Just What is a Successful Education? Academic Excellence or Learning How to be a Change Agent via Social Justice?
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What are your thoughts on this article from a vice president for university engagement and chief diversity officer at Cleveland State University? From Beyond a Deficit View:
Administrators and faculty members desperately need a new language to characterize minority, low-income and first-generation students — one that frees us from dependence on labels such as “disadvantaged,” argues Byron P. White.
His argument is colleges should see these students not as deficient and not ready to attend college (even if they aren’t), and recognize their non-academic strengths. These strengths don’t make them ready to tackle academic rigor but the university should make them eligible for college admission. Universities should recognize student strengths learned from life circumstances and consequently they are better candidates to navigate in a 21st century workforce because of their innate strengths, not necessarily academic achievement. The college experience becomes egocentric, rather than expecting the college experience as expanding knowledge and arriving academically prepared for the rigor of university:
Now, apply this thinking to higher education, where the overarching culture of college and university life for all students starts with the premise that “you need us.” The counterbalance that “you also bring great value to the institution” is assumed to be in place for those considered college ready. Students whose identities upon arrival are tied almost exclusively to their deficiencies start at an extreme disadvantage.
Adopting an asset-oriented view of all students, including the big three, can be accomplished by overtly acknowledging and articulating the assets that these students possess. This does not require wishful thinking or mind tricks. It is increasingly evident that minority, low-income and first-generation students possess experiences and characteristics that make them prime candidates for what a 21st-century college student needs to be. In an increasingly diverse, urbanized world, many of these students have firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by the majority of people. Many have succeeded through challenging economic and social conditions with a measure of grit and tenacity that is beneficial in a highly competitive, fast-paced society. Often, driven by their own experiences, they bring a keen sensitivity and insight to issues of equity and justice, which are sorely needed at a time when seemingly intractable disparities within society are straining social and economic structures.
He goes on to describe how ‘ex-offenders’ are tagged with a different label (‘returning citizens’) and how a change should be afforded to the formerly known as disadvantaged:
In order to develop the discipline to value and amplify the strengths and capacities the big three bring, however, I am convinced that higher education administrators and faculty members desperately need a new language to characterize these students that frees us from our dependence on labels such as “disadvantaged” or the dreaded URM designation.
Such a tactic is not trivial. Consider how new terminology has invigorated the efforts of those who work with some of the most marginalized individuals in our society: men and women who have served time in prison and have been released back into society. Long stigmatized as “ex-offenders” or “ex-cons” or “felons,” they are now routinely referred to as “returning citizens.” The term has been advanced by policy makers, criminal justice experts and community leaders who have come to recognize that these individuals’ productive transition back into neighborhood life is essential to community well-being and stability. The term has become so universally accepted that the city of Philadelphia in 2013 officially amended its city code to abolish the term “ex-offender” in favor of “returning citizen.”
A similar reorientation is needed in higher education. I suggest we adopt a term such as “rising scholars” to refer to big three students. It would force us to articulate our expectations for success in students who typically are characterized for their likelihood of failure. It would remind those of us who seek to assist them to recognize first their gifts, talents and contributions, rather than their deficits. Perhaps it would help us chart a surer path to success among students for whom failure is no longer an option.
What is the current definition of student success and who defines that success? Is a student successful because they are adept at social justice warrioring? Are we admitting students to universities not with the expectation they apply their experiences and characteristics and grit and tenacity toward academic excellence, but instead, the expectation is that they will apply it to issues of equity and justice? On one hand, Social Justice Warrioring might be a great degree so those SJWs can assist those American computer tech workers downsized for H-1B visa holders. That’s certainly an issue of equity and justice for American workers. These workers, who do actually posses skills present in the STEM talking points by NGOs and The Departments of Labor and Education, can be easily replaced by those who will work for less wages. Maybe these social justice warriors should start a new movement: American Workers Lives Matter. The latest in the discrimination against American workers in favor of foreign workers comes from Intel Lays Off 12,000 After Seeking Visas to Import 14,523 Foreign Professionals Since 2010:
Technology giant Intel announced April 19 it will fire 12,000 skilled U.S.-based professionals — after already swelling its workforce with 14,523 requests in Washington D.C. since 2010 for visas to import foreign professionals through the controversial H-1B and Green Card programs.
