Purpose: Using language everyday over and over again creates belief systems that may or may not be true. In order to be proactive members in a socially just society, it is necessary to examine the words that are used to describe institutions of learning and the people who inhabit them. (Think critically about issues, Reflect on practice, Know content, Demonstrate habits of mind.)

Read the pdf chapter by Oakes (Chapter 3) from Quality education as a constitutional right. After you have read the Chapter, consider, read through the guidelines and address the questions. The papers and news outlets, politicians, general people of society are constantly berating public schools. Words like: “failing, failure, disaster, reform, fix, terrible” are used. Students will describe what a failing school looks like. The student will be a detailed as possible, from the building to the classrooms. Consider the following:  What does a “failing” building look like?  Who occupies the school?  What does the neighborhood look like?  What about the books? Desks? Walls? Windows?  What does it mean to be a “failing school”?  Why is a school failing or constantly failing? Additionally, consider the repercussions of using the word “failing” to consistently describe something. What are the implications for policy makers? For neighborhoods? For parents? For communities? Address these questions and any others that are relevant in a written response that is indicative of college level work.

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