HALR Chapters 15 & 22, Writing and Sharing our Funds of Knowledge

Writing and Sharing our Funds of Knowledge

This piece focuses on the knowledge we can bring from our homes to our practices at schools.   These include  experiential, informal, cultural, and people-based “funds of knowledge”.  In the paper, we see how to make a map that looks like webs used for any number of academic pre-writing exercises.  They draw connections, in this case, between all the types of knowledge brought from outside school into school.  It will be interesting to see if we do this in class…

Chapter 15

The section titled “Cultural Foundation of Tracking” could just as easily be labeled “The Effects of Political Ideologies on Education”.  It is not surprising to find cultural ideals reflected in our educational practices.  Politics in this system have created classes, and this stratification probably happens more often than we realize considering the ideals touted by the group with the most power.  Naturally, the group with the most power will wield the most influence on policy, which in this system means the rich and/ or the social elite.  When their discourse revolves around the idea that people are not adversely affected by socioeconomic differences, they are conveniently “forgetting” that their misguided notion of poverty as genetic is still entrenched in our culture to this day.  Well, they aren’t forgetting so much as practicing willful ignorance of it. Tracking is just another manifestation of this piece of nonsense (that we inherit our social status via our blood) that we are all still suffering under. It falls in nicely with the whole 3/5 of a person mentality that was itself a further embodiment of slavery justified by the idea of inferior genetics.  All of which is compounded with this notion of the American ideal: “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”,  “Anyone can do it”.  Sure, and the best response I’ve seen to that yet: “That’s a really good way to fall flat on your face”.  The response outlined, “beliefs and values grounded in low expectations held by parents, teachers, students, administration, and community members must be challenged for the strategy to succeed” is one I’d love to see outlined (not to mention practiced) in more detail (perhaps I should read the rest of the chapter). Whatever happened to tabula rasa?  Granted that was inaccurate as well, but we’ve gone quite a ways in the opposite direction.

I’m wondering how difficult the idea of better curriculum for all students, what is essentially (if arguing in political jargon) a Marxist redistribution of resources, would play out on the national stage.  How do we combat the idea that localities should only get the money the taxpayers in the area have put into the local coffers, strengthening and solidifying the class structure and ignoring mountains of research that show that equalized opportunity means equalized academic achievement, when the paradigm of standardized testing and the subsequent grouping further causes the stratification to manifest itself?  In short, how does this work when so much of the country’s political capital is spent telling us that detracking is the wrong way to educate, and that resources should depend on the hard work of the taxpayers in a certain area and the abilities and skills displayed by individual students?  How do you fight people that obviously don’t like any kids that aren’t their own (that are already benefiting from higher levels of education in most cases)?

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