Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vertical Farm Pictures


Friday, March 12, 2010

Last Day

Last Day

Bonus Points.

H/I Cover Letter

H/I "Second Chance" Draft?

Essays must include my comments

Paper clips/staples

Complete Feedback.

Return of Essays, etc

First week of Spring Quarter—ask Kelley in English Department.

Grades mostly.

For more feedback from me, bring your essay in and we'll go over it.

Grades due Next Friday, posted online under schedule that day

My schedule

Spring 70 x2 and Creative Writing

Fall 101 x2 and Creative Writing

Winter 102 x3

Also, you can ask about anything anytime.

You can say hi to me on campus. Say your name and I'll say mine.

You can say hi to each other.

Andy Blevins' story.

One in there Americans in their mid-twenties attended but did not finish college.

Only 41 percent of low-income students entering a four year college managed to graduate within five years. (66% of high income did).

75 percent of students enrolling in community colleges said they hoped to transfer to a four year institution. But only 17 percent of those made the switch within five year. The rest were out working or still studying toward the two year degree.

This is not the path you are on.

This is the path you are on:

"As you walk, you cut open and create that riverbed into which the stream of your descendants shall enter and flow." --Nikos Kanzantzakis

Now, you can do this:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 48

English 102 Lesson Plan Day 48

  1. Hand in AW essay.
  2. BP Due tomorrow.
  3. Cover Letter due tomorrow.
  4. Final revised essay due tomorrow.
    1. Must include draft with my comments.
  5. Absolutely no late work accepted. Ten minutes is late.
  6. Learn from Leon.
  7. MLADM2K10, Round Two, The Reckoning.
    1. El Dorado
    2. Steak Knives
    3. You're Fired
  8. One team eliminated each round.
  9. Third round of the day is double points.
  10. Lightning round followed by tie breaker, sudden death rounds.


Or these?

1) http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/col/bruinsuccess/03/quiz.cfm

4) http://anywhere.tennessee.edu/iei/laap/eng1010/mla/practice.htm

2) http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/tutorials/mlatutorial/quiz.php?type=pre

3) http://library.albany.edu/usered/plagiarism/page8.html http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072873469/student_view0/avoiding_plagiarism_tutorial/citing_sources/works_cited_quiz.html

Maybe these?



http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/col/bruinsuccess/03/quiz.cfm http://anywhere.tennessee.edu/iei/laap/eng1010/mla/practice.htm http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/tutorials/mlatutorial/quiz.php?type=pre http://library.albany.edu/usered/plagiarism/page8.html http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072873469/student_view0/avoiding_plagiarism_tutorial/citing_sources/works_cited_quiz.html http://collegewriting.us/1101/MLAQuiz.aspx

Learn from Leon and Lindsay and the Tour de Dumb

It ain't over 'til it's over.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Education Pays


The Unflat World

Here's part of the counter argument to globalization.

And here's Friedman's warnings:

Too Sick

a. HIV-AIDS, malaria, TB, polio (and Gates)
b. Pandemic (have you seen 28 days later? You get the picture)

Too Disempowered

a. Half-flat world—in India high tech is .2 percent of employment.
b. Rural voters

Too Frustrated

a. Cultures feel threatened, frustrated, humiliated
b. Differences coming into contact, including online.
c. Threat of openness
d. Abandon religion to join advances or retreat to fundamentalism

Too Many Toyotas

a. natural resources, oil, timber, etc
b. environmental destruction

Business Letter Format

Here's one.
Here's another.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Coffee's for Closers

H/I Portfolio Revision Worksheet on Tuesday.

  1. MLA DeathMatch 2010.

    1. Five teams enter, one team leaves
    2. First Prize: 5 BP
    3. Second Prize: Steak Knives
    4. Third Prize: You're fired
    5. It's on…
  2. The Final Week—Special Guest Leon Lett will be here Wednesday

    1. Tuesday: Business Letter format, sample letters
    2. Wednesday: Peer Editing, Bring two copies of Final, Final Rough Draft or Cover letter

Crops coming in? There's an ap for that

IFarm, globalization on the farm in the Yakima Valley. No end to knowledge work jobs that can be created.

Education Articles

UW has a program started by a former student of mine that fits in this conversation well. It's called the "Dream Project"--she started it as her senior project and it's now her doctoral work. It matches UW students as mentors to low income high school students. And it's really working.

Central raising tuition again. The president says those hurt the most are in the middle class.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Day 42

English 102 Lesson Plan Day 42


  1. Hand in essay.
  2. Plate of Peas
  3. O/R Y/N?
  4. Portfolio Review Assignment
  5. Cover Letter Assignment
  6. Monday: Essays returned
    1. MLA DeathMatch 2010, Round One—The Thunderdome
    2. PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN! You call yourself a salesman?
    3. You can bring your Hacker books, (quick reference guide a good idea)
    4. Four Teams Enter, One Team Leaves
  7. Tuesday: Portfolio Review Due; Business Letters; Sample Essays.
  8. Wednesday: One final peer editing day
  9. Thursday: MLA DM2K10: Round Two--The Reckoning
  10. Friday: Cover Letter Due; Revised Essay for Improved Score Due (Must include essay with my comments on it to be considered).
  11. Revision Notes

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Flat World in Education

Debated in the NYTimes

Meanwhile, watch the video with this long article and think about how this works in Distance Ed classes.

