Critiquing Education

Class, culture, and race have all played a part in my higher education, and have shaped what I believe getting an education should mean.  I went to public high school.  Since I was part of a generation who grew up around social media, I had become politically-minded through online reading before I ever talked about modern politics in an academic environment.  I saw double-standards and class inequality all around me, but didn’t yet have the words to articulate my frustration.  The things I learned in history class didn’t leave me feeling adequately prepared for active citizenship.

It wasn’t until college that the idea of social class came up in the classroom.  Once I learned the basics about the economics and sociological concepts behind discrimination and social class, education gained a new meaning to me beyond simple job-training.  I realized that education has the power to generate great social change. Now, I feel that if an education doesn’t involve class consciousness (and other concepts relevant to social justice), it is an incomplete education.



According to Wikipedia, “The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loosely-connected and somewhat ill-defined[1] grouping of white supremacists, neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, and other far-right fringe hate groups.”  Many believe this new movement to be a considerable threat to society.   The term was coined by white supremacist Richard Spencer—a notorious figure within the alt-right.

One topic I’m interested in is the rise of this new extremist political group known as the “alt-right.”  I evaluate the contents of a Wikipedia article differently than a more scholarly source.  I usually use Wikipedia as a jumping-off point for more specific research.   One thing I find positive about using Wikipedia is that it gives a good, comprehensive background of many topics, without needing much prior knowledge of a topic.  A con in using it is that it doesn’t provide scholarly, critical thinking about a topic.



University Rankings

In one Atlantic article “Your Annual Reminder to Ignore the U.S. News & World Report College Ranking,” author John Tierney makes a point that, for a number of reasons, the U.S. News & World Report College Ranking ( a commonly cited college ranking) may not be a reliable way to assess the quality of a college.  In fact, a college’s increase in rank may indicate the opposite.  In the article, this is explained:

Because the rankings have a popular audience, they encourage colleges and universities to game the system – i.e., to do what they can to raise their place in the rankings by, for example, spending lots of money on things the U.S. News formula deems important or by aggressively increasing the size of their applicant pool so they can turn away a higher percentage of their applicants, thus showing themselves to be “more selective” and thereby raising their rank. (Tierney)

High school seniors may look to the report in determining which colleges they apply to; however, should a student really trust a university that dedicates its time and resources to trying to “game the system,” instead of putting those efforts to improving the lives of its students instead?





Kelly, Sonja, Alexa

Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want resembles a typical Thanksgiving for an upper middle class white family.  This is the picture that is often depicted as typical and ideal for Americans.

John Holyfield’s Blessing II represents what might look like a typical Thanksgiving for a family of color.

The Thanksgiving that our group least related to was the cafeteria dinner that was being served to the soldiers.  None of us have ever been a part of an institution for a holiday like that.

These images further represent the connection between food traditions and identity that we learned about in class this week.  Although everyone is celebrating the same holiday, each image is showing a very different thing.  Additionally, the image that pop culture calls “ideal” and “normal” isn’t necessarily the case for the diverse people of this country.