Welcome to my Blog



Essay 2: First Draft

In America we are privileged enough to have free education from kindergarten until twelfth grade. In many countries across the globe children and young adults are forced to work as laborers and some people never learn to read or write. Our fundamental access to education creates opportunity for successful futures. Personally I view education as an opportunity not an obligation. In general education can present a way for people from all different ethnicities, social standings, genders, and religious beliefs to possibly achieve an equal level knowledge.  In my own point of view education is the opportunity to create a successful life and a way to master and conquer your dreams, it is a tool to help construct the type of life one desires.

In the midst of economic and political issues I think the purpose of education is being guided away from its original intent. Education was originally meant to provide people with knowledge about their relationship with the world around them and within themselves. Recently the Depart of Education has been concerned mostly with funds and the circulation of money in school districts. The quality of education becomes lowered as budget cuts rids schools of helpful extracurricular activities. Teachers who are arguably one of the most influential people in a person’s life can get laid off. Inner city schools feel the effect off this the most since they already have meager funds they are more at a disadvantage for programs that won’t necessarily benefit them in the future and be used as tools for success. Jonathan Kozol mentioned in his piece “Still Separate, Still Unequal America’s Educational Aparatheid”  that less wealthy schools are being stuck with more restrictions for creative methods of teaching. Students are subjected to strict teaching regimes that lack the room for creativity. Classes that do not benefit students who have high objectives are forced upon them based on what society deems appropriate according to their social standing. For example in the Kozol piece he also mentions a young black girl he was conversing with said the “…requirement met by courses that were basically vocational and obviously keyed to low-paying level of employment.” (Kozol, 655)  In comparison wealthier communities require challenging and useful  classes that will help students in the future. Education has become a system keeping  low-income students  within their own social class by enforcing vocational classes and keeps wealthier students within their elite class. Instead of bridging the gap and having educational programs that offers every single person the same thing we have created programs that reduce equality.

The question thus becomes how do we mold education back into what it was originally meant to be. How does education stay a pathway of success for those pursuing a meaningful career? According to Paulo Freire in his piece “The Banking Concept of Education” education needs to shift away from the  concept that promotes  a transferring of a teachers knowledge into a student that requires no cognition. Problem-posing education “…breaks with the vertical pattern of characteristic of banking education can fulfill its function as the practice of freedom…”(Freire 7). There is a viable solution to help restore the quality of education and it will take the community and the government to refine  the way we present education.

Personally I have always valued education I think the intent in ensuring that every citizen has the chance to pursue goals and dreams no matter who they are is extraordinary. Education is especially important in our society in which knowledge is highly valued. Jean Anyon author of  “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work” describes how schools differ by the social status of the student. This puts lower-income students at a disadvantage at excelling into classes that wealthier students have already been accustomed to. I think the distribution of funds needs to be given out more equally among schools to ensure that all schools no matter the social status so that all student are being taught fairly. How can anyone be expected to pursue their dreams when what is supposed to be a directed pathway presents obstacles at every turn?

Education and the influence of teachers has helped me obtain admission to this University. I was pushed and fortunately had some very helpful counselors that encouraged me to apply to more prestigious colleges. Some people are not as lucky as I am simply due to which class and what financial standing they fall under. I think that education could use a reform because it is really important in highlighting a clear purpose for people. It helps strips our character and talents down so that we can much more easily find what we excel at and are meant to do. College education is also very important because it becomes the definitive measure that closes the gap between dream careers and reality. If many inner-city students do not get help to reach the level of their wealthier peers than the purpose of education education has failed.

College education is important for jobs but it is also a way in which our own social and moral beliefs are tried and tested and it molds us into adults. There is constant feedback between students, peers, and professors which stretches are small scope of reality and perception. Not only does education regard potential careers it also entails a wide variety of learning how to interact socially with large bodies of people. It is a preparation for creating and maintaining relationships with people and using those relationships to hep create a successful life.

While college education is extremely important it is also unattainable to many. College education is increasingly expensive and at most times low-income families cannot afford to pay for their progeny to attend school. There is financial aid that helps to put off the wave of debt for the immediate four years but then comes rushing back. Also college education is not readily available for undocumented people. Those who might have traveled to America in seek of a better opportunity receive no financial assistance but are typically in the lowest income bracket.

We are a nation founded on immigration. We affirm ourselves by promoting the idea that we are accepting to all races. We fought a whole civil war and had a civil rights movement to promote equality and yet we offer very minimal support for those who are coming to America in hopes of opportunity, equality, and success. I think that we are promoting disillusionment until we are proactive in firmly supporting undocumented students to pursue a higher education.