More student protests

In California.

School Reform U-Turn

The woman who helped write the No Child Left Behind laws says they aren't working.
The main idea was that all schools, rich or poor, be held to the same standards.
This process was left up to the states, but if they didn't make adequate yearly progress (AYP) they'd lose money from the federal govt.

The result is that the standards were lowered so all schools, rich and poor, made it over the standards.

Day 41

English 102 Lesson Plan Day 41

  1. Scoring this essay
  2. By Friday: 3-5 pages (could include first in-class essay as lead in to solutions). This draft is a final draft and should include direct quotes from the books defining not only the obstacles but the solutions as well. In text and works cited are required. A counter argument is required.


"How Can We Duplicate" revision is due
ONLY IF you are interested in using this essay as your final, final essay. This gives me time to respond and you time to revise it.


If you KNOW you are revising a different essay,(Education or Business in TWIF), then the revised "How Can We Duplicate" Essay is not due until THURSDAY, March 11th.


  1. Peer edit "How Can We Duplicate" in class
    1. We're looking for clear topics in each paragraph
    2. We're looking for support from Class Matters, Nickel and Dimed, The World is Flat, Brooks, other.
    3. We're looking for an awareness of Counter-Arguments from the above books as well.
      1. Here's how we'll do it
        1. Write a question or two you need answered. The more specific the better.
        2. Number paragraphs
        3. Hand to partner at your table.
        4. Peer edit without reading aloud.
          1. Stay focused.
          2. Give it your complete attention.

They are counting on you.

Collaboration in Online Music

Here's the site for Indaba and here's a report on it from Colbert

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Dan Zaccagnino
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorSkate Expectations

Colbert on Copyright

Here's a guy named Lawrence Lessig that wants to do away with copyright laws.
It's all part of what Friedman calls "The Great Sorting Out"
And here's the remix.

And here's a debate about Obama's campaign poster on Colbert.
The AP took the photo, but did the artist steal it for his poster?
Or is he "sampling" it?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Obama and McCain Counter Argument

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - John McCain's Legitimate Point
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

Day 40

English 102 Lesson Plan Day 40

  1. A Star is Made
  2. By Friday: 3-5 pages (could include first in-class essay as lead in to solutions). This draft is a final draft and should include direct quotes from the books defining not only the obstacles but the solutions as well. In text and works cited are required. A counter argument is required.


"How Can We Duplicate" revision is due
ONLY IF you are interested in using this essay as your final, final essay. This gives me time to respond and you time to revise it.


If you KNOW you are revising a different essay,(Education or Business in TWIF) Revised "How Can We Duplicate" Essay is not due until THURSDAY, March 11th.


  1. Peer edit "How Can We Duplicate" in class
    1. We're looking for clear topics in each paragraph
    2. We're looking for support from Class Matters, Nickel and Dimed, The World is Flat, Brooks, other.
    3. We're looking for an awareness of Counter-Arguments from the above books as well.
      1. Here's how we'll do it
        1. Write a question or two you need answered. The more specific the better.
        2. Number paragraphs
        3. Hand to partner at your table.
        4. Peer edit without reading aloud.
          1. Stay focused.
          2. Give it your complete attention.
          3. They are counting on you.

A Star is Made

From the Freakonomics team, "A Star is Made"
Here's another column about it.

Here's one about children doing well in school based on early attachments.

Rewards for Students

Here's an article from today about attempts to deal with the ambition gap.

(AND, if you comment on this article, you get a point. Should you?)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Another Essay on Mobility

Dan Peters English 102
1 / 21 / 07
Friction, What Friction?

Deep in the heart of America there lies a large mass of hard-working, low-wage workers. These people sacrifice day in and day out just so they can survive in this cold, harsh world, but unfortunately for many of them, there is no end to the madness of scraping by in life anywhere in close sight. Why are so many low-wage workers stuck in low-wage jobs forever? Barbara Ehrenreich offers up one possible reason in her best selling book Nickel and Dimed. In it, Ehrenreich believes that the explanation for permanent low-wage workers is due to the “friction” between the workers and their opportunities for advancement in their wages (205). There are many different reasons that the staggering amounts of friction are caused for the long term low-wage workers, and something needs to be done in order to ease the burden of the obstacles that get in the way of achieving the “economic man” theory. Through achieving affordable mass transportation in America and more of an awareness of better job opportunities, the friction that holds back the long-term low-wage workers from maximizing their wages can finally be eased.

The economic man theory is a term that states that any person can “obtain the highest possible well-being for himself given available information about opportunities and other constraints,” (Wikipedia). The friction that Ehrenreich talks about in her book is stated right in the definition of economic man. The definition talks about “other constraints” in the pursuit of maximizing economic goals. These constraints are the exact same thing as the friction that Ehrenreich describes, but what is this friction that she talks about?

