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Education by Class: Observations from an Elite School Diana Watson A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the S ponsorship o f Dr. Maria Vesperi Sarasota, Florida April 2013
ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS To my committee, Maria Vesperi, Uzi Baram and Erin Dean, you have each challenged my intellect and supported my growth. Every conversation in class represents hours of contemplation at home. Maria, m y writing owes its clarity to your dili gent editing. Your patience is an inspiration. Uzi, I can not thank you enough for the opportunity to be useful around the NCPAL, it has been a personally rewarding experience and amazing practice for instruction. Erin, b ecause of the reference in Tomatolan d to the Pedagogy of the Oppressed I have a new found enthusiasm for education reform. Your reading assignments have changed the way I experience the world. I a m grateful to the faculty at Saint Stephen s for the acceptance I felt. In particular I would like to thank Mr. Haakman, Mrs. Pommer, Mr. Moran, Mr. Huff and Mrs. Craft for allowing me to observe their classrooms. Travis Small, your work ethic encouraged me when mine got shaky and I needed it most. Finally, I owe thanks to Angela and Nero Watson fo r always believing in my abilities and sending me golden balls of love.
iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgments ii Table of Contents iii List of Figures i v Abstract v Introduction ________________________________ ___________________________ 1 Chapter 1 Setting and Methodology ________________________________ _______ 5 Demographics ________________________________ ______________________________ 5 Navigating Campus ________________________________ _________________________ 9 Gaining Access ________________________________ ____________________________ 10 Studying Up _____________________________________________________________ 13 Teaching at Saint Stephen s ___ _____________________________________________ 18 Chapter 2 Background Literarture ________________________________ _______ 21 Hegemony ________________________________ ________________________________ 22 Influence of Social Factors on Educational Outcome _____________________________ 23 Incomplete Educations ________________________________ ______________________ 27 Control of Knowledge 31 Teaching Social Science in an Elite Setting 34 Chapter 3 Observation s ________________________________ _________________ 36 AP World History ________________________________ __________________________ 36 Western Civilizations 42 American History 49 Conclusio n 55 Bibliography 62
iv LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1.1 Population of Bradenton Florida from 2010 U.S. Census 6 Figure 1.2a&b Demographics of neighboring High schools 7 Figure 1.3 Map of Saint Stephen s School 11 Figure 1.4 Upper School Schedule 15 Figure 3.1 AP World History Unit Exam 1450 17 50 39 Figure 3.2 2012 Ninth Grade Winter Research Topics 46
1 Introduction I stumbled into my interest in education when, at age 16, I was offered a position in the nursery of Christie s Family Fitness. I went in to purchase a membership and walked away hired. And after two exhausting but personally rewarding years I knew I wanted teaching to be part of my future plans. At New College I was also able to find an outlet to channel my interest. Volunteering for the public outreach events at the New College Public Archaeology Lab gave me the opportunity to experience a n educational setting that encouraged learning through experience and fostered awareness of ecological and social history. Assisting in coordinating one of the outreach events, A Day at t he Lab, further pushed the development of my teaching tool kit and introduced me to the art of maintain ing control over activity in the classroom. I began this thesis with the broad goal of observing teaching strategies in history classes and, more specifically, which strategies held students attention. My interest in the topic of cultural reproduction through education was sparked only after my first visit to St. Stephen s Preparatory School. It took me little time to correlate the school s policy of collared shirts and no blue jeans with the conservative aesthetics o f instructors and the suits and blue blazers worn by daily by many male students. Howev er, over the course of my field work I began to notice a more nuanced dynamic than mere mechanical reproduction. Sherry Ortner remarks that history makes people but people make history 2003:277. In this quote Ortner evokes Karl Marx s 1852 notion that culture is the by product of a dialectic relationship between social actors and pre existing structures Pierre
2 Bourdieu also employs this understanding of culture, which he describes in detail in Outline of a Theory of Practice 1977. This emphasis on the individual is not a trivial component. In the case of elite students, individual agency can manifest in innumerable responses ranging from acceptance of the conse rvative ideology of the institution to i ntense opposition and rebellion, while other students elect to participate in school as little as possible. The instructors have a certain degree of freedom as well, exercised in their presentation of topics. In exc hange for my labor as a teacher s aid, the St. Stephen s administration granted me permission to observe any of the middle or high school classes. I chose to focus on history classes in the Upper and Middle school for two reasons. My initial incentive was personal ease. I knew I would be most comfortable in history classes since much of the material overlapped with my undergraduate studies in anthropology. My other reason was related to methodology. Prior research in schools by sociologist Jean Anyon provid ed a solid foundation on which to build my analysis of how class status i nfluences how and what social science, in particular, was taught. I begin Chapter One with a brief spatial and demographic description of the fieldwor k site and the surrounding ar ea of Bradenton Florida. I also take advantage of the opportunity to reflect on the context of my gaining access and the cultural knowledge that my fieldwork presupposed. The chapter concludes with my observations of the teaching conditions at St. Stephen s. In Chapter T wo, I provide a review of the literature on elite education in post industrial societies including the United States, paying close attention to how and why certain forms of knowledge are restricted to the upper classes. I also draw from au thors
3 who have examined tactics employed by elite private schools to ensure their students received a top rate education. Chapters T hree is comprised of my observations and analysis of sections of Mr. Whelan s 11th grade AP World History, Mr. Huff and Mrs Craft s ninth grade Western Civilization classes and Mr. Moran s eighth grade American History. Many of the actions by teachers at St Stephen s may be categorized as part of an inquiry method of learning. This system was developed at the University o f California, Berk e ley and involves three basic components: exploration, invention, and discovery. Emphasis is placed on learning from personal experience and knowledge is built upon itself as students move from one phase to the next Lawson and Renner, 1 975. While there is strong evidence to support the efficacy of the inquiry method at improving standardized test scores in at risk students in public school Geier et al. 2008 ; Tretter and Jones 2003, the markers of the system, hands on activities, sel f reflection, and catering to an individual s interests, are observed in elite private schools with greater frequency. This apparent inequality in the education of students in the U.S. should be carefully examined in order to produce education reform polic ies that address the power imbalance among classes. My thesis has a foundation in the conundrum of how to raise and educate children. And with the ever expanding list of schooling options, this is increasingly a personal choice especially for the middl e to upper class. St. Stephens provides elite credentials to students who attend, the first step in a dvancing those students into position s of power in the capitalist hierarchy of owners/managers/workers. But while the strategies employed in elite schools seem to genuinely bolster academic achievement, the work of
4 Annette Lareau revealed that this style can inflict a hefty emotional toll on the families, students and teachers.
5 Chapter One Setting and Methodology Demographic Backgrou nd St Stephen's is an elite Episcopalian p reparatory school for pre Kindergarten through high school. In a s tatement on the home page of it s website, the school offers to prospective students the world of understanding... in Bradenton, Florida so much closer than you think. Located on Florida s West Coast, in Manatee C ounty, Bradenton has a population of almost 50,000. 1 The county school d istrict that includes St. Stephen s also support s 30 private middle/high schools Eighteen of these private schools have no religious affiliation, two are Christian, one Baptist, one independent one Nazarene, one Presbyterian three non denominational tw o Catholic and one Episcopal ian St. Stephen s There are an additional eight p ublic or public c harter high schools, 13 middle schools and 44 elementary schools. The population of the area i s predominately white, 64 percent, h owever, within the age bra cket of high school students, a lower percentage claim to be white as compared to the city wide average. This is reflected in the statistics from the eight public or public c h arter high schools in Manatee C ounty. Among the public high schools, white indi viduals averaged about 55.12 percent of the student body, followed by Afr ican Americans at about 21.3 percent then Hisp anic individuals with 17 percent and finally 1 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 2011 American Community Survey. Population numbers and percentages are estimates with a margin of error up to 2.5 percent.
6 Asian s averaged about 2 percent However, the percentages of individuals from each racial ized group varied greatly between locations. Bradenton 2010 Total Population 2 49,546 White Persons not Hispanic 33,723 64.4% Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin 8,124 17% Black Persons 7,342 15.9% Asian Persons 638 1.1% American Indian and Alaska N ative persons 194 0.3% Native Hawaiia n and Other Pacific Islanders 34 0.01 % Two or more races 1,216 2. 5 % Figure 1.1 Compared to the demographics of Bradenton and the make up of the eight p ublic high schools in Manatee County, the composition of St. S tephen s i s not representative of the surrounding population. Enrollment at St. Stephen s for the 2011 2012 school year was 650 and the average class size was 16 students. The majority of students in the 2010 2011 school year were white 89.6 percent ; fo llowed distantly by the As ian category 5 2 Population numbers and percentages are estimates with a margin of error up to 2.5%. Full Data Set is available electronically at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk
7 percent and Hispanic 3.69 percent Finally African American individuals accounted for 1.56% of the study body. 3 Bayshore High School Manatee High School Southeast High School Lakewood Ranch High School Public 9 12 Public 9 12 Public 9 12 Public 9 12 Students per Teacher 19 20 17 21 White 62% Hispanic 20% African American 13% Asian 2% Native American<1% White 68% African American 17% Hispanic 11% Asian 2% Native American <1% White 42% Hispanic 28% African American 24% Asian 3% Native American<1 % White 83% Hispanic 8% African American 7% Asian <1% Native American <1% Eligible for Meal Ass 43% 29% 52% 15% Figure 1.2a Richard Milburn Academy Manasota ARC School Central High School Braden River High School Charter 9 12 Public 7 12 Public PK, 9 12 Public 9 12 Students per Teacher 25 15 20 22 African American 43% Hispanic 29% White 27% Asian <1% Native American <1% White 53% African American 27% Hispanic 20% Asian <1% Native American <1% White 33% African American 32% Hispanic 30% Native American <1% Asian <1% White 73% Hispanic 13% African American 8% Asian 3% Native American <1% Eligible for Meal Ass 27% 60% 53% 23% Figure 1.2b 3 http://www.movoto.com/public schools/fl/bradenton/combined elementarysecondary/0025956 3 st stephens episcopal school/315 41st st w.htm.