The company said the layoffs were part of a restructuring plan to help shift its focus from desktop PCs to mobile devices. But the company is very profitable, and first-quarter 2016 profits were 14 percent above predictions.
Amid the layoffs, Intel is one of the nation’s largest users of the H-1B outsourcing program which allows companies such as Disney and Abbot Laboratories to replace white-collar American professionals with cheaper professionals from India, China, and other countries.
Intel has insisted that it cannot find enough skilled American workers to fill its needs. From 2010 to 2015, it filed requests for up to 8,351 H-1B visas, plus 5,172 applications for permanent Green Cards for its foreign employees, according to MyVisasJobs.com. That data shows the company sought to hire 14,523 foreign professionals instead of many Americans eager to work at Intel.
The MyVisaJobs.com site, which presents data prepared by government agencies, also shows that the company even sought work visas for 445 people who arrived in the country as students carrying F-1 visas.
The number of foreign professionals hired is uncertain. However, the MyVisaJobs.com data shows that 2,654 Green Card requests were approved in the five years between 2015 and 2011. Also many of the H-1B requests were made when the economy was stalled, and so many were likely granted. If one-third of its H-1B visa-requests were granted, then Intel was able to hire 3,000 H-1B workers from 2010 to 2015.
Intel’s press aides declined to respond to calls and emails from Breitbart.
Intel’s hires are not lower-status “tech workers,” such as software-testers or software-maintenance programmers. Instead, Intel imported foreign college-graduates for prestigious jobs such as electronics engineers, industrial engineers or computer and information research scientists. These H-1B workers can stay for six years, or longer, and some get Green Cards, which grant lifetime work permits.
There’s no shortage of U.S. engineers looking for jobs at Intel.
The idea that we should be training students to become change agents and social justice warriors starts before they reach universities. Let’s hope they can learn strategies to protect American jobs and workers who take years to learn a skill that they then can’t use. From a recent Kirkwood (MO) High School email:
From: Sarah Wurth <Sarah.Wurth@kirkwoodschools.org>
Date: Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 12:13 PM
Subject: Cultural Leadership Opportunity
To: Sarah Wurth <Sarah.Wurth@kirkwoodschools.org>
Cultural Leadership (local non-profit that trains teens to be social activists) is hosting a information session at North Middle School next Wed (April 27th).
If you know of any students who might be interested in participating, please share this information with them. Its open to rising sophomores and juniors for the high school program. More information can be found in the attachments and at this website – http://culturalleadership.org/Apply-high-school-program
The Middle school summer camp is open to rising 7th-10th graders. More information can be found at this website: http://culturalleadership.org/what-is-cultural-leadership-camp
Want to Learn How to Change the World?
Come to a Cultural Leadership informational session!
Wednesday, April 27th
North Kirkwood Middle School
11287 Manchester Rd, Kirkwood, MO 63122
Speak with our staff, alumni, and current students to learn more about our educational programs.
Cultural Leadership trains middle and high-school students to be change agents,
social justice activists, and “troublemakers of the best kind.”
Check out the Cultural Leadership website. It will cost $2500 for high school students to attend the 3 week program but it should be a great investment and resume builder for the university degrees dependent on learning Community Organizing. If you talk to a displaced STEM worker from Intel, maybe they would agree that organizing skills trump academic knowledge. Maybe the displaced workers could to back to college, write their thesis based on the economic discrimination they’ve suffered and secure a university diversity position extolling the unfairness of labels: that of being STEM ready and an American citizen. That SJW path and public education support of becoming a change agent, a social justice activist, and being a troublemaker of the best kind seems to be more lucrative than working in a STEM field.
See how Social Justice is integrated into Common Core in first grade. From New Orleans Presentation Revised.again.ppt