First of all, low-wage workers are stuck in their jobs because they have no bargaining power. Low-wage jobs are just too plentiful, as is the amount of people who can fill them. Worker unions are commonly non-existent in low-wage jobs. Because of this, there is almost no way for a worker to complain about their wages and receive a pay raise. If they do, the employer often fires them in a heartbeat with absolutely no remorse, because they can just hire another person to do the exact same job, yet never complains about their wages. In essence, almost every low-wage worker is expendable and easily replaced by somebody else. For example, the mega company Wal-Mart does not have unions for their low-wage workers, thus they can pay them less, because if somebody mouths off about their wages, a replacement is already working the next day. Ehrenreich writes about a woman named Marlene, who has an interesting personal take on this situation. She states that, “Wal-Mart would rather just keep hiring new people than treating the ones it has decently,” (184). Friction? I would say so.

When a person’s only income is one low-wage job, they often have to work a second job just so they can support themselves financially. This is a huge time constraint for a worker. Their life consists of two things, working and sleeping. Who has the time and energy to go from place to place to find a better paying job? Certainly these people don’t. In her book, Ehrenreich searches for her jobs before she starts her living experience, but in reality, a person can’t afford to look for work unless they already have a steady job, which takes up their time and energy. As Ehrenreich said, why not stay with the devil you already know rather than go to the devil you don’t know (205). This thinking applies to low-wage jobs, and people not wanting to leave their comfort zones to take a risk.

Media and technology has a huge impact on life in America, but unfortunately for low-wage workers, it also is a huge detriment on their lives. Technology allows people to quickly find better job opportunities and quickly arrange interviews. Since low-wage workers can’t afford internet access, fancy computers, or even cell phones, they can’t take advantage of the opportunities that they provide. Instead, they are forced to scan the want-ads and hear about job openings from others. This means that the number of quality jobs available to them decreases by a substantial margin. Also because of the lack of technology, the workers are misinformed about their overall economic opportunities. They don’t get the chance to read the latest article on how to get a well-paying job, or how to raise an unfairly low wages.

The last and most substantial impact on the friction with low-wage workers would be transportation, or lack there of. Transportation costs continue to skyrocket in today’s gas-guzzling society due to the continued rise in gas prices at the pump. Currently, gas prices are hovering over $2.00 per gallon, which in turn raise the cost of riding the bus. Public transportation is in limited supply all around the country because it does not allow a person to go everywhere that they need to go. For example, Margy Waller writes that, “while many new jobs are located in the suburbs, public transit rarely takes central city residents all the way to the door of suburban employers,” (The Brookings Institution). Outside of some of the big cities, public transportation is almost non-existent. Long-term low-wage workers are on such a limited income that they often can not afford to buy a car, let alone keep it running with the current high gas prices. This means that these workers must rely on public transportation or friends to get around. If either of these is unreliable, they have to walk or ride a bike, which immediately shrinks the size of their possible employment and housing situations. Also, this shrinks the number of good job opportunities, which also shrinks the possibility of finding a well-paying job. Ehrenreich is forced to move to a higher priced living situation when she gets a better job, because she can’t afford the driving costs, and she had a reliable car and no kids to drive around. She has to pay $100 more per month than her old but comfortable apartment to live in a smaller, crappier trailer because it is closer to her new job at Jerry’s (38). Ehrenreich’s coworker Tina is forced to pay $60 a night at a Days Inn because she has no car and it is within walking distance of her waitressing job (26). Also, many low-wage workers have children, so they are forced to take jobs that are close to their children’s schools and daycare centers. The mobility of a low-wage worker shrinks with every new variable added to their situation.

Something must be done to ease all of these frictions that prevent the economic man theory from applying to every worker, not just the middle and upper class workers. I think that the mass transportation system all around the country should be united into a series of subways, high speed rail cars, monorails, and easy to use bus routes. Smaller towns and rural areas should also be a part of the mix, and serviced as well, unlike the current system that only is in a few big cities, like New York City and San Francisco. Buses should be in more organized and have straight-shot routes to reduce travel time for everybody. Also, they should have longer routes that stretch even as far as the suburbs. Europe is a great example of how to properly use mass transportation. Most people in Europe use some sort of mass transportation, buses or high speed trains, to get around to places like their workplace. A reliance on cars is nowhere near as plentiful in Europe as it is in America. As an added bonus, mass transportation is better for the environment by leaving a cleaner air than cars do, and they use less oil.

The problem with redesigning the mass transportation system is the overall cost for the consumer as well as the government. In order to pay for a mass transportation makeover, it takes billions of dollars, which is likely raised through taxes and higher purchasing prices. Billions of dollars are being spent on the Iraq War, if the government took just a small piece of that money, the new mass transportation system could be paid for without even raising taxes. Even with a new mass transit system, the current costs are still relatively high, which is one reason that only 4% of current Americans use public transportation to commute to work (Opinion Journal.com). If it is made more affordable, isn’t a little bit of extra money out of your pocket worth the cost, in order to help the low-wage workers.

