After struggling to get out of bed I made it to the Promising Practices conference. It began as I expect with an introduction and some information about the day, but then an unexpected planned debate seemed to take place. I was interested in hearing all the different professional opinions and conversation, but was very taken back by some of the comments and statements made. When Mayor Tavera spoke about the poverty issue in providence I was very interested in what he had to say because of the experiences I have had in my Service Learning. Personally I was a little disturbed and taken back by the comment mayor Tavera made about students coming from lower income households not using there financial statues as an excuse not to pursue further education. Personally I feel like some individuals aren’t exposed to enough opportunities, but I also strongly disagree with that statement. Mayor Tavera made it seem like just because he happened to have a fortunate situation that all individuals who come from financially unstable households can be successful. The entire time he was speaking about himself, all I could think about was Tim Wise’s talk, Between Barack and a Hard Place. There is a particular comment made by Wise that I only wished Tavera had heard and understood. The concept of society assuming that in order for a black man to be successful he needs to be like Obama. Personally I feel like Tavera should consider the idea those individuals who come from households that are financially unstable don’t have to be just like him to be successful.
Mayor Tavera also made a comment about the ESL students and standardized testing in Rhode Island. Personally I know that there are a lot of students who are ESL in Rhode Island school systems. This comment reminded me of the article I won’t Learn From You by Herbert Kohl. One of the points Kohl made was that some students who are ESL’s refusal to learn can be interoperated as failure to learn when the case is not always. Kohl says that learning from a stranger who doesn’t respect your integrity can result in major loss of self-resulting in rejection to learn and even rejecting the world. Mayor Tavera spoke about how some states offer there standardized tests in other languages then English in all sections except for math. I think that this is a great idea because then students would be able to do better on the test because they would be able to possibly understand something they didn’t before.
When Mayor Travera spoke about the absentee rate in Rhode Island I instantly was extremely interested. In my service learning the absentee rate is extremely high. The last time I was there two students left before three o’clock. Tavera spoke about promoting programs on keeping students in school for the full day and for more days throughout the school year. I personally feel like it is a huge issue that something needs to be done about sooner than later. Students missing an entire hour of school can really impact what they learn particularly if they miss the same hour regularly.
Overall I had an interesting day. The sessions I attend were all interesting though rushed and kind of all over the place. Some of the things that were talking about in the sessions were all over the place and didn’t really connect. In one of my sessions three different groups spoke about a project they did for a class at Rhode Island College. One of the groups talked about getting high schools students in Providence more interested in attending college, the next group talked about how they put up a discussion wall on campus and then the last group talked about better ways to advertise a café. Personally I felt like the first and seconds groups were semi connected but the final group was very disconnected to me. It made me kind of confused and made me feel lost. My other two sessions went really well and were very interesting. The day was overall enjoyable and very interesting.