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In my evaluation, I focused on how I've grown since being in that class and how far I still have to go. In the beginning I was very intimindated by the structure of our discussions. I didn't talk much because I found it difficult to assert myself into the conversation. I also didn't take advantage of being able to post supplementary thoughts and ideas on Serendip because I felt like no one was reading them. I have since been able to find my place to speak in class, and I think I have become much better at speaking without hesitation about topics that interest me. I have also grown to appreciate Serendip now that the dialogue between us has begun to increase. However, I would like to see more of a conversation online. It's nice to know that others are taking the time to read things that you post and also to respond to them, possibly providing a previously unknown viewpoint. What I personally still need to work on in being to "talky" in essays. I tend to become lost in fluff and cliches, which obscures the point I'm trying to make. In addition, I need to make sure I fully develop a topic rather than just restating ideas. For the class, I hope that we will be able to get the Parkway students involved in some of our conversations on Serendip. I would be very interested to see what point of view they can bring to our discussions. 

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Connections made during today's discussion

Today while we were discussing Traub's idea that "in the inner city, social capital barely exists", I was able to make a connection between the reading and what I have learned thus far in my Urban Sociology class, but I wasn't really sure how to fit it into in class discussion, so I'll put it here. 

What we didn't talk about is that the very nature of cities limits the social capital (as defined by Traub) between its residents. Louis Wirth, who wrote Urbanism as a Way of Life describes the physical structure and layout of a city and how this affects people. According to Wirth, a city can be defined as a large, heterogenous, high-density dwelling. He continues to assert that because there are so many people in cities, primary ties are replaced by secondary ties, and those moving about through the streets are more isolated and lonely because they are less likely to know everyone. This is the idea of the "metropolitan man" and although it's been almost 75 years since Wirth's work was published, we can still see our modern metroman in the city today. 

What I gave here is a very general summary of some of Wirth's points, but you can read the whole essay here: 

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Visit to the High School

Through our upcoming visit to the high school, I'm hoping to expand my ideas of what a typical public (albeit specially selective) high school looks like. Because my own school was very unique -- predominantly Asian/Troy Tech IB program -- I look forward to seeing and experiencing a different atmosphere. Along this same vein, I think that the students' attitude here will be different than those back home, and I have some questions. How do they percieve the education they are getting versus what their friends have at other schools? Where is college on their radar? Is it something that everyone is working toward to just a select few? What do they like best about the high school that is unique to their school? Do they feel like this should be implemented at other schools? And finally I would like to see their impressions of us. What they expected from us and whether we met those expectations. 

While I have a lot to take from the students, I'd also like to give them some background into my own educational experience. If I am asked to delve into my own high school experience, I will admit that it was a priveledged one filled with many opportunities to grow. However, I will also touch on the fact that it had its faults, and those faults ended up being a downer on my four years. I hope that I don't see those same issues within the high school, and then I can convey how comforting it is to me to be in a highschool enviroment like that. 

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Does education level the playing field?

What determines the answer to this question is whether we all have equal access to education, and the answer to that is no. It is impossible for education to level the playing field if not everyone has an equal chance to get there. I like to think of the SAT as an easier way to explain how access can be a hindrance to the possible equalizing effects of an education.

The SAT can be seen as a sort of microcosm of access and equal opportunity in the education system. The most accurate indicator of a student’s SAT scores the family’s income bracket. This means that if someone has enough money to pay for an SAT tutor, it is likely that he/she will score higher than a student who could not afford help.  In the long run, the student with a better score – and the bigger bank account -- has a higher chance of being accepted to college. The word “standardized” in SAT suggests that scores are an accurate representation of the intelligence of the students who earn them. However, as we can see from the example, this is not the case. Because test outcomes can be changed based on financial ability to pay for a tutor, the SAT is not a level playing field for students, although it is advertised as such.

To use Bryn Mawr as another example, while we as Mawrters are extremely lucky to be here, not everyone can attain a liberal arts education. This may be to due to monetary, social or personal factors; but either way, if all the players don’t have access to the field, how can the game be fair?

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Just something I learned today..

After my conference with Anne today, I realized that I tend to overgeneralize things in my writing, trying to make them applicable to a whole group of people because I thought this was the only way to be analytical. Who am I to say that my own personal experience doesn't help prove that a theory is valid. Where before I was scared to use the word "I" in my writing, I am now truly using my own personal experience to help support a text (yay, Dewey!). It's also a lot easier for my to write just because I don't have to change my experience to try and fit into something that I think the rest of the class has experienced, too. So sorry guys if I was unintentionally putting thoughts into your head in my writing, it won't happen again! 


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New York Times Education Reform Conference

Hey guys, I've seen this ad in the newspaper and I think it looks interesting every time, so I'm here to share. NYT is putting together 400 world leaders in education to have a debate/discussion on the importance of technology in education. This is the first year that it has happened and it's a very interesting and informative talk. 

It's a live stream, and it will be going on until about 6:15 tonight, so try and catch a bit. 

Here's the link:

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Paper 3 Reflection

 "Despite having every opportunity to grow and excel in my rigorous academic studies, now that I am away from this environment, the lesson that has stuck with me the most was the education I wasn’t receiving. Now that I’ve arrived at Bryn Mawr and become exposed to the diverse viewpoints and backgrounds of my peers, my awareness of how cloistered my high-school experience was has increased ten-fold. The most important part in my journey towards higher education was realizing that school work isn’t that only type of education that is important to attain.  My access to education was colored by the fact that now I realize my past schooling experience wasn’t without its faults. In this essay, I will mainly be speaking about academic education as it provides an avenue toward social, physical and emotional education. Through our progression into higher education and experiences within classroom environments, our increased academic development provides access to continued growth socially, mentally and physically."

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Access Map

Sorry the picture is sideways, but here it is! Also, I changed my username, but this is Hayley. 

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After writing my education autobiography, I realized that my feelings toward high school are stronger than I had previously thought. I received a very rigorous academic education, but the lessons that stuck with me are actually what I learned on a social level. My experience had less to do with class, and more to do with competition and the actions of my fellow students. While I've realized that this education had a negative effect on me overall, I am now able to look into my future at Bryn Mawr in a positive way, because I know that what is to come will be better that what has happened in the past. 

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I'm not sure if this is where we are supposed to introdice ourselves but I guess I'll go ahead. My name is Hayley Burke and I grew up in the town of Chino Hills, outside Orange County. My primary education was what I would describe as normal, but I attended a magnet high school where people travelled for up to an hour and a half each day just to get to class. Although it was difficult, high school is where I realized that I wanted to become a social worker and where I could particpate in programs that would help me on my way. Just a fun fact: I have really crazy knees that actually bow quite a bit backward when I stand. 

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