Another important step into easing the friction would be to give more of a sense of job awareness to the low-wage workers. This could be achieved through technology, but technology that the low-wage workers can afford. Something like a public television channel dedicated to helping low-wage workers by showing stories that relate to their lives would make a much bigger impact than going to the local Worksource and standing in line. A majority of the rest of the problems are solved when better mass public transportation is achieved. The area in which a person can afford to work in will greatly increase, as will the area in which to find affordable housing. With a wider range of area for everybody, the number of good job opportunities with higher wages will increase, so people will not have to work two jobs as often. This opens up more free time to look for an even better job.

In the end, almost all of the problems with the friction will be gone. Finally, the economic man theory is achievable for everyone. With a fantastic mass public transportation system all around the country and an increased awareness in job opportunities, long-term low-wage working will no longer be an option, unless a person wants it to be. If the transportation system is connected in every area of the country, than the people of the country will be more connected as well. Through hard work and dedication, anybody can achieve their realistic financial and career goals. The friction for low-wage workers as described by Ehrenreich in her book Nickel and Dimed would be all but vanished. I don’t think that there is one true way to end poverty and long-term low-wages, but this is one logical step towards trying to achieve economic prosperity for everybody.

Works Cited

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed. New York: Henry Holt and Company,
Opinion Jornal.com. 16 March 2005. Wall Street Journal. 21 January 2007.

The Brookings Institution. Margy Waller. 15 December 2005. The Brookings
Institution. 25 January 2005.

Wikipedia.org. 19 December 2006. Wikipedia. 21 January 2007.

A Good In Class Essay from First Week

Dan Peters
ENGL 102
17 March 2008
Stop Tricking Yourself, America
Today, the country has gone a long way toward an appearance of classlessness. Americans of all sorts are awash in luxuries that would have dazzled their grandparents. Social diversity has erased many of the old markers. It has become harder to read people’s status in the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the votes they cast, the god they worship, the color of their skin. The contours of class have blurred; some say they have disappeared. But class is still a powerful force in American life.
—Fred R. Conrad, Class Matters, “Shadowy Lines That Still Divide”

What is class? According to Class Matters, “class is one way societies sort themselves out…. Classes are groups of people of similar economic and social position…. Put ten people in a room and a pecking order soon emerges” (8). The book Class Matters describes Americans’ perception of class: “A recent New York Times poll on class found that 40 percent of Americans believed that the chance of moving up from one class to another had risen over the last thirty years, a period in which the new research shows that it has not. Thirty-five percent said it had not changed, and only 23 percent said it had dropped” (5). Seventy-five percent of Americans are disillusioned about the reality of class. Class summit is more difficult than they think. However, if the opportunity to arise from the dust is still available, typical Americans will continue to view class as normal American life.

Class Matters describes Americans’ stand on class: “There are poor and rich in the United States, of course, the argument goes, but as long as one can become the other, as long as there is something close to equality of opportunity, the differences between them do not add up to class barriers” (2-3). People will always organize themselves into classes. As long as the roles aren’t written in stone, the American dream will continue to exist. According to the New York Times poll, however, Americans think it is easier to ascend up the pecking order when, in fact, it is harder. This misperception is because race, religion, political alignment, and appearance do not indicate class anymore. Class Matters states, “Diversity of all sorts—racial, ethnic, and gender—has complicated the class picture” (18). It also says, “Religious affiliation, too, is no longer the reliable class marker it once was” (Conrad 18). Explaining the change in political alignment, Class Matters states, “In the 1950s, professionals were reliably Republican; today they lean Democratic. Meanwhile, skilled labor has gone from being heavily Democratic to almost evenly split” (15). Class Matters explains appearance similarities: “Banks, more confident about measuring risk, now extend credit to low-income families, so that owning a home or driving a new car is no longer evidence that someone is middle class” (15). People can fake class presence nowadays. Are class barriers conquerable? Of course. We should listen to Ernie Frazier, a sixty-five-year-old real estate investor, and Diana Lackey, a sixty-year-old homemaker and wife of a retired contractor who were both quoted in Class Matters. Ernie Frazier states, “I don’t think life is necessarily fair. But if you persevere, you can overcome adversity. It has to do with a person’s willingness to work hard, and I think it’s always been that way” (Conrad 5). Lackey says, “Times are much, much harder with all the downsizing, but we’re still a wonderful country” (Conrad 7). Lower class Americans can still work hard and obtain an education in order to become upper class Americans. The question is: Will they, if they can appear like the wealthy with their cell phones and flat-screen TV’s? When Americans can obtain “status” with the swipe of a credit card, when they distract themselves with chaotic schedules, ridiculous media, and unnecessary stuff that is portrayed as the “happy American life”, will they be willing to work harder than in years past in order to actually become upper class and stop faking the upper-class life? America’s perception and the reality of class are unlikely to change because Americans have become distracted with chaotic schedules, misleading media, and unnecessary stuff. Americans are tricking themselves.

