curriculum: In math, science, language, social sciences, arts, etc. (This could include recent shifts with Common Core.)

– Extracurriculars, including clubs and sports: lack of support for; over-emphasis on

– Academic programs: Special Ed, AVID, Summer Bridge, etc.

– Funding: tuition or expenses

– Class segregation or conflict (i.e. socioeconomic segregation, a.k.a. divides between the wealthy and the poor)–between schools, within schools and between classes or tracks, including access for low-income students

– Racial Segregation: see above -> between schools, between classes or tracks

– Students: preparation, motivation, workload, cheating, retention

– Tests: Too many, Too few. Tests on the wrong things or at the wrong times or in the wrong manner.

– Teachers: Preparation, Motivation, Retention

– Facilities: i.e. Environment and Equipment, including technology

– Language barriers: e.g. between teachers and students, between students

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