Tag Archives: Curriculum

Famous Speeches and Speech Topics

Famous Speeches and Speech Topics

This website includes extracts, passages or lines from speeches by famous motivational speakers such as politicians, presidents, sportsmen, royalty and other influential people from many different walks of life. The Famous Speeches and Speech Topics include interesting motivational, persuasive and inspirational speeches. The text to the Famous Speeches and Speech Topics by famous Motivational Speakers are free and provide useful information on a variety of subjects.

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Becoming a Multicultural Educator: Developing Awareness, Gaining Skills, and Taking Action (Howe & Lisi)

So excited, finally, after years of work on it, our textbook on multicultural education is due to be published by SAGE in January of 2013 – Becoming a Multicultural Educator: Developing Awareness, Gaining Skills, and Taking Action (Howe & Lisi).

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Tiger Moms and the Model Minority Myth

from Rethinking Schools
Summer 2011

Some months ago, Yale law professor Amy Chua wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that set off a media and cultural firestorm. Titled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” the piece’s outlandish assertions about Asian immigrant parenting hit the requisite rounds on the 24-hour news cycle. Though the media chatter was nonstop for weeks, what was not adequately addressed is Chua’s calculated exploitation of a pernicious stereotype that has had deep impact on youth—particularly youth of color—in our schools: the model minority stereotype of the superhuman Asian student.

The “model minority” stereotype promotes the idea that Asian youth will succeed academically under any circumstance because they have families at home that push them toward academic excellence, because Asians understand and support the U.S. system of education, because Asians have access to more resources than others, and because they are resilient and can withstand any manner of abuse. Asian students supposedly have parents who are a relentless and constant presence in their children’s lives, who demand academic excellence and support nonstop tutoring and music—even on vacations.

As Chua explains:

Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish, and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it.

Chua boasts about the impact of her extreme parenting style—crackdowns, punishments, prohibitions, and verbal abuse. Whether intentionally or not, she plays to the “zero tolerance” and “race to the top” mentality that has driven much of the recent remaking of inner-city schools.

The model minority stereotype implies that Asian Americans are a docile group with a pull yourself up by the bootstraps culture—a group that doesn’t need services or much political or cultural attention and resources. It’s a message that creates and widens divisions between Asian Americans and other people of color. The model minority narrative reinforces “personal responsibility” and “culture of poverty” interpretations of low achievement that often blame African American and Latino students and their families for the impact of racism and poverty on learning and school climate. By implying that one set of students’ moral and cultural values can overcome any obstacle, it implicitly condemns other students of color for allegedly failing to have the moral and cultural resources to do the same.

For Asian students, the impact is just as damaging. This stereotype is often at the heart of the denial of a host of educational services from language services to lack of testing for special education, counseling services, and multiracial ethnic studies in schools. The U.S. Supreme Court case supporting bilingual education, Lau vs. Nichols (1972), was a hard-fought battle by Asian community advocates contesting arguments against offering English language and bilingual services based on biased assumptions that Asian youth can learn English quickly.

Consider these challenges:
•Mental health counseling services are notoriously lacking for Asian communities. After all, why provide such services when Asians are so successful in school?
•Tutoring assistance? Special ed placement? College advisory? Aren’t Asians “overrepresented” in colleges?
•Curricula? Why bother to teach Asian American history when Asians assimilate so well?
Stereotypes of Asians as the model minority have triggered informal quotas in higher education and the neglect of racial harassment and violence in schools. For example, at South Philadelphia High School, school officials ignored repeated attacks against Asian immigrant students, forcing a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against the school district for unlawful discrimination and civil rights violations against Asian youth. In numerous instances, district officials implied that language programs for Asian youth were special privileges. The school’s principal called advocacy around stopping racial violence an “Asian agenda.” In public testimony, Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman equated non-English-speaking, recently arrived immigrant youth at the school to Asian youth at an elite magnet high school, implying that the immigrant youth didn’t need specialized services as much as they needed to “integrate” and blend in with their classmates.

As a parent, Amy Chua has every right to her memoirs and her child-rearing style. The problem is that the mainstream media—with Chua’s complicity—has seized on and sensationalized a racialization of Chua’s life. It’s ridiculous to make the assumption that Chua, a second-generation Yale law professor with wealth and privilege, represents the lives of all Asian immigrant parents; meanwhile, the complex lived realities of Asian immigrants in the United States are ignored.