Americans are way too busy. In the book The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, Malcolm Davidson, a fifth grade teacher, is quoted describing the life of many of his students: “Sadly, many…white, American, middle class parents [told me] that the 5th grade work was too hard on their kids, they couldn’t possibly complete it and have time to ‘be a kid.’ Soccer, gymnastics, [music] lessons and dinner out squeezed their education time” (357). Education opens up the way to get out of lower class life. When “being a kid” is more important than being a successful adult and “being a kid” entails instant gratification, Americans won’t discover what class is actually like in America, and lower class Americans won’t get the essentials to overcome their fate. Thomas Friedman describes how parents need to buck up and show their children tough love. He says, “I am suggesting that we do more to push our young people to go beyond their comfort zones, to do things right, and to be ready to suffer some short-run pain for longer gain” (Friedman 397). Parents shouldn’t expect their kids to excel at everything. Parents need to prioritize time so their children will have adequate time to perform well. Parents need to focus on their priorities and not let their kids give up and try something new when the going gets tough. If life revolves around the individual—doing this and doing that—the individual won’t take time to discover the big picture of class in America, and Americans “stuck” in lower class life will be too busy to overcome their fate.

Americans are way too concerned with abstract, unreal, misleading media. They need to put down the remote. Thomas Friedman states, “Our love of television and video and online games helps to explain our third dirty little secret” which is Americans lack of ambition (354). Without ambition, lower-class Americans cannot change the reality of class in America, and many other Americans will be too busy talking about American Idol, the latest celebrity, and upcoming movies to get a hold on America’s class barriers and how hard it is to move up in class. Thomas Friedman writes, “There comes a time when you’ve got to put away the Game Boys, turn off the television, shut off the iPod, and get your kids down to work” (395). This task is difficult when the kids are not the only ones addicted to brain-numbing pastimes. The March 2008 edition of Focus on the Family magazine describes the media’s coverage of Paris Hilton, “when her partying led to a drunk driving arrest and a jail cell, the television news covered her story round the clock, devoting time to her that might have been given to more important topics, such as the war in Iraq. But the public ate it up” (19). Why would Americans want to feast on Paris Hilton’s mistakes? How is it relevant? Thomas Friedman compares America’s celebrities with China’s saying “In China today, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears—and that is our problem” (Friedman 365).When the world looks at Americans, they see rich people. Why? Because Americans like to sit at movie theaters, eat popcorn, and talk about how hard their lives are. Again, we need to put down the remote and buckle down. The world is not always going to want to serve us.

Lastly, Americans are way too concerned with stuff. In the Yakima Herald Republic on Saturday, March 1st, 2008, Cal Thomas writes,
Some of the lust for bigger and better is human nature, but a lot is the result of consumerism. The Timex watch is no longer enough. We now must have a Rolex, though both accurately tell time. The adequate low-end automobile is insufficient. We must trade up to a luxury car with numbers and letters on the rear that mean nothing, but convey “status.” And the house we are living in, which would have been more than adequate for our parents and certainly our grandparents, must be upgraded to larger digs in order to impress, if not growing families, than enlarged egos.

Americans won’t escape their low-end situations if they don’t sacrifice some of their wants. In the book Class Matters, the author, Angel Franco, writes about Juan Manuel Peralta who illegally came to the United States seeking a better life. After fifteen years without moving up the economic ladder, Peralta has lost hope and ambition to arise from the dust. Yet, in his financially unstable situation, Peralta has “middle-class ornaments, like a cellphone and a DVD player” (Franco 123). He even admits he has other inhibiting factors like his temper, gambling, and drinking. If Peralta would sacrifice his cell phone, gambling, DVD player, then maybe he could get closer to getting out the apartment that he shares with nine other Mexicans. In the United States, it is harder than before to move up the economic ladder. Lower class Americans can’t afford to buy the up-and-coming if they want to overcome their situation.

American’s perception and the reality of class are unlikely to change because Americans have become distracted by chaotic schedules, misleading media, and unnecessary stuff. We need to sacrifice our wants for awhile and focus on our needs. This sacrifice will help lower class Americans change the reality of class and other Americans see the reality of class. Americans need to stop tricking themselves.

Sample Essay 2 AW's Climb


Dan Peters

ENG 102

5 June 2008

Rags to Riches

Approximately one third of all public high school students fail to graduate. According to an article from ABC News by Pierre Thomas, “It is estimated that about 2,500 students drop out of U.S. high schools everyday.” Among these students 6 percent of Anglos had not completed high school compared to 23 percent of Hispanics. Lacking a high school diploma, these individuals will be far more likely to spend their lives periodically unemployed, live in poverty, or cycling in and out of the prison system. A majority of these individuals come from low-income families that do not have the same opportunities or resources middle and upper classes do. This makes it very difficult to be successful in life. Angela Whitiker is one of the few low class individuals that dropout during high school, but has moved up the economic ladder. She is a registered nurse that climbed out of deep urban poverty into the middle class. Whitiker overcame many obstacles to earn her high school equivalency diploma and later her Associates degree in nursing and was fortune enough in finding a stable man that was very helpful. How can we duplicate Angela’s success? Some believe that it is all up to the individual. I believe that we can duplicate Angela Whitiker’s success if we focus on early education, access to higher education and ambition.