8 One reason for this disparity is that St. Stephen s attracts families from beyond the immediate neighborhood, a f act that the school promotes on its website: Saint Stephen s students come from far and wide, including: Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Palmetto, Ellenton, Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and Casey Key. St. Stephen's also aims to attract international students ; during my field study I interacted with three individuals who were recently accepted into the school from China, all of whom had prior English language courses Central to the appeal of St. Stephen s is the institution's reputation as an outstand ing p reparatory school particularly it s university acceptance rates In 2012 alone, graduates were accepted at Brown, Duke, Yale, Wellesley, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Davidson and Vassar College among others I sus pect the school also appeals to parents who take issue with state mandated standardized testing, in this case the FCAT. Unlike the public schools in the area that provide transportation and reduced meal fees, an education at St. Stephen s must be paid for in full by the parents. Partial s cholarships a re offered only to children of emergency r esponders and faculty. However St. Stephen s does provide information on its website about private lenders such as SallieMae. Cost of attendance in 2011 varied from $1 1,450 for a full day of p re K indergarten care, increasing to $18,540 for 9th 12th gr ade, in addition to a one time m atriculation fee of 1,000 and a fee for transportation $1,420 one way or $1,780 round trip Families of students from 7th to 11th grade we re also expected to contribute $250 500 a nnually for book costs and $500 900 per year for field trips.
9 Navigating Campus S tudents at St Stephen s are divided into four categories: Lowe r School: pre Kindergarten Grade 3, Intermediate School: Grad es 4 6, Middle School: Grades 7 8 and Upper School: Grades 9 12 The grounds of St. Stephen's are extensive in order to accommodate wing s for each age division and other structures on the property, including the Christ Episcopal C hurch, the Hoagland Arena/Gym, tennis c ourts, a baseball field and a playground for the Lower School. The school also owns land on an adjacent sliver of Manatee Bay where docks have been constructed for inquir y based science instruction. The campus is encircled by a tall b lack iron fence with one primary entrance for e ach wing. The buildings are separate structures and most of the connecting hallways are open to the out doors. Existence on the campus is compartmentalized for the students, with each age group dominating a sp ecific wing and hallways and each ope rating on a different class schedule. I woke up five days a week, Monday through Friday, at 6 AM for the duration of the 2012 January, school calendar to arrive at St. Stephen s by 7:30 A.M. Classes begin at 8 AM and s tudents are free to leave at 3 PM; I sometimes stuck around later to catch up with teachers. After regular school hours more or less 8 AM 4 PM St Stephen's also serves as the educational facility for some high school student athletes in the prestigiou s IMG sports academies which are located n ear by in Bradenton.
10 A s an educator/intern I was required to navigate between the wings which initially prov ed to be difficult E ven seasoned educators had to literally run between certain cl asses For example, my afternoon dash from the Intermediate to Upper school necessitated either descending a flight of stairs, exiting the building, walking several hundred yards around the corner of the Intermediate school, in a side entrance and up another flight of stairs, o r as I was later and thankfully introduced to a limited access walkway with a No Exit sign above the door, on the second floor between buildings. But even after taking advantage of the wa lkway, the rotating schedule of the Upper School sometimes left literally no time between classes, forcing the instructors to run. Gaining Access: I was given the opportunity to visit St. Stephen's through a teaching internship Independent Study Project ISP coordinated by faculty at St. Stephen's and New College of Florida. My aspirations as an educator and my research interests for this project coincided with the intentions of the program to train teachers and I was given a recommendation by David Rohrbacher, the sponsoring professor. With that recommendation I was granted an interview with Mr. Haakman the liaison for St. Stephen s The afternoon of my i nterview, I carefully tucked my blue stre ak of hair behind a black headband, donned one of the few combinations of blouse and slacks in my wardrobe that requi re ironing and head ed off in hopes I could find the campus without too much difficulty.
11 Figure 1. 3
12 Unlike Norris Brock Johnson s 1984 experience gaining access to an elementary school I did not have to approach a comp lete stranger with a research proposal and credentials. I nstead I had to ace an interview. I thought back to my experiences in the gifted programs at my public elementary and middle school s and to every white linen din n er out at a restaurant with my Nonna rehearsing her instruct ions in my head: Don't fidget. Make eye contact and so on. Paul Hirsch speculates that many researchers studying elites unknowingly participate in similar behaviors I suspect a good correlation between the success of project s for those just starting out and their personal knowledge of or connections to the worlds about which they are writing & because the investigator should have a strong sense o f what counts here Hirsch 1995 :73; see also Gaztambide Fernandez 2012:292. I approached the ornate yet secure wrought iron fence and pressed the red buzzer button on the gate. A female voice inquired as to my identity and I was told to proceed immediately forward to the reception building. A young man on the other side of the fence watched me throughout this interaction; I wondered if I looked like a fellow student. M y suspicion was immediately debunke d when I walked into the office, Ah this must be one of the New College students, remarked the receptionist to the man on her left. This man introduced himself as Mr. Haakman, an instructor at St. Stephen s and liaison for the New College students. After several minutes of discussion Mr. Haakman agreed that my personal career ambitions and thesis research goals were a great fit for the internship. My interest in the teaching strategies at St. Stephen's was graciously received ; Mr. Haakman already had great confidence in the school s curriculum and implementation. However, he added,
13 there was one more topic to discuss: the decorum. I gl anced quickly at my interviewer; this was the first time I registered that he was dressed in a charcoal grey three piece suit, complete with a tie to match his oxford shirt. I t was only 4:30 PM; he taught school in these clothes. I tried my hardest not to blush visibly as Mr. Haakman kindly asked me to remove my three facial piercings while on campus and explained that blue jeans were generally not permitted except for school sanctioned dress down days. Studying up As Weber discusses in his 1946 C lass Status Party an elite group is defined by the ability to dictate what social and symbolic resources one needs to gain access as an equal to that group 191 I had unwittingly signed up to teach and research a definably elite group and partic ipate in what Laura Nader terms s tudying up 1972. According to Nader, anthropologists should be interested in the act of studying up because, our lives thems elves may depend upon the extent to which citizens understand those who shape attitudes and ac tually control institutional structures 1972:1 According to Faye Harrison, a nthropological studies in this vein are also useful to destabilize accepted knowledge 2008:67. I soon disco vered that during my time at Saint Stephen s I was seen both as an insider and an outsider, to use a metaphor employed by Ruth Behar 1996; see also Gaztambide Fernandez 2012. On the surface, my background of educational achievement and my desire to teach allowed me to fit in well enough with the oth er
14 educators at St. Stephen s who, for example, granted me privilege to hang out during their informal meetings at lunch time Simultaneously I was initially an outsider in many ways. M ost especially I lacked knowledge of how the school functioned on a daily basi s. There was, for example, a complex bell schedule that would signal the movement of student s all over campus. However, to reduce the intrusion of a repetitive and alarming bell sound, a short sample of The Beatles' Here Comes the Sun was played over the intercom instead. The Beatles would resonate through the halls and classrooms at different times each day, depending on the age division. Some days the students had all their classes, on others they attended only four or five, with longer sessions for eac h class. And for the first week I found myself on a handful of occasions completely alone in a building frantically searching for the class I was only moments ago observing. One such incident introduced me to the St. Stephen s tradition of weekly c hapel s ervice My first day of field research was also the first time I lost track of the students I was observing for that period. After darting across the hall to the restroom between classes, I returned to an empty classroom. I searched the adjacent classrooms all empty, until I at last found the one remaining teacher. Trying to hide my embarrassment, I asked, as casually as possible, So, where d everybody go? Mr. Huff, glancing up from his
15 Figure 1.4
16 grading, explained tha t both students and faculty of the Intermediate and Middle School had left to walk across the parking lot to the Christ Church I waited until I was out of Mr. Huff s line of sight before I picked up my pace and ran towards the church. Part pe p rally, part sermon and part history of the school, this special chapel service was held in honor of the patron saint of the school, St. Stephen T he speech given by the headmaster emphasized caring for one s neighbor, class mates included, and e nded with a call for canned donations for the f ood pantry from the students and their families. Because this was a special ceremony, communion was also given. The residing p astor offered instructions on how to receive a bles sing without taking communion for those who were not baptized. The majority of students stood and filed slowly down and out of the pews. Only six or so individuals ele cted not to rise and go forward; I would later come to recognize most of these as international students. As for myself I too r ose and walked forward; however, not being baptized meant that I followed the instructions to merely receive the p astor's blessing. Reflecting on the incident I can not say that my decision to be blessed was necessarily conscious, but rather a social resp onse to th is apparent ritual of inclusion. There is a different process of gaining access to every field site. L ike David Hoffman who was initially uncomfortable with the fact that he was asked to smoke marijuana but consented for the sake of being includ ed in the group 2006 I set aside my reservations and received a blessing In that mom ent I wanted to be an insider. But even then I recognized that I was not going to gain social acceptance from the students with my actions; the audience for my perfor mance was the administration and teachers. In a small way, I wanted to assure them that I was not there to corrupt any youth.
