Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Empowering Education" by Ira Shor


1) "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream."

This first hyperlink is to a documentary directed by Acadamy Award-winning film maker Alex Gibney. In the documentary, Gibney examines the vast differences that can be seen on two different Park Avenues located in New York. One Park Ave. is home to more billionaires than anywhere else on the planet. Just miles away, another Park Ave. in the Bronx is home to extreme levels of poverty, much like some of the other cases we have examined over the course of this semester. The film focuses much of its attention on one staggering fact: the 400 richest Americans control more wealth than the 150 million Americans in the bottom fifty percent of the economic ladder. As Shor points out in his piece, our educational system reinforces many of the economic disparities seen in everyday life. This documentary reemphasizes just how significant and scary those disparities truly are. The two Park Avenues, both located within the same city, seem as if they are two entirely separate countries. Shor explains that this increasingly significant difference is largely due to the educational system in the US and how stereotypes are often perpetuated within their hallways. Those with money are able to send their children to schools that employ the very best programs and educators. While those in the lower classes must make due with whatever is allotted to them.

2) "Why You Should Opt Out Your Children from State Testing" by Ira Shor

In this other piece by Ira Shor, he explains that  the current form of state testing does nothing to benefit students enrolled in public schools. Shor states that public schools are in a state of destruction due to the looting of school funds by charter schools and testing companies. Shor asserts that the constant, mundane style of state testing that currently exists "makes the best years of our kids' lives into a digital hell." According to Shor, these tests are useless and expensive and something that the students in private schools do not have to go through. The tests also fail to examine a multitude of factors that can alter a child's test scores, including family income. Shor explains how SAT and ACT scores, as well as high school and college graduation rates, are directly linked to family income.  Shor accurately describes the system of state testing that currently exists within public schools as a "commercial machine invading and destroying public schools."


  1. Pat, you did a really nice job! The first hyperlink is really interesting. I didn't even know that was a documentary, but I can understand the point the director made. Really great job connecting that to Shor, it makes a lot of sense. I really like your second hyperlink too! I've heard it from many teachers that the standardized test do not benefit the students, they are only in place to make the school look better and get funding. Most of the time those test are used for nothing. Great job connecting that one as well! Nice job :)

  2. This is really interesting Pat! You made some really great connections! That movie sounds really cool and connects really well to what we read in Shor. And wow, I didn't know that private schools didn't have the same testing, that just kinda clicked for me how different the schools are and the children with guardians income. Great job!