Questions: Americans at Heart

  • The novel mentioned that a majority of the population who are undocumented citizens are from Mexico, Latin America, and Asia. How does the process of applying for citizenship and gaining legal status differ among different ethnicites of people coming to America?
  • How are undocumented children suppose to pursue college if they cannot get any financial aid benefits yet the majority of undocumented parents are earning the lowest incomes?
  • How can we reverse the social stigma concerning immigrants and the idea that their legal status confines them to a certain social identity?

Kozol Response

Raquel Sweeney
Writing 2

Kozol Response

In Kozol’s piece about the apartheid in the American education system he describes the unfair differences in education between the typical elite white class and the the more impoverished inner city schools. Though, we like to make the claim that we have succeeded racial discrimination we still live in a deeply segregated world. We live in a world where only a small percent of  elite schools are truly racially diverse. We live under the identity of equality for every and yet the educational system still confines those in the lower class to have a minimal opportunity to succeed compared to wealthier white citizens. It is observable all over California in the lack of resources for African American and Hispanic students in poorer areas. Even when these underrepresented minorities are integrated into suburban schools there is still a lack of resources and opportunity. In my own experience I lived in a mostly white suburban neighborhood and went to a predominately wealthy high school. There was a huge gap between the rich and the poorer students that was obvious. A student who has to ride the city bus every day could very likely be sitting next to a student who drives a Mercedes Benz and the very newest edition of the Iphone. I personally  know the struggle when it comes to lacking the resources to compete with the wealthier students. I knew people who could take three hundred dollar classes to prepare them for standardized tests or who had enough money to eat out every day when many students like myself could barely afford gas. The low percentage of Hispanic and African American students in my school was  startling. In my whole high school career there must have been no more than fifteen African American students that shared a class with me and less than forty Hispanic students. That is the span of four years of highschool with six different classes per year. In addition to the lack of diversity there had always been a rivalry between my high school and the less wealthy more predominantly African American and Latino high schools. Our school was known for having the highest exam scores, the most admittance into Ivy League schools, and collegiate sports. Mostly everyone in my senior class graduated from high school after endless assemblies and classes that prompted students to do well.  l I would always hear rumors or stories about schools with less money from friends that a good majority of students did not graduate high school or were pregnant. Our over glorified competition of who performed better on standardized tests were not uncommon. The principals and teachers would pump up our school’s ego and quite literally reward us for being better than other schools in our district, instilling an implicit discrimination against other schools and students. We claim to be advocates of equality and we prize education more than anything else but in our own hypocrisy we confine those who are minorities, those with low economic standing, and those of unconventional genders to a less fortuitous life because they are not given the same opportunity to succeed. I agree with Kozol that we need to start changing sou still segregated educational system to truly call ourselves the land of opportunity, equality, freedom and success.

Freire Response

Raquel Sweeney
Freire Response

How Education Affects Us

Freire describes the situation of how education has become normalized into a concept of one person having power or influence over another with no mutualistic benefit. Once one group attains absolute control or knowledge the minority group then becomes oppressed. As Freire explains society’s educational system he mentions how students become a dumping ground for a teacher’s knowledge without reciprocation from student. Questions are subdued and students are taught to believe what the mentor tells them.

Freire explains the normalcy of the banking concept into today’s educational system. The banking concept is when an elite group say teachers bestow knowledge upon those they believe are completely ignorant. The concept creates a contradiction in that typically the roles of student and teachers and interchangeable, whereas the banking concept describes the situation of only one group of people giving something to someone whom they believe did not previously know that. The educational system as Freire describes it prepares students for a world where their dreams are limited and societal norms are oppressive rather than encouraging students to reject questionable societal constructs. The banking concept excludes diversity of the mind. When students are taught and there is no questioning of a teacher’s beliefs different point of views are minimized.

The goal thus becomes changing and liberating education. There needs to be a shift from the transferring of knowledge to a inquiring mindset. Rather than teachers, mentors, and professors simply pouring out an abundance of information there needs to become a way in which students interact with the information given. To free our socially constructed idea of education students as well as teachers need to actively participate in a dialogue with one another and transfer knowledge and information that way. When there is only one participant in the exchange of knowledge, creative inhibition is forced into a box. It also less likely that students truly understand the content or material that the professor is teaching. Freire mentions that there becomes a lack of cognition an actual questioning and intricate understanding of material.

Freire suggests to liberate restricted education we should divert our attention and methods of teaching toward problem-solving education. This means that the sharing of knowledge must become inclusive. The only practical way in which we can change the way we interact and share knowledge is to change our fundamental notions of our relationship within the world and with other people.

Our mindset needs to change from viewing things as impossible to merely viewing them as challenging. Education should be malleable molded to instruct and at the same time to provide understanding. It is of the utmost importance to make the world aware of the limitations

of our current banking concept that we may change the system so that it benefits both the student and teacher.

