Lack Of Materials Hinders Student Success

Lack Of Materials Hinders Student Success

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According to the Global Partnership for Education, education is one of the most important investments a country can make in its people and its future. With this in mind, it’s no wonder the government and many people in positions of power stress the importance of making sure that American children get an education, and the phrase “Stay in School” has been repeated several times by various celebrities. As much as its importance is stressed, however, one cannot receive a proper education without the right resources. Getting the suitable materials means having adequate funding, which many schools lack due to governmental budget cuts. In Meredith Broussard’s article, “Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing,” she addresses the lack of proper funding which results in the lack of resources in Philadelphia public schools that students need to succeed. This is an issue that is all too common among many schools in the nation but is continuously overlooked. While Broussard uses statistics, facts, and numbers to prove the lack of physical material in schools, she doesn’t emphasize enough the lack of manpower that also helps the school move forward and students get the proper education.

Meredith Broussard begins her article by talking about how important collecting and having data is in our society. According to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, “Data gives us the roadmap to reform. It tells us where we are, where we need to go, and who is most at risk.” Broussard goes on to tell us how she tried to help her son with his first-grade homework but was unable to because although the answers she gave him were technically correct, they were unacceptable because it’s not what they were taught at school. After this occurrence, she tried to find out the best way to beat the standardized tests her son will start taking in third grade. The solution she found was to read the textbooks that had the answers, specifically the books created by CTB McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, or Pearson. These companies write and grade these tests using material in the books. The standardized tests students take cannot be passed with common sense because the questions and answers are derived almost verbatim from the textbooks that many schools don’t have the money to buy. Broussard finds that getting these supplies and more is additionally problematic because the standards change every year, and the budgets don’t allow schools the ease of getting them. The cuts also lead to a decrease in administrative staff, which limits the schools’ functionality and ability to properly collect data pertaining to textbook supplies. Due to this insufficiency, there is no way for standardized test scores to go up, despite the effort of the teachers and students.

As mentioned above, the inability to provide materials for their students is an issue that many schools nationwide face. Funding for the schools is an essential issue, and much of the money the schools gets comes from taxes on the local property. The communities the schools is in greatly affect how much funding they get: the wealthier the community is, the more money the school gets, and vice versa. As there are not very many wealthy communities and school materials are rather costly, the tax money is not enough to supply everything. Couple that with several government budget cuts, and we have a crisis in our hands. In Broussard’s article, she mentions that teachers have to take out an average of $300 to $1,000 of their own money in order to enhance their annual $100 budget, and purchase some of the basic classroom needs for their students. Sometimes, they even have to resort to buying and using books and other materials that were used by another school, even if the books are not on the school’s curriculum. After building a program to look at each Philadelphia public school to see whether the number of books at the school matched the number of students, Broussard found out that the average school only had 27 percent of the required books in the 2012-2013 year, and at least 10 schools had no books at all. At least, according to the data on their record.

Broussard talks about the collection of data and how the schools go about it but does not elaborate enough. Data collection is what allows the principals and districts to know what the schools have or don’t have, and if the data in missing or incomplete, then there is no way to properly see to it that the students receive the right information. The collection of data doesn’t just happen overnight, however, and there aren’t little fairies and goblins that collect that data. This is usually done by administrative assistants or teachers’ aides. Unfortunately, not only do state funding cuts reduce classroom budgets, they also mean cutbacks in administrative staff. This cutback means that there is no one to properly keep track of what supplies that schools have or don’t have. When Broussard spoke to an administrator at the Philadelphia Office of Curriculum and Development and asked him for the list of curricula used at each school, he replied with, “it doesn’t exist.” The curricula are what the district uses to see what textbooks the schools need and if they don’t exist, the books cannot be supplied. The list is compiled by staff members who are assigned to make a record of the school’s book supply. However, a deficiency of staff means an inaccurate list of supplies, and an inaccurate list means that the district is unable to put together items that will help the students succeed.

In spite of the fact that government officials push the importance of education, they don’t do nearly enough to make sure that the education they so value is actually received. With Philadelphia’s state government cutting budgets and schools lacking the necessary materials and much-needed manpower, no amount of effort that the students and teachers put in will get them to where the nation expects them to be.

Cover Image Credit: https://gsuwellness.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/stressed-out-students.jpg?w=820

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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