There’s nothing in the dialogue around the Tiger Mom debate that talks about an immigrant parent’s 12-plus-hour workdays or children left home alone to look after themselves. There’s nothing about racial alienation and cultural dissonance, about extreme poverty or the mental health and social problems—domestic violence, addiction, and depression—within many recent immigrant families. There’s no mention of the vast differences in academic achievement and educational experience of ethnic subgroups within the broad category of Asian America. Among women ages 15 to 24 in the United States, Asian Americans have the highest suicide rate of any race or ethnic group; suicide is the second leading cause of death for Asian American women in that age range.

These are sobering statistics for all educators to consider.

At the end of the day, Chua’s essay says more about a hypercompetitive, wealthy, elitist mom seeking to one-up everyone else than it does about raising children to live in a complicated world. And for educators who buy into that line, it’s our students who will likely live with the consequences.


Helen Gym is a parent activist and board member of Asian Americans United, where she works on education and immigration issues. She is also a board member of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, where this article first appeared, and an editorial associate of Rethinking Schools.

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Imperial army war vet haunted by horrors in China

Imperial army war vet haunted by horrors in ChinaBy NATSUKO FUKUE
Staff writer
23rd in a series

Repentant executioner: Ichiro Koyama is pictured in his Imperial army uniform. COURTESY OF ICHIRO KOYAMA
Ichiro Koyama’s schedule is filled with lectures, talks and interviews. The 88-year-old, a former soldier in the Imperial Japanese Army stationed in Jinan, Shandong Province in China, believes he has a duty to pass on his war experiences to younger generations.

“I’m old now. This may be my last chance to tell what really happened,” Koyama said in a recent interview with The Japan Times, adding that the war turned him into a monster who didn’t hesitate to kill.

Koyama was working at an ironworks when he was drafted at age 20 and five days later shipped off to Qingtao, China. He later moved to Jinan, which a major general said was enemy territory.

“He gave us five bullets, saying four were for fighting the enemy and one was for killing ourselves,” Koyama recalled. “I had been a salaryman the week before, and the first thing I learned on the battlefield was how to commit suicide.”

One of Koyama’s most terrible experiences was being taught how to execute Chinese civilian prisoners.

One day, Koyama saw seven or eight Chinese men from a village in Zaozhuang, Shandong Province, blindfolded and tied to trees. They were being punished because they would not reveal the location of the Chinese Red Army. Seasoned soldiers ordered the green recruits to execute them for not cooperating.

“I was scared to kill a man at first,” Koyama said. “I felt much guiltier killing someone with a bayonet than with a pistol from 100 meters away.”

With his comrades, he tried to pierce a man’s heart, but was unable to because the victim kept squirming to avoid being stabbed.

Koyama eventually bayoneted the man in the stomach and shoulders. After his first killing, he said he was unable to eat. But eventually he started training new recruits to also execute their prisoners, justifying his actions by arguing he had no choice because it was war.

Ichiro Koyama
See bottom of the story to view video segments of the interview with Koyama.
“It was hell,” he said. “I still cannot forget their blood spraying.”

Koyama said the new recruits, by this process, also got used to killing. However, one comrade, who used to teach traditional Japanese dance, committed suicide because he could not bear it.

The teacher missed training one night, saying he was sick. Koyama told him to rest and left on a two-hour exercise. As soon as he returned, a commander told them the man had killed himself while they were away.

The commander decided to report his suicide as death in battle because a suicide during training would be dishonorable. “He was a kind man. He could not become a monster,” Koyama said.

Koyama was mainly involved in patrolling towns the Imperial army had captured, but in 1944, his unit was caught in a firefight with the Chinese army in a village of Shandong Province.

It was a surprise evening attack on a farm field that offered no place to hide. As far as Koyama can recall, seven or eight fellow soldiers died and more than 10 were wounded in the attack.

Koyama remembers it took several hours to cremate his fallen comrades, and he found it horrifying to think he himself might be turned to ashes one day soon.

On Aug. 15, 1945, he received word of the Imperial army’s surrender while he was in Hamhung in what is now North Korea, preparing to fight the Soviet army. Koyama said he felt relieved he no longer had to face death on the battlefield.

However, he and his comrades were captured by the Soviets a few days after the war ended and he was kept in Soviet and Chinese prison camps for 10 years.

The five years he was held in the Soviet Union, most of which he spent working in coal mines, were especially tough, he said. He was always starving and ate anything he could, even dandelion leaves. Others who were there were so hungry they mistook bricks dropped on the ground for loaves of bread.

“All I did there was count the days until I returned to Japan,” Koyama said.

In 1950, he was transferred to Fushun, Liaoning Province, in China. Although he was interned there for five years as a war criminal, he said he was grateful for the good treatment he received. The Chinese fed him three meals a day, unlike the Soviets.