When I was in tenth grade I had a math teacher that had a very authoritarian point of view of teaching. It was her way and no other way to learn math we were told to soak up the information and that questioning would not help us understand. We were supposed to sponge up all bits of information expected to understand with no way to question or retaliate against concepts that did not make sense. I remember trying to ask questions because I could not conceptually understand why rational functions were needed in my day to day life. I could not understand the significance or impact they were supposed to have on me. I was often embarrassed when the teacher would get angry with me for not understanding the ideas after she had explained it several times. I was forced into not asking or proposing a more helpful method of teaching. Tutoring was not provided and I was left to fight and understand opinions about math that I did not share. I was taught that questioning the teacher meant being disrespectful and a challenge to authority. I think even now in some ways the banking concept of education is limiting in college. Ironically in classes that expect you to voice your opinion with no concrete answer have controversy. Professors expect that their own beliefs are shared and if questioned your own right answer becomes wrong.

There is a fundamental shift that needs to happen in the educational system. It is reinforced in society that education and knowledge is one of the most important and highly

praised thing that we have. It is contradictory to value something as much as we do without making it inclusive by having a mutual understanding between the student and the teacher.  


Raquel Sweeney
April 2, 2016

I have always been fond of writing it has been a friend in troubled times. I do consider myself a writer because I believe that written word is one of the most powerful methods of evoking change. Anything with such a huge impact in molding the way people think is something I want to be a part of. My favorite type of writing is poetry because I think that poetry can mimic the emotional response of the poet in people who may never have experienced what the poet has. While poetry is my favorite type of written word I also enjoy researching scholarly topics and analyzing them. I am passionate about using writing to fight for social justice and under represented groups of people. I think that in both personal writing and academic writing I still lack the skills to be a clear, concise, and intriguing writer. Sometimes I find it difficult to manipulate what is going on in my head in a way where other people can clearly understand what I am thinking and what my viewpoints, beliefs, and opinions are. I am hoping that this course will help me refine my skills so that i may be a proficient university writer.

I think my writing started when I first learned how to read. I love books and the way they provide solace and comfort. So when I was younger after reading a book I would mimick authors and create stories of my own. They were typically of brave men and women who had to fight to create change. I think this also relates to why I write in my youngest years I wrote to enact change and to fight for justice for my imaginary characters. I still write for that same purpose, to encourage and work towards equality, to fight for basic rights, and to encourage man to be kind to others; only now I have replaced my imaginary characters will real groups of people and situations.

I want to challenge and change  societal norms through my writing. I want to elicit a change in the way we treat minorities, people with disorders, people who are different from what media decides we want .

I would indeed, describe myself as a thinker and a writer because I think that to be a writer one also has to be a thinker. It is ideas, critical thinking, passions, and opinions that encourage people to write and to make their ideas known.  I think it is in the way someone uses their opinions and knowledge of a topic distinguishes a difference in the style of writing between academic and creative thought. To me an academic or scholarly paper is crafted when someone uses reputable sources to validate one’s own argument with the intention to discuss a realistic topic. On the opposite side I think a creative text is often the product of someone using their own individual expression to address in a different perspective. I think talented writers are able to intermix creative writing and academic writing. I am hoping that through this class I will be able to reach that level of balance where I can create logical papers while also presenting readers with a fresh mindset.   

I think as I have gained experience with writing throughout my academic career my attitude towards writing has been molded into what it is today. I think the influence of peers and teachers have also shaped my views toward the  importance of writing. When I was younger I knew writing to be mostly fiction books. Writing to me back then was a form of escape from a boring and at times very harsh world. I still do believe writing offers an escape, but I think especially now writing is most powerful with the intention to change the world for the better. I have come to appreciate writers who speak on behalf of minorities and write to educate others about the lack of basic human rights that certain groups of people experience.

I have learned that in any type of writing it is very valuable to plan and create several drafts until a final polished draft is created. It also very important as a writer to have papers peer reviewed. I have found that other people can catch mistakes more efficiently than I can after I have been working on paper for a long time. My process usually starts with me free writing my ideas and then piece by piece editing and molding it into a first draft. After I have a first draft written I like to go to tutoring and get suggestions on where my writing could be stronger or how I could present my ideas in a more clear way. After tutoring I begin to  craft my final draft then I have peers review my papers and converse with them on my grammar and ideas and use their suggestions. After peer reviews I go back to tutoring to see if my paper meet academic expectations and based on further suggestions I turn in my finalized paper.

I think that overall writing is very important in expressing individual beliefs and opinions as well as educating people of a broad range of topics. In my personal opinion everyone has the ability to use  all different types of writing to change and challenge our conventional societal views. Writing connects people, educates people, and changes the world I want to  consistently better myself as a writer where I can use writing to affect people in a positive way.