17 Despite my best efforts at skewing my appearance towards conservative, my black and blonde hair and piercing holes clearly allud ed to an entirely different subset of American values. My identity and my perspective on S t. Stephen s like those of the students I was teaching and observing, was largely influenced by previous experiences and opportunities. A lack of financial stability in my early life meant I never had the opportunity to attend a private school An activity such as Cotillion, the organized ball intended to reinforce social etiquette, which was considered a cultural staple in the lives of the school s students, was comp letely novel to me. My existence in a marked category followed me from class room to break room to cafeteria and even when I was accepted as an insider my outsider appearance and assumed ideology w ere often noted by faculty. That is not to say that re sponses to my personal pr esentation were always negative; some instructors readily and gladly used me as a sounding board for secret concerns about their work environment Whereas Norris Brock Johnson experienced uneasiness and suspicion from the teachers 1984:166 I was merely an undergraduate intern and did not represent a threat to anyone s authority. Another sign the faculty viewed me as a liminal figure was that they often assumed I could communicate and emote more effectively with the students beca use the anxieties of the age group were not far behind me. Teachers also evoked my i ntermediary status on a handful of instances to cover course content which was determined to either be exceptionally controversial or boring in hopes that students might b e exposed to ideas they otherwise would have ignored While the instructors at St. Stephen s were encouraged to develop engaging and highly informative lessons, they were also under constant ideological constraints, enforced by the parents.
18 I found I had a similar kind of intermediary status with students who, for the most part, also accepted my placement as a Teacher in Training. I was approached on numerous occasions by students seeking my assistance with any and all subjects placing me in a similar po sition as the teachers. At the same time my appearance garnered attention from the students. Toward the end of my research after catching two high school soccer players up on the English assignments they missed while in Turkey at a match I offered the y oung men the opportunity to ask me to clarify anything in the material. I watched one young man's eyes dance betwe en my piercing holes and my hair as he leaned nearer to me and asked What are you doing here? I tried my best not to laugh but I had to smi le. I explained I was training for my future career as a teacher, in addition to researching successful teaching techniques for my undergrad thesis at NCF. But all of that seemed unimportant and my inquisitor s gaze meandered around the room. Well are y ou going to stay here all year? he inquired making eye contact this time. I told him no. Oh he said, and looked away again. While my presentation might have conflicted with the institutional expectations of decorum, my acceptance was negotiated in a much more personal manner in individual circumstances. Teaching at St. Stephen s The instructors at St. Stephen s are largely held responsible for the success or failure of the students, with regard to grades. Similar to the situation described by An nette Lareau in Unequal Childhoods 2011, I found p arents exhibited a sense of
19 entitlement to talk extensively with teachers. They were also comfortable with assigning blame to a child s instructor. This relationship was reinforced by the school. Mr. Haak man explained that there were at least two teac her parent conference weeks per semester and the administration encouraged teachers to stay late at school for impromptu meetings with parents. He stressed the bu rden of time over anything else. You know I v e got kids too. He admitted that his daughter, who attended St. Stephen s, often had to wait on him in another instructor s class room while he wrapped up chatting with parents at the end of the day. My first visit to St. Stephen s and my first encounter with Mr. Haakman, which happened to be after hours on a Monday, was one of the days she had to wait patiently or not to go home. This attitude o f entitlement on the part of parents, encouraged by the institution, in tur n affirms students expectations o f getting an A. This sentiment that grades are deserved, not earned, manifested in a wide assortment of behaviors that I felt gave students an unfair advantage. During multiple testing situations in Mr. Moran s American History, Mr. Huff s Middle and Upp er School classes and Mr. Haakman s Latin classes, I observed students either raise their hand s or approach the instructor to inquire whether or not their answer to a specific question or all of the questions was sufficient for full credit. Some teachers were more receptive to this tactic than others. Mr. Haakman would refuse to answer such questions unles s the student looked confused or upset, while Mr. Moran would respond to every student s probing. A similar situation occurred when tests were returned to the students. Mr. Huff would spend as much time as necessary to explicate in full detail his grading expectations for every question. And although he asked for personal complaints to be kept until after class, invariably at least one student raised a
20 ha nd immediately to contest a grade Mr. Huff would often ans wer up to four or five students personal complaints before reminding th e class to come visit him after school hours. Since instructor s are seen as playing such a crucial role in the development o f the students, parents also enforce ideological pressures to ensure that their children will receive an education in accordance with Christian beliefs. The fa ct that the school is Episcopalian adds a distinct dimension of cons traint to the curriculum not found in public school. While many topics were up for discussion at St. Stephen s, the institution s Episcopalian beliefs were never interrogated in class. At the same time, owi ng to the fact that not all facult y were Christian, Christian themes were compl etely absent from certain courses. Of course, instructors do not always oblige the r ules of the institution. Not long before my internship at St. Stephen s, Mrs. Haakman, Mr. Haakman s wife, was suspended indefinitely from her position as Middle school bio logy teacher for violating informal, but very real sanctions against teaching Darwinian evolution based biology. While the graduates of St. Stephen s are generally accepted into prestigious universities, their education is not comprehensi ve At a school that encourages students to think critically and explore a world of ideas, not all topics were safe for the classroom.
21 Chapter Two Background Literature A rational e of choice has found a place within the educational system in the United States. The publication of dozens of books and websites devoted to picking a charter, private or preparatory school speak s to the labor intensive process of selecting the best school for a child At the same time, a student's access to and success in school is o ften represented as democratic and based on the individual student's abilities. This disjuncture between representation of the institution and actual experience in school lies at the heart of one current understanding of education in the U.S. Beginning wit h Pierre Bourdieu and Jean Claude Passeron s 1964 Les Heritiers The Inheritors post industrial schools have been critiqued for claim ing to offer a democratic and meritocratic avenue to economic success while simultaneously reproducing the current and u nequal social order. This contradiction has fueled numerous investigations into the significance of economic factors such as school resources, and social factors including family class background, on a student s educational outcome. An explication of thi s discussion is essential to framing the conditions under which students learned at St Stephens. The Equality of Educational Opportunity Report of 1966, more often known as the Coleman Report, was a preliminary and influential stud y of this type. Named aft er the head researcher and founder of the Johns Hopkins Departm ent of Social Relations, James S. Coleman, the report was commissioned by the U.S. Office of Education in accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The issue of race was both the origin of the
22 commissioning of the report and the most significant topic di scussed. R esearchers collected data from more than 600,000 students and teachers across the country, and found that academic achievement was not necessarily related to the resources of a scho ol, measured in terms of class size curriculum, teachers education, credentials and experience Wenglinsky :1997 Instead, achievement was more closely related to the social composition of the school, the student's sense of control of his environment and future, the verbal skills of teachers, and the student's family background Kiviat : 2000. Most importantly the Coleman report highlighted how a student's family background and experiences, largely related to class and race, and were influencing educ ational success in favor of wealthier, white families. W hile the Coleman report stirred controversy, it also provided further support for many theorists who had already engaged with the notion of power and resource imbalances between groups of people. Heg emony: A useful starting point for the discussion of status and power inequalities in the education system is Antonio Gramsci s notion of hegemony. In Gramsci s 1 929 1935 notes from prison, the term hegemony is employed to refer to the idea that the domi nant group must protect the claim to superiority and power not through f orce but through coercive ideologies and policies that conceal power imbalances in order to gain spontaneous consent from subordinate groups 1971:12 Furthermore, according to Gra msci, the value assigned to desirable qualities is arbitrary: The function of organizing social hegemony and state domination certainly gives rise to a particular
23 division of labor and therefore to a whole hierarchy of qualifications in some of which th ere is no apparent attribution of directive or organizational functions 1971: 145. Ellen Brantlinger provides explanation for the process by incorporating the work of several authors. She writes that dominant groups circulate ideologies in service of p ower ideologies which are inscribed in language and institutions & and permeate thoughts and actions &thus mystifying interpersonal rankings Thompson 1990, Bakhtin 1981 Tyack and Tobin 1994 Thompson 1984 Zizek 1994 in Brantlinger 2004:3. Raymond Williams also provides clarification of the term in Marxism and Literature 1977. He write that h egemony is distinct from governmental rule but also means more than merely ideology as it includes not only the systems of ideas and beliefs, but the whole social lived process as practically organized by specific and dominant meanings and values 1977: 109. Williams interprets Gramsci s hegemony to mean the entire dynamic and lived process of subordination and justification that must be continually renewed, recreated, defended and modified. How ever, Williams also makes the significant argument that the influence of hegemony is not always absolute, and draws attention to the study of daily practices to highlight instances of resistance 1977: 114. Influence of Social Factors on Educational Outcome Perhaps two of the most influential scholars to comment on the effects of social class position on access to educational and cultural opportunities were the French
24 theorists Pierre Bourdieu and Jean Claude Passer on. Even before their seminal work Reproduction : in education, society and culture 1970, the authors were already engaged with identifying the sources of unequal power relations and how those relationships are reproduced. Beginning in 1964 with The Inher itors Les Heritiers they discussed the theory that current possession of capital is unequal, which w ould lead to future inequality. In Outline of a Theory of Practice originally published in 1972 Bourdieu summarizes the theoretical framework he em ploys throughout his work. In essence, Bourdieu conceptualizes culture as the result of a dialectic relationship between social actors and preexisting structures. On one hand, preexisting structures limit what an individual considers possible aspirations a nd bound aries within the known universe Bourdieu uses the term doxa to refer to this constrained reality. The limitations which are seemingly natural thus conceal preexisting imbalanced power relations, in turn, aiding in the perpetuation of a specific d oxa 1972: 164 Which limitations will affect an individual s life is l argely dictated by social class embodied in a learned set of dispositions and attitudes. Bourdieu terms these dispositions habitus and similar habitus reflects similar conditioning e nvironments 1972: 85 Bourdieu also emphasizes that the acquisition and internalization of habitus is largely taken for granted, it goes without saying because it comes without saying 1972: 167 In Reproduction Bourdieu and Passeron posit that the pro cess of acculturation and i nculcation, largely in the home befo re starting school, provides an adm ittedly partial but significant explanation for varying abilities in stude nts 1970:72. The authors argue that people from different class backgrounds are so cialized accor ding to different guidelines
25 and internalize different dispositions. Of particular interest for this study was how the class background of parents shape s their children s future educational achievement and how explanations given to justify ac hievement discrepancies between groups contain nothing beyond the very relationship they presume to explain explanation in terms of the unequal distribution of natural aptitudes between the sexes, or the intrinsic virtues of a particular discipline 19 70:87. By never addressing the existing power imbalance that lead to the current situation, marked at risk populations are depicted as naturally inferior. In The Forms of Capital 1986 Bourdieu provides more detail on the hidden process of statu s transmission. Here Bourdieu highlight s that economic resources are not the only form of capital that can be transformative or inhibiting in an individual s life. Instead he draws closer attention to attributes termed cultural capital that he considered equally significant and often taken for granted He theorizes that the distribution of capital at any given time represents the immanent structure of the social world; i.e., the set of constraints, inscribed in the very reality of the world 1986: 46. Bourdieu further explicates the specifics of three different states of cultural capital: the embodied, institutionalized and objectified. T he first two are most useful for the purposes of contextualizing my field research on elite education. The embodi ed state of cultural capital, like other forms of capital, suggests an accumulation over time in the form of the cultivation of behaviors arbitrarily valued by the dominant class. According to Bourdieu, inculcation and assimilation, costs time, time which must be invested personally by the investor. Like the acquisition of a muscular physique or a suntan, it cannot be done at second hand 1986: 48. At the same