I believe in order to duplicate Angela Whitiker’s success we need to focus on Early Education. We need to make sure that every child is on the path to success from the very beginning. Early education enhances school readiness, so that children can gain the full benefit of their learning experience and be more successful in life. According to Rand Researchers in Early Childhood Interventions, “The first few years of a child’s life are a particularly sensitive period in the process of development, laying a foundation in childhood and beyond for cognitive functioning; behavioral, social, and self-regulatory capacities.” The risk of not receiving early education includes working unskilled labor jobs at minimum wage and no way up the economic ladder. For example in the book Class Matters, Juan Peralta an illegal immigrant that came to the United States at the age of nineteen did not receive any education, spoke very little English, which has made it very difficult to succeed in life. Juan Peralta worked two jobs usually working ten-hour shifts just to feed and maintain his family.

Although Peralta came to the U.S. at an age that he clearly could not have had the opportunity of getting a primary education. We can see that the absence of an early education has affected his life greatly. Peralta may never move up class divisions, but his children do have the opportunity of being successful. Being in the low working class, Peralta’s children do not have all the resources and opportunities that middle and upper classes do. This is why it is imperative that the government provides early education programs like “East Yakima Early Learning Initiative,” (ready by five) which provides parents with education and support to help develop children’s potential and creativity, helping to ensure that all children in the community are ready to succeed in school and in life. Bill Gates said, “Providing high-quality, stimulating learning opportunities for young children is one of the smartest investments we can make in our state’s future.” Therefore, if we want to duplicate Angela Whitiker’s success we need to focus on early education and provide more programs like the East Yakima Early Learning initiative, so that students can continue to be successful and proceed into higher education institutions.
I also believe that the government needs to provide access to higher education for low income students to help duplicate Angela Whitiker’s success. Providing higher education will also help fill in the numbers gap. Dirty little secret #1 “The Number Gap” in The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, states that there has been a decline in the number of students going into the science and mathematics fields. Friedman says, “In preparing Indicators 2004, the NSB said, we have observed a troubling decline in the number of U.S. citizens who are training to become scientists and engineers, whereas the number of jobs requiring science and engineering training continues to grow,” (344). If students from low working classes are given a chance, they can help fill the growing demand for high-skilled workers. For example, according to the article Dream Act Becoming Major Mid-Term Battleground by Peter Eichstaedt, Brenda P. was valedictorian of her class at an East L.A. high school this year. She graduated at the top of her class with a GPA of 3.9 and won various awards. Eichstaedt states, “She was identified as a gifted student in mathematics, Student of the Year in Physics, and put on the Principals Honor Roll for maintaining perfect attendance and a 4.0 GPA for two consecutive years.” Graduating from high school was one of her greatest accomplishments especially because she was the fist person in her family to do so. She was accepted into the University of California, Berkeley (which is said to be the school of her dreams since eight grade). She wants major in Electrical Engineering because math and science are her passions. Brenda says, “Unfortunately, my dreams of becoming an Engineer have been shattered because in order to attend Berkeley, I would have to pay more than $27,000 a year. That is more than what my father makes a year. There is no way on earth that I could afford that much money for my education.” Many students from low-income families like Brenda are being deprived from enriching and contributing to the community. They are not being given the opportunity to become educated and live life to their full potential. Therefore, in order to duplicate Angela Whitiker’s success the government needs to provide education to low-income students because it will help them succeed in life and help fill in highly-skilled occupations.

I also believe a very important key in duplicating Angela’s success is ambition. Dirty little secret #3 “The Ambition Gap” in The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, states that other countries such as India have workers who do the same job at lower wages as Americans, but are more motivated than workers in America. Friedman says, “The secret isn’t just lower wages. It’s also the attitude of workers who take pride and are willing to do what is necessary to succeed, even if it means outsourcing parts production or working on weekends or altering vacation schedules,” (359). This quote illustrates that it is the pride and determination of every individual to be successful in life. Although, due to numerous legal and financial obstacles undocumented students (which account for a great number of high school dropouts) are unable to apply to college. For example according to the article Dream Act Becoming Major Mid-Term Battleground Alex Chavira, an 18 year old high school graduate form neighboring Longmont, Colo., was born in Mexico but attended elementary, middle and high school in Colorado. He now wants to attend college, but says that without some financial help, “it’s like running into a brick wall.”Despite a solid academic background, he said his application to a local community college was denied because of his illegal status. So as you can see the government is decreasing the low income student’s ambition to succeed in life. These individuals work hard to excel through their education years to find out that their road to success has been deferred. If these students have no opportunity of receiving any higher education after high school, then they have no incentive to get a high school diploma. This explains why the Hispanic dropout rate is so high. According to the article Hispanic Dropout Number Soar, “In 2000, approximately 1.56 million U.S. residents were not high school graduates and not enrolled in school. Of the total, nearly 34 percent, or more than 528,000, were Hispanic.” This is why the government needs to provide programs like the Dream Act that would give these individuals the opportunity to continue their education at a college institution and help increase the student ambition to be successful in life.