“I used to be prejudiced against the Chinese . . . but I received good treatment in China. My attitude changed.”

While imprisoned in China, Koyama said he gradually became aware of the tragedy and suffering the war caused and regretted what he did to the Chinese.

When put on a military trial in Shenyang, he realized he was trembling, even though he felt ready to accept whatever penalty was meted out, Koyama said. After being told he would be freed, he cried and bowed to the judge.

“We must not resort to war to solve our problems,” said Koyama, who is well-versed in world news and domestic politics. Since Barack Obama was inaugurated U.S. president, he said he hopes the world will become more peaceful.

“We need to pursue real peace, and that means to cherish each person’s life.”

In this occasional series, we interview firsthand witnesses of Japan’s march to war and its ensuing defeat who wish to pass on their experiences to younger generations.

WITNESS TO WAR WITNESS TO WAR Recalling Nagasaki’s fateful day JUN HONGO WITNESS TO WAR Veteran sheds hatred, finds Japan now like second home TAKAHIRO FUKADA WITNESS TO WAR Finding Papua war dead a vet’s life DAVID McNEILL WITNESS TO WAR Women’s postwar triumph recalled AKEMI NAKAMURA WITNESS TO WAR Richie offers history lesson TAKAHIRO FUKADA WITNESS TO WAR War trauma leads to efforts to reconcile JUN HONGO WITNESS TO WAR Survivor still haunted by night’s fiery terror JUN HONGO WITNESS TO WAR War exacts top toll on bottom echelons: vet TAI KAWABATA WITNESS TO WAR Aug. 13 field draftee fast-tracked to Soviet gulag JUN HONGO
The Japan Times: Thursday, April 9, 2009

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An excerpt from Heart Mountain introductory film “All We Could Carry”

The Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and commemoration of the site where nearly 14,000 Japanese Americans were confined during World War II.

The Foundation’s ongoing efforts to teach the lessons embodied
by the historical site represent a collaboration between citizens of
Wyoming, scholars, former internees and their descendants, and
interested supporters from throughout the United States. Together,
we are working to build a world-class facility that will become a
center for education, policy, and research on the internment experience.

(Ficklin Media Note:As a general question, I have heard various
explanations about why Japanese American were sent to internment
camps and why German Americans and Italian Americans were not
during World War 2. Part of my brain can digest the explanations
but there still a large part of my body-politic brain that rejects
and throws up when presented with various “answers.”)

….. read more

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chinese workers “excised” out of amc’s transcontinental railroad drama hell on wheels

Aug 4, 2011

chinese workers “excised” out of amc’s transcontinental railroad drama hell on wheels

Last week, TV critics got a look at AMC’s upcoming original series Hell on Wheels, an epic historical drama about the building of the Transcontinental Railraod and the tent city that moved along the railroad as it was built. That sounds pretty cool. That sounds like an interesting story I’d like to see.

Now, we all know that Chinese immigrant workers were a major part of the labor force that helped build the railroad. It would make perfect sense for Chinese characters to have a presence in this show. Right? Right?


Surprise, surprise. There are no Chinese immigrant characters in the series. Somehow, they’ve been conveniently dropped from this side of the story. When pressed by critics on this point, the show’s producers danced all around the answer: AMC at a loss for words over ‘The Killing,’ ‘Hell on Wheels’.

“The genesis of the railroad started in the East,” said Tony Gayton, taking a whack at the question, which, to refresh your memory as we travel further and further down the Gayton Family Rabbit Hole, was, “Why no Chinese characters?”

“It was Abraham Lincoln’s idea, and we’ve likened it to JFK, you know, saying, ‘We are going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade,’ ” Tony Gayton prattled on merrily.

“And it was very similar. So it just seemed a good starting point.”

But, he promised, “The Central Pacific will be a hint in the show. I mean, we will know that they are out there, building.”

“Having said that, we did write the Central Pacific into the pilot,” Joe Gayton jumped back in, sensing the explanation was not going over as well as might be hoped.

“And people asked us if we were insane, if we were trying to get both of the stories – service both of the stories – in a one-hour pilot. So they ended up getting excised.”

Long story short, the Chinese were “excised” from the story. Hey, just like a history book! Yet another middle finger to the historical contributions of Chinese Americans, dating all the way back when. As usual, thanks Hollywood.

It’s kind of fitting, like a modern cable network version of that famous photo taken at Promotory Summit, commemorating the completion of the railroad in 1869. It is said that dignitaries did not invite Chinese workers to the official ceremony. We’re talking about men and worked their asses off and died for the construction of this railroad. They’re not in the photo either.