26 time, in terms of elite school children, it is also quite possible for individuals to be unawar e of their cultivation of cultural capital. Moreover, cultural capital often goes unrecog nized and taken for granted as a form of capital because the means of transmission is often through the family. Acts of embodied cultural capital which are passed down by elite families and valued by institutions, such as making eye contact with an unfamiliar adult, are often mista ken for legitimate com petence in general instead of being recognized as embodiment of a particular class status 1986: 49. The pay off o f this process of acculturation is represented by the institutionalized form of cultural capital. With the academic qualification, [comes] a certificate of cultural competence which confers on its holder a conventional, constant, legally guaranteed value with respect to culture 1986: 51. And success in school, signified by the acquisit ion of various diplomas, titles and credentials is also the primary way that institutionalized cultural capital may be transferred into economic capital as high paying jobs require a high school diplom a and often further credentials. While Bourdieu's theory may often be interpreted as structuralist, he sp eaks out against the suggestion that his work ignored resistance and agency in his preface to the 1990 reprint of R eproduction How an individual student responds to the lessons and embodies them is, in the end, up to that person; thus the school system does not dictate but contributes to social reproduction.
27 Incomplete Educations Writing contemporaneously with Bourdieu, neomarxist economists most notably Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis 1976 provide evidence for a similar education system within the United States. Like Bou rdieu and Passeron, the authors find profound variation in how children at different sch ools are socialized In public school students are subord inate to teachers who are subordinate to principals mimicking the hierarchy of the labor force 1976:12 However, in elite private schools children are taught to negotiate bureaucracy by interact in g confidently with adult authorities 1976:12 Bowles and Gintis, like Bourdieu, were also highly c ritical of the education system. They state that beneath the faade of meritocracy lies the reality of an educational system geared toward the reproducti on of economic relations only partially explicable in terms of technical requirements and efficiency standards & competitive grading and objective test scores are only tangentially related to social efficiency. According to the authors, educational merito cracy is largely symbolic but the symbolism is still etched in American debates on education, obscuring the maint enance of inequality 1976: 103. Unlike Bourd ieu, Bowles and Gintis theorize that the education system reproduced the hierarc hical social rel ationships of a specifically capitalist economy. T he se authors, like other neo marxis t scholars such as Madan Sarup 1978 blame the failures of educational reform as a whole on the contradictory relationship between the education system and the capitalist economy of the U.S. Bowles and Gintis 1976:101. The y argue that education fit s into the capitalist system by p roviding technical and social skills that enhan ce productivity and profits Education also serves to legitimate the
28 unequal system by defusing and depoliticizing the ex ploitative nature of wage labor. T hus schools reproduce capitalism in three ways by s orting students into diffe rent levels of the hierarchy, s ocia lizing them to their position and l egitimizing the outcome in terms of individual me rit 1976: 10 13. This is an insight that many others have achieved as well and is echoed today by current artists such as the Brooklyn hip hop duo Dead Prez in their song They Schools Lets Get Free 2000 Verse 1 concludes with, I got my diploma from a school called Rick ards Full of teenage mothers, and drug dealin niggas. In the hallways, the popo was always present. Sear chin through niggas possessions, l ookin for, dope and weapons. G et your lessons. That's why my moms kept stressin I tried to pay attention but they classes wasn't interestin They seeme d to only glorify the Europeans, c laimin Africans were only three fifths a human being Annette Lareau s ethnographic observations of elementary school students lend further evidence of the disparate education of children from variable socioeconomic backgrounds in the United States 2011 a 20 11b 1987. Drawing heavily from Bourdieu s concept of habitus Lareau focused her attention on identifying the cultural resources, notably language use that perpetuate inequality by observing students at home and at school. Lareau conc ur s with Bourdieu that cultural experience in the home habitus facilitates children's adjustment to school and academic achievement, thereby transforming cultural resou rces into cultural capital 1987:74 originally in Bourdieu
29 1977. In other words, the study highlights parenting style as one of the most significant factors in the educational outcome of a child. Another valuable contribution of Lareau s is her identific ation of two distinct parenting styles based on class. The families Lareau interviewed for Unequal Childhoods lived noticeably distinct lifestyles. However, Lareau divided these families into two categories, based on a series of factors including: organi zation of daily life, language use, social connections and intervention in institutions. One side of the divide was termed the accomplishment of natural growth 2011 a :3 This system of childrearing wa s employed by families of the working class and it al lowed children to grow and explore with minimal intervention from adults. However, that is not to say that daily life did not involve frequent interaction with kin which it did and respect for adults. In fact, Lareau found that family relationship ties w ithin the working class were particularly strong and parents enlisted the aid of extended family. Deference for adults was expected and was often realized through limiting verbal interruptions from the children into parents conversation 2011 a : 98. The r elaxed boundar ies that this strategy suggests manifested in the form of allowing children to explore the neighborhood without supervision, organize their own play dates and resolve conflict with other individuals who were not necessarily the same age 201 1 a :81. Another key component of the ac complishment of natural growth the effects on language was revealed in Lareau s analysis of the relationship between working class parents and institutions. Parents often did not feel comfortable intervening on be half of their child s education. This same discomfort with institutional authority was observed by Lareau at a doctor s appointment, during which a normally assertive mother answered
30 questions in a low ered tone with little or no eye contact 2011 a :158. Fi nally, Lareau argues that working class families feel pressure from the school to comply with an alternative form of parenting which she identifies as concerted cultivation and thus develop distance from and distrust for the institution 2011 a :3. Lare au argues that the natural growth style of parenting manifests in a sense of constraint in the children when interacting with institutions, specifically schools. Concerted cultivation the method employed by elite schools including Saint Stephen s, is cu rrently the child rearing strategy most accepted by teachers and administrators in the United States. Families who are engaged in concerted cultivation, according to Lareau are largely focused on the performance of the child/stude n t Unlike working class families, the elite families Lareau observed played an active role in shaping their childr en s education by intervening often in the working of the school: calling teachers, arranging meetings with administrators, attending PTA meetings and volunteering on campus 2011 a :166. Students were also encouraged to assume a position of equality with institutional authorities 2011 a :111. This sense of entitlement was facilitated at home by parents who engaged in language practice, allowing childr en to probe and question adults and practice vocabulary. Discipline was also handled with conversation and reasoning with children. These activities, in turn, allowed students to be more comfortable reasoning with all adults, including instructors, because of the develop ment of adult legitimated skills 2011 a :140. Much of daily life for these families was marked by parental involvement and organization. Students were encouraged to en roll in multiple extra curricular activities including sports and music lessons, in ord er to be exposed to various
31 experiences and become a better student 2011 a :109,113. Elite families were tethered to strict schedules because of the numerous events. And cramped schedules presupposed a hectic pace for the parents; as a consequence, ext ended family members were significantly less involved in daily life because of time constraints. Lareau found these mothers, especially, were put under additional stress as it bec ame their responsibility to drive children to numerous age related activities 2011b:360. Although Lareau s work focused on at home language development, she also highlighted that concerted cultivation influenced learning env ironments through vocal parents enact ing middle class intervention. Because students were involved in a wide variety of extr acurricular activities, many were forced to miss class on a regular basis. However, responsibility at schools such as The Swan School, pseudonym for the elite institution studied by Lareau, or Saint Stephen s, falls to the instructors to make packets of missed work, coordinate extra tutoring time and grade late assignments. Parents at the Swan School also felt more comfortable with voicing critiques about an instructor s choice in assignments, homework or other classroom arrangements with which the instructors were obligated to comply 2011 a :177. And many additional hours after school were spent in parent teacher conferences. Control of Knowledge Teachers and students operat e within an institution that reinforces dominant idea ls, yet it is important not to l ose si ght of the ir agency to resist established norms as well a s their conscious involvement in the process. A s suggested by Michael Apple in
32 Ideology and Curriculum the inst ructors at the site acted according to what they believed to be the best economic interest of the students o n a daily basis even if they were not necessarily politically aligned with the institution 1979: 62. In Education and Power 19 82 Apple revised his original argument to further emphasize tha t resistance and conflict were not absent from the p rocess of societal reproduction; in fact there could be meanings and practices that contradicted the overt and covert interests of the dominant class 19 82 :24. Inspired by Bowles and Gintis 1976, Michael Apple strove to understand how inequality was reproduced day by day through the process of assigning value and restricting access to certain types of knowledge. Apple supported Basil Bernstein s 1975 theory that the structuring of knowledge in educ ation is intimately related to the principles of social and cultural control in a society. He also agreed with Michael D Young 1971 like Max Weber before him, that the dominant group will manipulate what is basic knowledge in order to maint ain power. A pple believed that s chools maintain privilege in cultural ways by taking the form and content of the culture and knowledge of powerful groups and defining it as legitimate knowledge to be preserved and passed on 1982 :41 42 also see Bourdieu and Passeron 1977 Bernstein 1971 and Gramsci 1971 Also like B owles and Gintis, Apple credits contradictions within the ed ucation system to the needs of the capitalist society: to control and organize labor, separation of mental from manual labor, the divorce of conception from execution, the logic of de skilling and controlling a w orkforce 1982:35. E ducational institution s help maintain a distinction that lies at the he art of social division of labor that between mental and
33 manual l abor Apple writes that those students who are identified as being able to produce important quantities of technical/admin knowledge are increasingly placed o n the mental side of the dichotomy through guidance programs at school. Those who don t do well are put into programs wh ere their surplus labor will take the form of service/manual labor 1982:51. Even in his earlier work The H idde n C urriculum, Apple considers the tacit teaching of different social behavioral norms and expectations to be a very pertinent aspect of educa tion 1979:42. According to Apple, while public schools stress work ethic, punctuality, neatness and habit formation; private schools and advanced placement programs, designed for a professional class, emphasize a curriculum of choice and flexibility 197 9:61. Apple considers class to be both a structural position and lived language, style, intimate social relations, wishes, desir es and so on 1982 :92 The emphasis on embodiment and presentation of class expectations bears strikingly resemblance Bourdi eu s 1972 habitus that also speaks to a learned set of attitudes and behavioral dispositions. At the same time, Apple did not accept Bowle s and Gintis theories full out; he also emphasized that culture can not be reduced to epiphenomenal r eflection of economic sphere 1982 :91 He argues that s chools both reproduce and contradict the desires of dominant groups 1982:35 due in part to resistance and in part to the need of hegemonic power to incorporate the desires of other groups in order to gain con sensus among those they rule that the system is working 1982 :30 Simultaneously, teachers do not always teach to the needs of the domina nt class And class room material is subject to acceptanc e or rejection by the students.