Parents also play an important role in increasing ambition upon their children to help duplicate Angela Whitaker’s success. For example, Angela did her best to succeed and get her college diploma to prove that it could be done. So that her children could be proud of her and go on to make something of themselves too. Angela Whitiker also pushed and encouraged her children to get a higher education. She let her children know that getting a high school diploma was only the beginning. When her daughter Ishtar graduated Whitiker said, “I’m not going to say that’s good. No, that’s just the beginning. I want her to go to college and have a profession,” (227). So as you can see parents can also contribute a great amount in helping their children succeed in life by encouraging and pushing their children to their fullest potential.

Some people believe that it is all up to the individual and that the government should not provide free services to them. These people argue that with hard work the low working class can move up class divisions or also known as the “boot strapping method.” What these people don’t realize is that many were born in poverty; they didn’t get the same resources or opportunities that middle and upper classes did. They received a poorer education then the richer students. In The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, Dirty little secret #4 “The Education Gap at the Bottom,” talk’s about the public education system. It claims that the wealthiest school districts attract the best teachers, principals and the most demanding parents while the poorest districts attract the weakest teachers, principals and parents who have to work three jobs just to survive. So, wealthier students get an education that reinforces innovation and creativity, where as the poor student’s just get through the basics of education. There are fewer decent jobs for those that are not well educated. Freidman says, “So a poorly funded and staffed high school today is a pathway to a dead end. There is no future down there anymore. Therefore, we have to find a way to educate all of our young people to a very high standard,” (361). If we do not provide low income students with the opportunity to a higher education it will affect our society according to Friedman, “Otherwise, if you don’t upgrade their skills, the only way the low-skilled can compete is by driving down their ways,” (361). Therefore, it would be to our best interest to provide low working individuals with public services to be successful in life because it is impossible without them.

In conclusion, there are many students dropping out of high school from low income families due to the lack of opportunities and resources that they don’t have, but upper class divisions do. Whatever the causes, the nation can no longer afford to have a third of its students leaving school without a diploma. Not only do these individuals suffer but our society as a whole suffers from the dropout epidemic due to loss of productive workers and the higher costs associated with increased incarceration, health care and social services. High school graduates, on the other hand, provide both economic and social benefits to society by filling in the number gap and ambition gap. So, if we want to duplicate Angela’s Whitiker’s success we have to provide individuals with the opportunities that allow them to get back on track and on the road to success by focusing on early education, access to education, and ambition.

Works Cited

Eichstaedt, Peter. “Dream Act Becoming Major Mid-Term Battleground.” ProQuest. 21 Sept. 2006. 25 April. 2008 http://proquest.umi.com.libsrv.yvcc.edu/

Freidman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat. New York: Picador, 2005.

Thomas, Pierre. “Students Dropping Out of High School Reaches Epidemic Levels.” CNN/EDUCATION. 20 Nov. 2007. 19 May. 2008 http://abcnews.go.com/

Wilkerson, Isabel. “Angela Whitiker’s Climb.” Class Matters. New York: Times Books, 2005. 202-233.

Localvores? There's an Ap for that

Localvores using barcode scanners to check their source for food.

Ambition, Drug Cuts and Student Protests

If you think Drug and Alcohol education programs are a good solution to obstacles, things just got a bit harder.

If you are working on how to create a spark, here's an idea from Today's Paper: Young Achievers.

And if you are interested in education costs and visibility of the conditions of the working poor, YVCC and Berkeley have you covered.

Sample Essay AW's Climb

Mr. Peters

English 102

6 March 2008

Up and Out of Poverty:

While sitting in your apartment and studying your bullet-hole ridden dining room table, you realize this is not the life you want to live. So you go to college and try to get a degree, but you aren't able to feed your five children and yourself, pay all the bills, work, and go to college at the same time. This was Angela Whitiker's life; an example of a single, poor mother trying to raise her children and move out of poverty at the same time. There are a few things that the government can do to make it easier for the poor to work their way out of poverty, as well as a few things that society could do to change our culture. However, there are still a few things that are up to the individual for them to work their way out of poverty. Duplicating Angela's success is difficult, but there are a few ways to increase the ability of people to move out of poverty.

Moving out of poverty is ultimately up to the individuals. They themselves have to be the ones to push themselves to work hard to improve themselves so they can move out of poverty. For some of the poor, ambition is a major problem because they don't want to spend the time to improve themselves. "[A] rising number of young Americans in recent years [have] spent their free time watching television and surfing the Internet" (Friedman 354). It would be more beneficial if these people would read and study on their own to better themselves rather than sitting in front of the TV doing nothing. But there are a few that want to move out of poverty and are willing to work towards their goal. Those people, like Angela Whitiker, find that moving out of poverty is very difficult and help from society and the government would be greatly helpful.

The government could make it easier for the poor to work their way out of poverty. According to Class Matters, 39 percent of people who are hired for a job climb their way out of poverty (Muhammad 231). So if the government increased the availability of jobs, such as by hiring poor people for a highway cleanup crew, it would greatly increase the chance of the hired people moving out of poverty. In Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich suggests that the working poor need higher wages just to survive. Today, low wage workers are earning less than they did 27 years ago (Ehrenreich 203). "In the first quarter of 2000, the poorest 10 percent of workers were earning only 91 percent of what they earned in the distant era of Watergate and disco music" (Ehrenreich 203).