Hell on Wheels, and its invisible Chinese workers, premieres November 6 on AMC.

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Four Reasons Why Finland’s School Are Better than Ours

America’s latest school report card jump-started yet another wave of panic that our students will never be able to compete on the world stage.The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s release of its annual Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, an international comparison of educational performance, placed U.S. kids in the incredibly average group.  

But aside from the fear that our children won’t one day earn enough to prop up our Social Security/Medicare entitlements, the report wasn’t quite a death knell for the public school system.

America’s kids didn’t flunk. Where countries like England, France and Sweden are mired in mediocrity with no signs of improvement, the U.S. posted modest gains.

What’s most interesting about the PISA report, and important for the public school reformers here to focus on, is Finland.

Finland As A Model

Once again, Finnish students topped the PISA report card, but what makes this information worth scrutinizing is that 25 years ago Finland’s school system sat in the same predicament that public schools in the U.S. find themselves now. The Finns scored below average in math and science and had alarming achievement gaps between urban and affluent schools versus poor and rural schools.

So what did the Finns do?

 They began scrutinizing the education policies and practices of more successful countries, took what worked, ignored that which went against the grain and built an educational system where today there is virtually no academic difference among socio-economic groups. Children in Finland can attend school anywhere in the country and be assured of the same quality of education.

The Exact Opposite

 Not surprising to me, as a former teacher, is that Finland reformed its schools and rose to the top by doing almost the exact opposite of what reformers like Secretary of State Arne Duncan and Bill Gates would have Americans believe is the only cure for our ailing schools.

Despite the differences in our countries’ make-ups, (America is far more diverse and has a child poverty rate that is four times higher than Finland) they have much to teach us.

What Did Finland Do?

 First, no child in Finland ever takes a standardized test. The only test a Finnish student takes is the one that determines if he/she will go on to university. In addition, standardized tests are not used to measure teaching ability or to compare schools. Parents, teachers and students assess progress and effectiveness of schools. Any comparison assessment relies on sample-based learning tests, which are low-stakes because the data is simply used in research to determine what works and what doesn’t. The Finns believe that education is a process, not a game to be won or lost.

 Second, Finland put time and money into elevating the teaching profession. Parents and politicians regard teachers in the same manner they do doctors. In fact, the Finns trust schools more than any other institution except the police.

 Teachers come into the profession with advanced degrees and they work with autonomy. Teachers are key players in determining curriculum and assessment, which might explain why the teaching profession attracts the best and brightest. After all, who wants to go into a profession where it is assumed you graduated in the bottom half of your class and couldn’t get into any other discipline at university?

 Third, administrators from principals to school superintendents are all former teachers. No one is allowed to oversee the education of Finnish children in any role who hasn’t the educational training and experience. There are no exceptions. The idea that a business person or politician, who never taught, understands the learning process or should be in charge of reform would puzzle a Finn.

Fourth, Finland does not promote the idea of educating its young as a competition. Schools work in tandem and cooperation is the rule rather than the freakish exception. Interestingly, Shanghai – whose students bested Finland in math and science this year – also shuns the competitive model of school reform. In Shanghai, low performing schools are paired with and mentored by high performing ones with the emphasis on sharing techniques that work. Closing schools and firing teachers is simply not a choice.

What Could Americans Do?

How can American education reform benefit from Finland’s success?

First by admitting that what amounts to reform here isn’t “best practices” in the most academically successful countries in the world. When Finland began its reform, it took some cues from the United States but ignored those things that were fads or had no compelling long term data to support their effectiveness.

Perhaps it’s time that those who wish to make a difference in educating American children admitted that what we are doing is the same things over and over in slightly different packaging, and it isn’t working.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/four-reasons-finland-s-schools-are-better-than-ours.html#ixzz1QNnPAE8J

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We Are One: Remembering Martin Luther King’s Struggle for Labor Rights

Published on Truthout (http://www.truth-out.org)

We Are One: Remembering Martin Luther King’s Struggle for Labor Rights

Monday 4 April 2011

by: Michael Honey , History News Network [3]

Martin Luther King Jr. on the march to Montgomery, 1965. (Photo: Eliel [4])

“It is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.  And I need not remind you this is our plight as a people all over America.” – Martin Luther King in Memphis, March 18, 1968

April 4 marks forty-three years since an assassin killed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis.  That date has special meaning this year.

“We Are One” events all over the U.S. are fighting for collective bargaining rights, and more broadly, a reversal of the current priorities and direction of events.  The connection of today’s union rights battle to King’s legacy is clear.  The strike of Memphis sanitation workers revolved around Mayor Henry Loeb’s refusal to grant collective bargaining rights and union dues collection.