34 Ellen Brantlinger also offer s a nother critique of Bowles and Gintis. She does not see capitalism as the sole root of social inequality Brantlinger argues instead that social hierarchies that correspond to power and status relations are a world wide occurrence and not limited to po st industrial capitalist societies, a conclusion on meta analysis of anthropological studies by Donald Brown in Human Universals 1991. According to Brantlinger, who borrows from other authors, Dominant groups generate myths about human features and es tablish norms that correspond to t he strengths of their own group & other groups are then expected to accept these norms regardless of their capacity to comply and without being given a good reason. Those who do not comply are subsequently marked as deviant or at risk Apfelbaum 1999 in Brantlinger 2004 : 2. Once a subordinate status has been established, the likelihood of oppression increases and manifests in many forms from genocide to the denigration of the qualities of another group Terry Eagleton:19 90 in 2004:2. Social hierarchies exist in forms unrelated to capitalism ; however I believe the influence of this system on schooling in the U.S. further exacerbates social inequality. Teaching Social Science in an Elite Setting Apple s work is also us eful because of his investigatio n of the significant effects of dominant ideology on the contents and presentation of a social science curriculum. Most rel evant for my study, Apple argues that p ublic secondary schools, designed for the working class, opt n ot to show intellectual conflict within subject areas 1979:81. Instead the information that is taught is based on the consensus theory of science,
35 ignoring political divides and biases Apple 1979:82. Lesson plans dealing with social issues are perfor mances that rehearse social fixity Apple 1982 :33. This desire to avoid discussion of conflict greatly affects the teaching of social science, lending support for the view that all societies are functionally cooper ative Apple 1979:86. B ased on his obse rvations Apple concludes that societal conflict was mos t often discussed as if it was not an essential feature of society and was indeed antithetical to the functional maintenance of society 1979:86 emphasis original. The implication that cooperation in class and in society as a whole, is the preferable method sets up students to agree or face ideological conflict. The merits of resistance would be an unacceptable as a topic of class discussion. Jean Anyon who observe d both working class and elite fifth grade students in New Jersey also discovered profound differences in the content of lesson plans and presentation based on class. In social stu dies [in an elite institution] but also in reading, science, and health the teachers initiate classr oom discussions of current social issues and problems Anyon: 1980 pdf version Anyon observed these active conservations daily during which students were encouraged to question and analyz e with the help of reason. I n the words of one instructor, "These chi ldren's opinions are important it's important that they learn to reason things through 1980. And the children did not appear hesitant to engage with the teacher. Occasionally the teachers would prod with statements such as, "Even if you don't know [the answers], if you think logically a bout it, you can figure it out a nd "I'm asking you [these] questions t o help you think this through" 1980.
36 Further more, Anyon found t he classroom discussions to be realistic and analytical, dealing with concret e soc ial issues like the following: Why do workers strike? Is that right or wrong? Why do we have inflation, and what can be done to stop it? Why do companies put chemicals in food when the natural ingredients ar e available? and so on 1980 Tw o decades after Lareau, Apple and Anyon s investigation s of the operation of elite classrooms I obser ved remarkably similar dynamics at Saint Stephen s. Their work thus provides invaluable reference points for my experiences In the next chapter I presen t my observations from three classes, AP World History, Western Civilizations and American History. All of these courses regularly incorporated discussions about social science in a manner that situates Saint Stephen s firmly in the category of elite educa tion.
37 Chapter Three Observations AP World History with Mr. Whelan During the 2011 2012 school year, a nthropology did not yet exist as a distinct course at St Stephen s. However several other classes I observed including Mr. Whelan s Advanced Placement World History tackled the issue of cultural change on a regular basis with a keen eye for historical detail In Mr. Whelan s class students were encouraged not just to memorize dates and names but to consider also the lived experiences of people in the past. This group of 10 students from the 10 th and 11 th grades was relatively small both when compared to the average student/teacher ratio in Florida Public Schools 25/1 a nd to the average for Saint Stephen s 16/1. Like most educator s whom I observed Mr. Whelan took full advantage of the opportunity to direct questions to and accept comments from every student, often multiple instances per class. This arrangement greatly facilitated carefully focused i n class discussion, as no comme nt was simply ove rlooked or purposefully ignored. S tudents were held accountable for explicating their responses, even muttered critiques. On the 18th of January the conversation was based, as usual, on the assigned reading. And while a great deal of res pons ibility rested on students to complete the
38 assignment on their own, at home or in study hall, class time was devoted to reexamining the material under the informed guidance of Mr. Whelan. A week prior students had been asked to read and take notes on two textbook chapters devoted to the Ming Dyn asty 14th 17th centuries and Qing Dynas ty 17th 20th centuries of what we recognize today as C hina. After the st udents meandered into the class room and took their seats, Mr. Whelan s first step was to request that each student, in turn, verbally respond to one question relating to either the Ming or Qing dynasty. The topics ranged widely from gender expectations to justifications bas ed on the logic of Confucianism, given by Ruler fo r military conquest. As M r. Whelan later explained to me, he selected these questions because they all emphasized the same point: that understanding the where and when of a given event was absolutely critical to understanding the event itself: W as it an ever y day occurrence, or perhaps a revolutionary idea? he wanted to know. Discussion of these complex issues was facilitated by the language proficiency of the students. They appeared comfortable addressing Mr. Whelan as well as their peers as they responded with examples from th e text and their own interpretations. These behaviors are suggestive of Lareau s 2011 a observation of the active language skill development in elite families and classroom settings that allowed students to speak confidently with adults. Similarly, in hol ding students accountable for explaining their vocalizations and encouraging them to think through problems out loud Mr. Whelan s teaching style is reflective of what Anyon 1980 experienced in an elite school Provoking conversation about the importanc e of contextualizing historical events was only the first step. The next activity introduced by Mr. Whelan furthered the basic
39 notion that culture ca n only be understood in context He requested that students spend 10 minutes writing about one topic from t he reading selections that demonstrated either cultural change or continuity between the Ming and Qing Dynasties. When time was called, the students took turns reading their papers aloud. Once everyone had finished presenting, Mr. Whelan encouraged the en tire class to consider how under careful study, cultures as spatially and temporally distant as the Ming an d Qing Dynasties were as dynamic and innovative as cultures today. This lesson on the Ming and Qing Dynasties was part of the larger unit entitled Global Interactions: 1450 1750. Mr. Whelan sought to emphasize three key concepts from the time period: 4.1 Globalizing Networks of Communication and Exchange ; 4.2 New Forms of Social Organization and Modes of Production ; and 4.3 State Consolidat ion and Imperial Expansion. And since this was the last session in the unit all of the students received copies of a study guide with the key concepts. Mr. Whelan broke down the three concepts into specific subheadings, correlating those with historical occurrences. For example, u nder the first key concept, 4.1 Mr. Whelan listed several factors that were essential to expanding trade such as improved ship design and navigation technologies acquired from Islamic and Asian cultures by Europeans. But Mr. Wh elan was focused on more t han technology; he also included the wide ranging effects of global exchange on human bodies and cultures. On a positive note, trade with the Americas greatly enriched Europe s diet; while on the unfortunate flip side, trade facil itated the spread of disease to new groups of people. The lesson plan from the 18 th fell under the concept 4.3 State Consol idation and Imperial Expansion. For all the examples, Mr. Whelan emphasized military power and