However, an increase in the minimum wage is also a double edge sword. The wage increase would immediately benefit the poor and would give them the opportunity to move up in class. On the other hand, it would discourage specialization such as a college degree because the poor would not see a need for a higher education since they would be doing fine without it. Education is very valuable in order to move out of poverty and we should not discourage it by increasing minimum wages. Thirty-five percent of the poor who get at least a two year college degree move out of poverty (Muhammad 231). If more scholarships and grants were awarded to the poor, more of them would rise out of poverty and we would hear more success stories similar to Angela Whitiker's.

In addition, the government could also provide a way for the poor to get affordable child care and housing. For many minimum wage workers, paying for child care and housing is just too much. In Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich mentions how many other countries compensate workers lack of descent wages with benefits such as childcare and affordable housing:

Most civilized nations compensate for the inadequacy of wages by providing relatively generous public services such as health insurance, free or subsidized child care, subsidized housing, and effective public transportation. But the United States, for all its wealth, leaves its citizens to fend for themselves-facing market-based rents, for example on their wages alone. (Ehrenreich 214)

Since the poor have to fend for themselves, there is no way a single mother without any help could get out of poverty. Today, "reliable child care is just too expensive, even for middle class families" (Ehrenreich 214). It's no wonder that it took Whitiker six years to get a two year degree at a community college when she had to constantly take care of her five children. Affordable housing is another major problem of the poor, and for some "[t]he home is a car or a van" (Ehrenreich 214). With government help, the poor could live in actual houses instead of cars, in some cases, and those who want to go to college would be able to in a timely manner because they wouldn't have to constantly take care of their children.

Another way to help the poor move out of poverty is to increase social capital. For the poor, having someone to help share costs is very beneficial. In Whitiker's case, having a husband allowed her to finish her college degree, which led to a better paying job and therefore she moved out of poverty and into the middle class of America. "[O]f poor single mothers who marry, 56 percent are lifted out of poverty" (Muhammad 231). If a poor, single mother is able to marry a supportive husband, there is a good chance that they will move up in class and out of poverty. However, this is not a very common occurrence and should not be heavily relied upon. Only 1.4 percent of poor, single mothers actually get married every year, so if you do the math, only 0.78 percent, or 78 of every 10,000 poor mothers actually get married and move out of poverty every year.

Overall, duplicating Angela Whitiker's success is difficult, and much of the responsibility to move up in class is on themselves. Those of the poor that do desire to work their way out of poverty and chose not to live the low class life find that moving up is incredibly difficult, and the government and society should lend a helping hand to those struggling out of the hole of social disparity. With a helping hand, the poor that are willing can and will move out of poverty and we will have successfully duplicated Angela Whitiker's inspiring success.

Day 39

English 102 Lesson Plan Day 39

  1. Bonus Points from Blog
  2. By the end of the period: 500 words.
    1. What are the obstacles and what are the solutions?
  3. By Friday: 3-5 pages (could include first in-class essay as lead in to solutions). This draft is a final draft and should include direct quotes from the books defining not only the obstacles but the solutions as well. In text and works cited are required. A counter argument is required.
  4. For tomorrow: 4 copies of Rough Draft for peer editing.
  5. Essays returned to 930 class. 1030 class will receive most of their essays by tomorrow. All will be returned by Thursday.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Educational Needs Index

Here's a site that tracks Educational Needs.
Yakima Country ranks 59th (from the bottom) out of 2071 overall and 32nd in Education in particular. (And last year we were 100th. That's right, we've gotten worse. Jeez.)

This is a site that Wilma referenced in class on Friday. And it's really been bugging me all weekend. My first reaction: I've got to get out of this place. My second reaction: Well, if I want to make a difference, this is the place to be.

In any case, it definitely shows us why it's critical to understand Angela Whitiker's situation. We're living in one of the poorest, least educated places in the country and it's up to us to figure out a way to change this.

The three factors drive the ENI model and the variables that make up each factor are:
Educational Factor – Indicators assess the educational capacity of a region’s adult population. Indicators measure the percent of the population with a high school degree, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree, and a measure of the educational attainment gap between younger and older members of the workforce.

Economic Factor - Indicators in this category assess the degree of economic challenges facing counties. Indicators measure the percent of population in poverty, unemployment rates, the existing earnings capacity of residents, and dependence upon manufacturing and extraction jobs.
Population Factor – Indicators assess the present population growth issues facing the county and potential need for increased emphasis on human capital development to address changing demographics. Indicators measure recent and project population growth, population aged 19 and younger as a percent of the total population, population aged 20-44, and the relative size of an area’s at-risk minority population (African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans).

Weekend Links

Immigrant Parents Learn Lessons on Raising Ninos--YHR

Immigrants and Yakima--E Verify

Prosser, the Catholic Church and Affordable Housing: NIMBY.

Meanwhile in Wenatchee, Immigration and Globalization again.

The case for Vocational Education and Community Colleges.

Wine Tasting at Farmer's Markets considered in new bill.