These are the same rights that Governor Scott Walker just took away from public employees in Wisconsin.  Like Loeb, he knows this is a good way to kill a union.  Who would choose to belong to and pay dues to a union that cannot represent them at the bargaining table?

People across the country today are protesting the Republican attempts to utterly destroy the unions.  They are virtually the only group that still has the power to stand up against the power of organized money.

King supported unions from his earliest college days and called them the “first anti-poverty program.”  Unions provided King with staunch allies and provided his greatest financial support in the Montgomery bus boycott, the Birmingham movement, the March on Washington, and other battles.

Mainly because of King’s sacrifice, the sanitation workers in Memphis won their strike.  Their union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), now represents millions of government workers, including many African Americans workers in the District of Columbia.  Unionists regard King as an honorary member and practically a founder of AFSCME.

That’s exactly the union Republicans want to kill. AFSCME and a few other large unions provide the only major counter weight to corporate money in elections.  Kill the unions, and you cripple the Democrats and the ability of working-class folks to resist the political power of organized money.

While the Arab world struggles in pro-democracy movements, we in the U.S. are struggling to keep the union rights that King and others died to achieve.  Unions are an endangered species, as they were in Memphis before King came to that city.  Those of us rallying today feel we are making King’s legacy real in our own lives.  And we feel Americans need to reframe their understanding of King and his legacy.

Many think of King as purely a civil rights leader.  In addition, we need to recognize his fierce advocacy of labor rights and economic justice.  A child of the depression, King always expressed solidarity with poor people.  They included his neighbors, his parishioners, and his family.  His father fled sharecropping and arrived in Atlanta with only a few dollars; his grandparents had worked hard laboring jobs; three of his great-grand parents were slaves.

King was not only a leader for civil rights, which he called “phase one” of the freedom movement.  “We Are One” demonstrations on April 4 remember King’s launch of “phase two,” his Poor People’s Campaign demanding a shift in government priorities from warfare and tax cuts for the rich to creating jobs and enhancing health care, housing and education.

King had been on this path for a long time, speaking at union meetings all over the country.  He told the Illinois AFL-CIO in 1965, “It is a constitutional right for a man to be able to vote, but the human right to a decent house is as categorically imperative and morally absolute as was that constitutional right.  It is not a constitutional right that men [and women] have jobs, but it is a human right.”

King also warned the AFL-CIO at its national convention in 1961 that an alliance of business and right wing politicians in the future would threaten “everything decent and fair in American life.”  They are doing it now.

On this April 4, we should remember King’s words to the Memphis sanitation workers:  “All labor has dignity… You are going beyond purely civil rights to questions of human rights.”  There is no better time than the present to follow King’s lead and stand up for the rights of working and poor people.

Michael Honey is editor of King’s labor speeches, “All Labor Has Dignity” (Beacon) and author of “Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike: Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign” (Norton).

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The Most Dangerous Man in America Teaching Guide

The Most Dangerous Man in America Teaching Guide

Teaching Activities. Zinn Education Project. 2010. 100 pages.
Eight lessons for use with the documentary film about Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers, the Vietnam War, and whistleblowing.

Download Teaching Guide PDF.

This 100-page teaching guide, prepared by the Zinn Education Project for middle school, high school, and college classrooms, enhances student understanding of the issues raised in the award winning film, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.

The film and teaching guide are ideal resources for students trying to understand the news about WikiLeaks today. Through the story of Daniel Ellsberg, students can explore the type of information revealed by whistleblowers, the risks and motivations of whistleblowers, and the tactics used to silence whisteblowers. As Daniel Ellsberg said: “EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”

Not only does The Most Dangerous Man in America Teaching Guide offer a “people’s history” approach to learning about whistleblowing and the U.S. war in Vietnam, it also engages students in thinking deeply about their own responsibility as truth-tellers and peacemakers. In the spirit of Howard Zinn, this teaching guide explodes historical myths and focuses on the efforts of people — like Daniel Ellsberg — who worked to end war.


The teaching guide offers an introduction, resource guide, and eight lessons for U.S. history, government, and language arts classrooms. The guide uses a variety of teaching strategies, including role play, critical reading, discussion, mock trial, small group imaginative writing, and personal narrative.

The guide was developed by the Zinn Education Project in collaboration with The Most Dangerous Man in America filmmakers Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith. Written and edited by Bill Bigelow, Sylvia McGauley, Tom McKenna, Hyung Nam, and Julie Treick O’Neill.

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