40 social control as mutuall y necessa ry instruments of state led domination. On one hand, Imperial expansion relied on the increased use of gunpower, cannons and armed trade to establish empires in both h emispheres. At the same time, States treated different ethnic and religious groups in ways that utilized their economic contributions while limiting their ability to challenge the authority of the state. Students were also sent home with 12 possible exam questions, based on the information found in the study gu ide. Even though the written in class exam would only ask students to respond to half the questions, Mr. Whelan would not give away which he had selected and required the students to study all the material. Unit Exam 1450 1750 1. Describe how the new global circulation of goods aff ected existing regional trade networks. 4.1.I 2. Describe how Europe an technological developments i n cartography and navigation built on previous knowledge. 4.1.II. 3. Describe the new transoceanic maritime reconnaissance. 4.1.II 4. Describe the new glo bal circulation of goods. 4.1.IV 5. Describe t h e new connections between the Eastern and Western hemispheres in the Columbian Exchange. 4.1.V 6. Describe the spread and reform of existing religions. 4.1.VI 7. Describe innovations in the visual and perfo rming arts. 4.1.VII 8. D escribe the changes in agriculture and labor. 4.2.I 9. Describe new e thnic, racial and gender hierarchies. 4.2. II 10. Describe how ru lers legitimized and consolidated their power. 4.3.I 11. Describe the expansion of large empir es in both hemispheres. 4.3.II 12. Describe the challenges to state consolidation and expansion. 4.3.III Figure 3.1 I found Mr. Whelan s approach of examining the cultural development of China to be productive I n a clear, step by step fashion Mr. Whe lan was able to explicate
41 a handful of very significant concepts within the social scienc es, specifically anthropology: t he non static nature of culture, the importance of contextualizing historical events and the non linear evolution of cultures across th e world. As the most senior member and hiring coordinator of the History/ Social Science D epartment, Mr. Whelan expressed to me during a planning period that he was actively engaged in the creation of the social science curriculum at the school. In accorda nce with AP guidelines, Mr. Whelan designed his curriculum primarily to familiarize students with the history of the world. However, he also made several attempts to introduce his students to current global relations and politics. Quite unlike Apple s o bservations in a public school setting, Mr. Whelan s curriculum contained the full compliment of human interaction, including conflict. It was with great care that he selected textbooks and developed lesson plans that explored human history by considering topics that included marginalized groups, genocide and global politics. He directed my attention to the grey industrial bookshelves that lined the walls of his classroom and office. They were nearly all filled with books and, as Mr. Whelan pointed out, hal f were textbooks that he had reviewed and rejected either in part or out right. There were also three rows of textbooks, including Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past Bentley, Ziegler, that were not assigned because of their specific ity, but from which Mr. Whelan pulled out additional material for use in class. Especially for lessons on present day conflict, Mr. Whelan had to carefully juggle his political leaning and those of the institution and parents. A notable example was a disc ussion instigated by Mr. Whelan on the circumstances surrounding the assassination
42 of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahamdi Roshan Addressing the group he asked, So, who do you think is responsible? S everal students speculated about the possibil ity of the United States and Israel s complicity. Mr. Whelan drew their attention back to the article that identified the assailant as a terrorist. The students had no response and glanced around the room at each other and back to Mr. Whelan. He continued Well, why do you think he was killed? This time a student was quick in providing an explanation, To stop Iran from making nuclear weapons. The students seemed unsure how else to respond and continued to make nervous eye contact with each other, until someone spoke up. So this is kind of like, a good thing. Carefully navigating the subject, Mr. Whelan replied, That depends on how you look at it. As if out of a film, the illuminating talk was interrupted by the afternoon announcements and focus shif ted to the disembodied voice. The conversation did not get far but, the questions it begged could fill a book: Is the United States complicit in killing civilians? Is this for the good of America ? What about humankind? These questions and many more are necessary to consider as a budding member of the dominant group, on a credential lined path to the multi national business world. Mr. Whelan was trying to set the students up for success by exposing them to political struggles that have tangible effec ts on U.S. relations with other countries. In a similar vein to what Jean Anyon described in her executive elite school site, the students in Mr. Whelan s class utilized their analysis skills to examine, critique and learn from the societi es they studied including their own.
43 Western Civilization with Mr. Huff, Mrs. Craft and Mrs. Pommer in the Sunshine Library Research projects and other assignments that cater to an individualistic learning style are commonly employed at St. Stephen s Upper Scho ol. Beginning in 7th grade students are taught how to develop research questions and format essays. Training gains further momentum in 9th grade, when the students are in either Mr. Huff s or Mrs. Craft s section of Western Civilizations. For these assignm ents, Mrs. Pommer, coordinator of the Intermediate and Upper Schools Sunshine Library, is relied on heavily to develop worksheets and present each step of the writing process, from how to do research to forming a thesis statement to editing a draft. Once a week, for four weeks, Mrs. Pommer visited both Western Civ. classes for a brief and focused 15 20 minute lesson on essay writing. After her lecture, the students were released into the library to do research for the remainder of the class period. I was g iven the opportuni ty on two of these days to lead mini discussion in both sections of the class on the topic of developing a thesis statement. Mrs. Craft and Mr. Huff agreed that students would be much more receptive to the admittedly dry information if it came from me, a current college student. After all, You do this all the time, right? I was a prime example to be set in front of the class; I had achieved the most basic underlying goal of enrollment at St. Stephen s : to be accepted into college. Even that little bit of achievement did not stop me from being
44 nervous and rushing through my first demonstration in Mrs. Craft s class. After some coaching on pacing and breathing from the teachers, I was significantly more calm and able to engage the class t horoughly during my next attempt, with Mr. Huff s class. My lesson was focused on making the idea of a thesis statement less intimidating. I broke down the process step by step, talking through it with the class. I explained that based on my own experi ence in high school, the most difficult aspect of writing a thesis statement was simply grasping the complex meaning of this technical term. Simply put, It contains the primary objectives of your essay. It answers your research question and frames how you r ideas will be organized in your paper. I also gui ded students through formatting, Where does the thesis statement go in your essay? and encouraged them to reflect on the importance of editing. Until you physically turn in your assignment it is a wor k in progress! I paused to ask for sample topics from the group to demonstrate. Hitler s rise to power was the first example shouted at me. First, I responded you must identify what factors you found aided Hitler s rise to power. It s fine if you d on t know exactly what they are yet, what s important for this lesson is that you know how to organize your thoughts. For example start with: Hitler rose to power in 1930s Germany for three reasons: A, B, and C. And fill them in as you figure out exactly w hich aspects are really important and you want to focus on. When my 15 minutes were up, Mr. Huff instructed the students to file quietly into the Sunshine Library, down the interior hallway, to do further research. As its formal name suggests, the Sun shine Library offers plenty of natural light, with floor to ceiling windows occupying half of the wall space. The library is located on
45 the second story and the vista is picturesque, featuring a green sea of well maintained sports fields. Just below the library and to the north is the outdoor portion of the Intermediate/Upper School cafeteria. From above in the library teachers can secretly monitor students walking to and from lunch and catch those who take detours to visit friends while on a trip to the restroom. Glass walls separate the library from the indoor hallways, which can be monitored by Mrs. Pommer or other teachers in much the same way. At the same tim e, the ample light and widely spaced long tables and upholstered chairs make this functional p anopticon a very pleasant working environment. 4 The left half of the library space is devoted to computer stations, comprised of a long rectangular desk with partitions dividing the four machines on both sides. The remainder of the space is filled with rows of books and long rectangular tables with about 20 chairs that were always pushed in neatly, compliments of Mrs. Pommer. And with class sizes around 16 students, I observed three separate classes comfortably share the space. However, even with close t o 45 students in the library, access to a computer was not an issue. While the school provided only 20 machines, the vast majority of Upper school students had their own laptops or tablets. Mr. Haakman shed light on this situation for me, explaining that t heir parents had been encouraged to purchase laptops upon moving up to the Upper School. However, this suggestion was in reality a necessity; students were expected to have access to a computer and an Internet connection at home in order to work individu ally on their projects. Further reinforcing the necessity of owning a laptop was the relatively small selection of print text books in the library, 4 Originally 1787 Bentham, Jeremy The Panopticon Writing 1995. Also Michel Foucault Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison 1977 In my situation, however, the dynamic failed to account for why a handful of students every week would be caught sneaking around to the back of the library. Not all students submitted to indirect control.
