Archive for May, 2011

Media link #3

I found the story of the Orangeburg Massacre to be very interesting, primarily because I had never heard of it before and because it ties in so well with the class this semester. This is a prime example of how political, social, and economic factors tied together to create this tragedy. The town of Orangeburg, South Carolina had two black colleges, a strong middle class African American population base, and a small group of Caucasians holding the power and not wanting to give up any control.

To this day, repeated requests to look into the events and understand what and how things happened have been denied to the victim’s families, to the people and community involved, and to the country as a whole. Perhaps if this inquest had been allowed, Kent State would not have happened. I found it interesting that it was brought up in one of the clips, that non-violent marches and gatherings generally avoided night time get-togethers. This incident happened at night as students were standing around a bonfire. Eight seconds of gun fire by police ended up with twenty-eight people shot, in the backs or sides, and three young men killed. I first posted this video back in Feb, look to my earlier posts for time/date verification.


This article, “The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries” relates to most of us, as we are educators in some format or another. This article also brings up several of the issues that we’ve been exploring in our class this semester – the effects of political, social, and economic decisions on American society since 1945.

Local school boards won’t take the responsibility for underfunding and Principals will run their schools as they see fit to do so. Some better than others, some worse. Teachers are still struggling to be seen as more than glorified clerks and day care providers. The old saying “Those who can’t do, teach” doesn’t help either. In Korea, English is a valuable skill. The teachers teach to the exams and they get paid well for it. Most of the students can read English, many can write, but very few can speak it. Again, it’s what’s emphasized on the exams. Not less than we do here in America, since language study is not a priority for a majority of American students. Simply an example of how a subject is taught and why the teachers get paid more for it.

Education is one of those sacred cow areas that not only are a States Rights rallying cry, but also a Local autonomy lightning rod for politicians. We are stuck with a highly decentralized teaching profession where the nearest thing to a national standard is an exam used by the teachers union to certify teachers for basic standards. Not a Federal exam or standard, a private national organization, which then allows a teacher to get a state license to teach. Politically we are stuck with this decentralized model, with a few states setting the standards by default such as TX, NY and CA because of Textbook sales (i.e. $$$$). It’s those state boards of educations which have the greatest influence on what content makes it into textbooks and how it’s presented. The system is ass backwards in that sense.

I found this story to be interesting, as it showcased Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine.  He had been interviewed by a play producer, who was creating a play about the Green Book and life for African Americans during segregation.  As a teenager, he traveled 1,000 miles with his mother and aunt, to attend his sister’s college graduation.  It was apparent how African Americans needed a product like the Green Book.  Restaurants, motels, and other establishments that were open-minded to service African Americans were listed.

The Green Book was first published in 1936 and started with coverage in the south but grew to cover all fifty states and encompassed doctors, beauty salons, and other services that African American travelers needed in a segregated society.  Information that the Green Book provided helped offer a sense of safety and helped avoid humiliation and possibly injury to those traveling in unfamiliar areas.  I posted the original link back in February….look for the time/date stamp of approval.