Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Service Learning Project

I believed it would be best for me to create a service learning project that was socially sustainable and just but also something I relate to well.  Snowboarding has been a passion for me for over a decade now and it has even assisted me to my major of Ski Business & Resort Management from Sierra Nevada College.

I would like to create an that will be  a great organization to work with and an extremely worthy cause.  I would like to be able to bring together high school students and adult mentors from a broad range of academic, cultural and economic backgrounds. All of the people involved would engage in activities rotating between intensive service-learning projects and snowboarding. The demanding program addresses three core competencies: ethic of service,  job-readiness, and civic leadership. Music, snowballs, fresh food, and a sense of community are common threads that tie the program together.

The adults in the program would be engaging in leadership through leading the groups of high school students.  I think it would be beneficial for many college students to mentor the high school students and I believe that Sierra Nevada College would have a wonderful pool of students to choose from.  The leadership and organizational/managerial skills of the college students will be built through the civic leadership which ultimately creates job-readiness.
The high school students would benefit and flourish their social skills while engaging in leadership of their own.  The program would teach them to lead on the mountain (taking turns leading runs), and also in the classroom where they can apply leadership and social skills with a better ethic of service.  The students will also partake in learning on the mountain.  The students will learn about snow science and what conditions will trigger avalanches.  Possibly sponsors could be brought into the organization to help pay for all of the students to get AIARE certifications.

My Service Learning Project empowers youth to overcome obstacles and build strong community through snowboarding, public service, and a curriculum of social justice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From First to Worst

From First to Worst explains the California state school funding with a central focus of economic justice.  California did once have a booming economy and great educations were possible to be attained. In the 1950’s and 60’s, California’s schools were the national model. “There was a commitment to excellence,” author Peter Schrag says in the film.“California was the land of new opportunity and there was a wonderful historical tradition in that.” Today, California’s schools rank near the bottom.
One fact from the film that truly stood out to me was that the state of California was spending, on average,  $27,000 dollars a year to support each prisoner while each student was receiving $9,000.  Using a new system for tracking dropouts, California discloses a rate considerably higher than previously reported. About 1 in 3 students in Los Angeles Unified left school.
A sad fact for me growing up in Los Angeles is that California ranks 50th of 50 states in staff-to-student ratios.  There is 68 staff for every 1,000 California students, 22 below the national average. Not only that, but California schools staff made an average of $24,134 a year in 2005/06.

California has more than 6.2 million students, almost 2 million more than Texas, the next most populous state. Besides dealing with the complexities of running a school system of this magnitude, California educators face other challenges. The state is near the top in the proportion of children living in low-income families.

I believe the true situation of economic justice in From First to Worst can be explained by taxes and what the public was misinformed about. The mismatch between who votes in california and who is served by public schools caused the beginning of the problem. Then the working class hoodwinked into thinking
taxes are bad. Finally it was not economically just because the distribution of wealth was unfair not everyone is paying their fair share of taxes.