46 especially when compared to the extensive list of databases to which students had unlimited access, includin g but not limited to : Access Science Awesome Stories, Brain Pop, Bri tannica Online School Edition Culturegrams E books / Audio books Overdrive EBSCO and JSTOR. The facul ty made sure students were well versed in navigating the Sunshine Library s d atabases. The week prior, the mini lecture given by Mrs. Pommer for the World History classes had specifically focused on the process of doing research. She covered many facets in great detail, far beyond the basic step by step demonstration on how to acce ss the databases. Mrs. Pommer also elaborated on, for example, the need to recognize differences among domain names because those three letters, i.e. .gov, .com and .biz, reflect the intent of the publisher of the information and to some extent t he content of the information. In short, the students at St. Stephen s were given access to a tremendous amount of data and knowledge about how to navigate it, in order to aid in their individual studies. After formal instruction, much of the teachers time was spent working with students one on one. Mr. Huff, or Mrs. Craft, Mrs. Pommer and I would each, respectively, slide a few chairs into a corner and wait for students to invariably approach us for help once we had dismissed the class to research ind epe ndently. By the end of my field work at St. Stephen s, I had personally talked to every student in each of the classes that I assisted in the Library. Some students sought my assistance assertively; others addressed me in a volume so faint I would have t o lean in closer. A few students kept their eyes trained on the floor instead of me, but not a single student passed up the
47 opportunity to make use of one of the adults in the room as a resource. The first week I recalled more students by their topics of i nquiry than by first name s 2012 Ninth Grade Winter Research Topics The bombing of Hiroshima and the impact on Japan. Counter Revolution to Fidel Castro and the Bay of Pigs. Australia s involvement in WWII Role of spouses of Trimurti Hindu deities to examine issues of gender roles and behavior. Early British in Australia Penal Colonies. Florence Nightingale s influence on military medicine in the Crimean War Ping Pong Diplomacy & the opening of China to the US in the 1970 s Feng Shui, then and no w. Slavery within the African Continent. Cause/Effects of Rwandan Genocide. Effects of Cultural Revolution on Chinese society European imperialism in China. History and significance of the Great Wall of China. Nanking Massacre. 1980 Olympic Games and the e ffects on Communism. History of athletic training in Soviet Russia, including a history of ballet and gymnastics.
48 Ukiyo Japanese Woodblock Prints specifically, the changes that come with the style show that the Tokugawa period was more dynamic than tradi tionally represented. Figure 3.2 The complexity and creativity of the research topics I observed reflected the immense amount of support and guidance students received at every step in their education. Failure to complete the assignment was simply not an option. Students who took longer than others to decide on a general topic were noted by Mr. Huff and Mrs. Craft. Those students would be pulled aside by the teachers during research time for more in depth probing about possible areas of interest. A t every step in the individualiz ed process, the instructors encouraged independent thought on the part of students, a classroom dynamic akin to Anyon s observations in what he terms an executive elite school 1980. And the flexibility of the research assignment, a marker of professional education according to Apple 1985, allowed for a wide range of topics to be encouraged by teachers and investigated by students. Once a topic had been established, more one on one teacher and student time was employed to work th rough the, often complex, historical context of the situation. One young woman approached me early on in her research with this conundrum, I know who Darwin is, but what does that have to do with Hitler? In that instant I recognized the unique opportu nity that had been thrust upon me the occasion to discuss Social Darwinism, in theory and in relation to actual historic events, with a high school student. This movement from the 19 th and early 20 th centuries which failed to take into account the bra nching nature of biological evolution, structured cultures along a unilinear path of development from savagery to civilization. White Europeans were placed at the
49 pinnacle while all other cultures and races, dictated largely by skin tone, were relegated to lower positions. I relished for a moment how profoundly jealous my 16 year old self would have been of an academic context that facilitated an understanding of the social construction of hierarchies such as race. At the same time, not all the teens took it upon themselves to dive into controversial social issues. Since the decision was left to the student, some chose areas of personal interest such as Feng Shui or ballet, the latter modified with encouragement from the instructors into the history of Soviet Ballet. There were also students who did not appear to be engaged by the assignment and spent the independent study time as an opportunity to browse the Internet or chat with friends. One individual whom I was instructed to assist in finding a topi c never generated any ideas, but eventually selected one of the sample topics that had been presented by the teachers at the start of the process. While not every student came upon the same revelations, the faculty reinforced the ideas of change over ti me, cause and effect, and encouraged a nuanced understanding of spatial and temporal contexts all of which are central tenets of an anthropologically grounded study of the past. By focusing on topics that each pupil found interesting the teachers achiev ed two goals: maintaining the attention of most of the students and introducing critical thinking as a tool to be applied in almost any circumstance. Mrs. Craft and Mr. Huff were only two of the many teachers I observed at St. Stephen s who incorp orated cr itical thinking, defined by Michael Scriven and Richard Paul 1987 as the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question at issue; assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding;
50 reasoning lead ing to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference. 5 Mr. Moran s 8 th grade American History All students in the 8 th grade at St. Stephen s are enrolled in American History, which meant that the American History teacher, Mr. Moran, taught four sections of the same class Monday through Friday. I regularly observed at least two of these sections each day. I found that Mr. Moran used a variety of strategies to make this prerequisite for pass ing the 8 th grade a class the students would also find engaging. I had known Mr. Moran for only a day before he told me his teaching philosophy that the students were much more receptive to his teaching when they perceived him as friendly and approachabl e. Mr. Moran encouraged after class visits from students and was often invited to dinner and lunch by the families of students. He was also actively involved in chaperoning extra curricular activities, i ncluding school dances an d over seas trips that are o ffered in the summer. He had spent the past 18 summers with groups of students, predominantly in Western Europe. Bee Moran, his wife, accompanies him regularly; although she is neither a parent nor a teacher at St. Stephen s, she is allowed to chaperone. Mr. Moran was also actively engaged in facilitating my learning experience, and within the first two weeks he approached me with the opportunity to teach his class. When I agreed, he revealed that he had already picked out a particular day and subject for 5 A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul, presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987.
51 me to teach: The Gilded Era of American history. He said he felt confident in my abilities to cover the material, smiled at me, and handed me the textbook. It was not until I had returned to my dorm room that evening and starting reviewing the materi al that I recognized Mr. Moran was taking advantage of my liminal status between STS teacher and New College student. I was going to teach the class about the rise of corporations, drawing on key words including: Philanthropist, Robber Baron, Communis m, Socialism, Anarchy, Democracy, Unions, Sweatshops and Monopoly among others. The text framed figures including Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller as both Philanthropists and Robber Barons, leaving me with the task of explaining how d ifferent perspectives on capitalism and morality influence whether these men were to be considered heroes or villains. However, this conundrum of perspective had a purpose within the curriculum; as Mr. Moran mentioned to me Point of view is one of the co ncepts we try to push in the 8th grade. I began class on January 17 th by asking the students to raise their hands and recite a vocabulary word from the assigned text. I wrote their responses on the white dry erase board at the front of the class. One afte r another, the class eventually delivered the vocabulary list in its entirety. I suspected the majority of the class had done the reading, which was convenient if not necessary for the next part of the activity. I explained that I wanted the students to ch oose a word from the white board and define it, or tell me what historical event the word is related to. I asked for a volunteer to start us off with What was the Gilded Age as discussed in your book? One young woman raised her hand to respond that it was a time when a couple of guys were doing really well but there were a lot of poor people too. I used this as a jumping off point to discuss the dichotomous
52 material in the chapter: rise of corporations and the acquisition of immense wealth juxtapose d against labor union strikes for better pay and working conditions. After all the material was covered, I brought class discussion back to the subject of perspective by finally acknowledging a question that various students had been asking: How could Ro ckefeller and Carnegie be both philanthropists and robber barons? One way, I explained, of figuring out why people have such different perspectives is to ask yourself, Who benefits from this person s actions or this situation and why ? O r, who does not ? Bringing focus back to the material, I addressed the room, Who would benefit from cheap labor prices in factories? A series of voices replied: Their bosses. The owners. Rich guys. And who might be hurt by low wages? I asked. This tim e eliciting only two responses: Workers. Poor people. On the 20 th of January, Mr. Moran introduced a related activity that the students would spend the next two weeks working on. He had previously divided the span of early American history from 1 750 1850 into four time periods of equal length, and arranged the students into groups of 3 or 4 individuals per time period: Group 1 1750 1775; Group 2 1775 1800; Group 3 1800 1825; Group 4 1825 1850. Mr. Moran then instructed all of the groups to r esearch the pros and cons of every time period. This information would be employed in a debate at the end of the next
53 two weeks, wherein each team had to defend the historical events in its time period and attack those in other time periods. Mr. Moran then addressed me and gave the students permission to use me as a potential source of information and assistance for this project. He further instructed the class to seek out assistance from any and all adults in their lives. Family, friends and othe r teachers at the school were potential resources. He then dismissed the group as a whole and the students sorted themselves out into time periods by pulling desks and chairs together in various arrangements. The first group I approached was admittedly confused. As one young woman insisted, how could the actions of Andrew Jackson, namely his support for the Indian Removal Act of 1830, be considered a good thing? I smiled. Well & Obviously people had voted for him, so someone must have thought the Indi an Removal Act was a good thing. Think about it from their point of view I also suggested that she consider both the time he was acting in and his reasons for those actions. She nodded and responded, Oooh. I had similar conversations with the re maining groups, but this was no coincidence. Like the lesson on the Gilded Age, a very significant theme perspective was highlighted in this activity as well, and in more ways than one. On the surface, this activity revealed a more fully contextuali zed version of American history to the students address ing the question of why people did what they did. But the debate also gave students a reason to pause and consider with what version of history their initial understanding was in line, and how even hi storical events in which the causes and implications might seem etched in stone could be reinterpreted for use in competing
54 rhetorical arguments. Ultimately, the decision about which perspective to adopt was left up to each student. Like what Anyon experie nced in her executive elite school 1980, instructors trust the students to make their own decisions and guide their own educations. Finally, Mr. Moran s instruction to gather opinions on American history from accessible adults no doubt reinforced th e implications of the point of view lesson in an equally significant but less explicit way. It seems likely that adults would infuse their own perspective s into discussion with the students. Reliance on outside adult resources also suggested that Mr. Mor an, like the other instructors and administrators, expects parents to be involved in concerted cultivation Lareau 2011 a and 2011b and have the ability and desire to discuss early American history and politics with their children after school.
