Perspectives on Positive Social Change
Values and ideologies are reflected in each person’s worldview of what constitutes positive social change. However, there are often multiple prevailing worldviews evidenced in the structural features of human organizations, including education systems.
Consider the following scenario:
Troubled by the continuing achievement gap between the economically disadvantaged and the economically advantaged students in her district, Superintendent Miranda convenes a task force made up of a variety of stakeholders from the community to explore how to address this issue. During the first meeting, a gentleman states, “When my parents came to this country, they were poor and did not speak English. When my father went to school, it was with the express purpose of becoming an American. We kept cultural traditions in our home and with our neighbors who shared the same traditions. However, school was the place to learn the ‘American Way,’ including the English language and the skills to get a good job and move up the ladder in a workplace. He was never treated differently because he was poor and did not speak English. The expectation was that if you want to prosper in America, you learned the language of America and you adopted the American work ethic and culture so you could achieve the American dream. With these beliefs, my father did learn English, worked for an American company that taught him the technical and social skills he would use to help his family live the American dream. My father eventually started his own business, which continues to prosper in this community. He passed those values on to me, and I am successful because of them, too. Help me understand why we need to do things differently for what this task force is calling ‘the economically disadvantaged.’ School is already free to all students, and with the same effort and hard work my father and I put in, they can be as successful achieving the American dream. I am concerned we will further burden our schoolteachers, instructional time, and school budget by adding special treatment and programs for certain students who could succeed under our current system by just applying themselves the way my father and I applied ourselves.”
To prepare for this Discussion, review the module readings in favor of and opposed to the Ruby Payne “culture of poverty” approach to positive social change for students in poverty. Review the Walden University definition of positive social change. Also, consider the following:
•Worldviews/values/ideologies evident on each side of the “culture of poverty” debate
•Principles and/or approaches of culturally responsive education practices advanced by Ruby Payne’s “culture of poverty” paradigm
•Principles and/or approaches of culturally responsive education practices advanced by opponents of the Ruby Payne “culture of poverty” paradigm
•How the positive social change leaders featured in the media for this module approached advocating culturally responsive education practices
By Day 7 of Week 7:
Post your responses to the following:
Share two or three key points you would use to defend and/or challenge the community stakeholder’s perspective on positive social change with regard to providing interventions for economically disadvantaged students. How does your stand, or your perspective, reflect your definition of positive social change? How does your stand reflect the Walden University definition of positive social change?
Cite resources to support your stand.
By Day 3 of Week 8:
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings. As you read their responses, note those to which you would like to respond with advice, questions, comments, and/or encouragement.
Respond to two or more of your colleagues’ postings in any of the following ways:
•Explain why and how you agree and/or disagree with your colleague’s stance and defense points.
•Ask a probing or clarifying question to deepen understanding of your colleague’s stance.
•Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
By Day 7 of Week 8:
Return to this Discussion to read the responses to your initial posting. Post responses as needed to those colleagues who commented on your post AND post a reflective comment on what you learned in this activity and/or insights you gained this week.
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