55 Conclusion This thesis contributes a piece to an ever expanding mosaic of knowledge that I hope will inform caretakers, teachers, administrators and legislators of the inequality embedded in the education system of the United States. Education does no t occur in a power vacuum. Even as students at St. Stephen s are encouraged to explore, question and critique, an upper class habitus is subtly reinforced. And expectations and attitudes that mark a privileged upbringing can be observed in classroom intera ction. About halfway through my field work, the 8th grade students in Mr. Moran s class were asked to fill out a questionnaire about future career plans. They were provided with a wide variety of job options to choose from, including indoor and outdoor acti vities with both managerial and staff positions, to gauge the student s work environment preference. Though students were instructed to fill out the questionnaire in silence, the disbelief of several was too much to contain. One young woman blurted out, H ahaha, what? Who would ever want to be a cafeteria worker? Followed by a similar question from another student, I know right, or, like, lawn maintenance? One young man raised his head slowly and muttered in a grumpy tone, Hey, my mom works in a cafeteria. A couple of chuckles hung in the air. For most of these vocal students, careers in the service industry were not part of their expectations for the future. But the protests of that one young man cannot be overlooked. While the institutional env ironment is overwhelmingly white, conservative, Christian and economically
56 advantaged, not all of the families and students fit the bill. In the words of Michel Foucault, [W]here there is power, there is resistan ce 1978: 93 The work is far from over. There is a void in ethnographic research on the current attitudes and experiences of the student s in elite educational settings such as St. Stephen s. Just as Annette Lareau s investigation of family life outside of the classroom revealed how social facto rs such as language use affect educational o utcomes, a study of the student s perceptions would add another essential piece to Bourdieu and Passeron s original understanding of how hierarchical social reproduction occurs in schools. While I and others may speculate about the extent that reproduction is conscious internalization or unrecognized conditioning, only the students have the answer. Simultaneously, students offer a valuable glimpse of actions that constitute everyday forms of resistance a co ncept inspired by Foucault 197 2, 1978 and Michel de Certeau 1984. Elite students, for example, cannot rise up in rebellion at school or form a social movement to protest homework, lest they be adm onished, written up or expelled, and may not have the de sire or motivation to rebel actively. However, they can be dissatisfied with the status quo. But the subtle and unique signs of everyday resistance have been largely unavailable because of the difficulty in gaining access to the inner thoughts and feelin gs of minors. This territory, bordering anthropology and psychology, is not totally uncharted. Susan Seymour 2006 draws on theories and definitions from psychology in an attempt to anchor the use of psychologizing terms in ethnographic writing in prior ps ychological research. She turns her attention to resistance studies because of the close intersection between the fields around the issue of intentionality and motivation. Seymour defines
57 resistance as intentional, and hence conscious, acts of defiance or opposition 2006:305 Seymour s answer to why certain individuals resist some and not others is that resistance also rests on internalized cultural understandings that motivate actions leading to both social reproduction and social change S trauss and Quinn, 1997: 256 in 2006 With this is mind, I advocate for further ethnographic study of teenagers that t ake into account psychological processes in order to provide a unique glimpse into future articulations of resistance; while a long term s tudy could track the changes in a group s articulation of resistance. One example of this type is Milroy s 1987 examination of the use of vernacular in Style shifting and Code switching He found many individuals continue to employ vernacular speech as a method of conveying allegiance to a specific audience and group, in spite of the fact that vernaculars are often denied formal prestige 1987:179 In terms of my research in particular, I suspect much new information could be added with the dimension of psychology. While my observations may allude to the stress felt by teachers, families and students involved in Lareau s concerted cultivation, I believe much remained undiscussed. Because of the guidelines of my proposal, I was not permitted access to ask questions about any student s self esteem, relations with caretakers and siblings. And these are just a few aspects that a psychologically oriented stud y could analyze in order to contribute new information about the effects of the most accepted form of c hild rearing in the U.S. today. It is my hope that this thesis will also encourage the instatement of programs in other Florida schools that pay close attention to social hi story. Anthropologist educators such as Lauren Hasten have already paved the way b y writing about the ne cessity of an
58 anthropologically grounded study of the past in high school as a way to teach the critical question of why people do what they do 2005, 2009. But that s not all anthropology classes may teach. The incorporation of arch aeology projects into the classroom falls neatly in line with the Florida Department of Education s current campaign to encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics STEM. According to the FLDOE, the first requirement of a STEM program is to develop a curriculum driven by problem solving, discovery and exploratory learning that requires students to actively engage a situation in order to find its solution. Archaeology could be an option that incorporates the FLDOE suggestions for hands on learning and problem solving. In other s tates, archaeology has already begun to be tapped for its use in school as part of a STEM program Archaeologist Blair Atcheson and Intern Eric Rodriguez, with the support of the American Anthropological Association and the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command, worked on incorporating underwater archaeology into a high school curricula in D.C. E fforts have also been made by individuals in many states to develop a specific anthropology curriculum for high school. One regi onal example came from Plant City, Florida where Kory Bennett, in pursuit of her M.A. in Anthropology at the University of South Florida coordinated the generation of an anthropology class at Durant High School in 2005 with an instructor at the school, S heila Cohen The program combined various modes of presentation with a consideration of the seven multiple intelligences identified by Howard Gardner of Harvard in 1991 : Visual Spatial, Bodily kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Linguisti c and Logical Mathematical For example, students were asked to complete Ethnographic Research Projects ERP which were
59 designed to appeal to each of the intelligences 2005:42. W hile she sought to elicit a similar kind of critical thinking about the p ast to what St. Stephen s cultivated, there were fewer of the informal institutional prohibitions against discussing certain topics. Evolution was part of the lesson plans. Lesson Plan for Anthropology Course: Week 1 Overview of Anthropology Methods Used t o Study the Past Biology and Evolution Week 2 Fossil Primates Earliest Hominids Week 3 Hunting and Gathering Archaic Homo sapiens Upper and Lower Paleolithic Mesolithic and Neolithic Periods Week 4 Rise of Civ ilization Ethnography Project Outline Due N ature of Culture/Archaeology Fieldwork Week 5 Family and Kinship Language, Music and Culture Week 6 No class Week 7 Religion and the Supernatural Ethnography Project Due Week 8 Social Organizations/Culture Change Week 9 Exam Review Figure 4.1 My ex perience in St. Stephen s, an educational setting that fostered critical thinking while avoiding topics of religion and morality, made me yearn to feel less encumbered while teaching. I began to feel particularly frustrated because I had already experience d what I considered a comfortable teaching environment by way of volunteering at the public outreach events at the New College Public Archaeology Lab organized by Dr Uzi Baram.
60 I have a new found appreciation of the opportunity in volunteer based educat ion to present a nthropologically significant information to an audience who has chosen to visit and most likely will endorse the material that will be presented. At the present, funding for the NCPAL is limited but there is an opportunity to reach more peo ple. Dr. Gabrielle Vail, adjunct assistant professor of Anthropology at New College of Florida, also coordinates free, public outreach events in the local area. One exhibit which took place at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Cente r in St. Petersburg, Florida showcased textiles from the Classic Maya period through present day. Woven Threads Through Time: Maya Women, Weavers, and Their Stories, encouraged the validation of a specific form of indigenous knowledge, M aya weaving. Alo ng with the displays there were demonstrations of backstrap weaving by Concepcin Poou Coy Tharin, a master weaver from Guatemala. After learning the technique, c hildren and adults were guided through the process of weaving their own friendship bracelets a nd potholders. Allowing the visitors to craft an item and take it home provided a first hand encounter with the usefulness of another culture s knowledge. T he preserve is outside the limits of Sarasota and while it is open to the public, it is about a half hour drive away. For this event car pooling was coordinated for individuals and families, providing they could get to the New College campus. Unlike attending St. Stephen s, the se events are free and open to the public. In this way, a nthropological public outreach attempts to correct one discrepancy between classes that was highlighted by my observations at St. Stephen s unequal access to knowledge that has very real effects on student achievement. But this reflects only one ideal of education.
61 Paulo Fr eire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed 1968; 1970 translated by Myra Bergman Ramos ou tlines suggestions for the equalization of education and the liberation of the oppressed. In order to do so, the author advocates for education that is rooted in dialogue, br eaking down the teacher/student hierarchy that he conceives of as replicating social inequality 1970: 17. Another central component is that this shift in education must be lead by the oppressed and aided by allies from the dominant class 1970: 45. Freire warns against acting on behalf of the oppressed because of the legacy of dominant elites to use schools as places to distribute communiques, whose contents are intended to exercise a domesticating influence 1970: 131. If given the offer to teach at a private institution such as St. Stephen s, I suspect I would find myself regretfully declining. But this is not an easy choice. There are many advantages to St. Stephens. Students and teachers are provided with a plethora of resources and teachers are encouraged to develop unique and inspiring lesson plans. Small school size and classroom size facilitate intimate conversation and heavy parental involvement means students come to class with homework completed. On the other hand, the teachers appeared to be stressed by having to spend extra hours in meetings with particularly demanding parents. Also, I suspect the conservative ideology of the institution might stifle conversations I would want to have. Surely I would have been pulled aside in my lecture on defining anarchy, democracy, socialism and so on if I began to espouse the important contributions of anarchist theorists. But above all of these musings, I can not bring myself to be a tool for the acquisition of knowledge by elite students while s o many others in the U.S. are denied this privilege.
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