March 28, 2018

Successful v. Failing High Schools | Brandi, Kelly, & Hector

According to Niche, Walter Payton College Prep in Chicago was ranked as the #1 public high school in 2018. This high school excels in many different ways especially when it comes down to test scores. When looking at the websites that gave information about these high schools, we were only able to find statistics. These statistics included average test scores, AP tests taken and passed, etc. These more successful high schools had higher graduation rates and higher rates of their students going to college. We were unable to find hard evidence that proved one school was better than the other. Everyone feeds into these statistics but they are not necessarily always helpful when trying to validate the value of a school over another. Students and their success should not be a statistic and we should not merely focus our attention on these statistics.

Brandi: My school (Moanalua High School) seemed like it was kind of in between these schools because we didn’t really focus on AP tests or standardized tests specifically all the time, but we did focus on them sometimes. Once a year, the juniors take a practice ACT test to prepare for the real test, and we were given practice SAT booklets, however it was never really discussed in any of our classes except for our homeroom, which was only about 30 minutes. I thought of my school as a pretty decent school because I felt like most of my teachers didn’t just focus on students getting perfect scores, however, when I started taking AP classes, there wasn’t much room for the teachers to teach anything other than what was going to be on the exam.

Kelly: My high school experience was a little different than others in how I didn’t have to take any standardized tests after my first year.  During the period I was in high school, New Jersey was changing its standardized tests. Because of this, students in my class did not have to take the test to graduate, and the teachers didn’t really do any standardized test prep in class.  This left a lot more freedom to the teachers to create their own curriculum. Because of this, I feel like I was more prepared for college-level classes which require creativity and critical thinking.

Hector: I attended Segerstrom High School, a public high school in the city of Santa Ana. We are located within Orange County. The public education system within Santa Ana isn’t necessarily the same as other high schools in Orange County. We have lower graduation rates, lower test scores, higher levels of Spanish speakers, and less students attending a 4 year university right after graduating from college. A lot of the schools within Santa Ana, like my own, are very similar to Mission High School in San Francisco.



March 26, 2018

Critiquing Education | Hector Bustos 

Living in a working class family with a single mom as the head of the house, I faced many challenges growing up. My mom was constantly working and was always out of the house. Spanish was my first language because both my mother and grandmother only speak Spanish. I always had trouble completing my homework because there were problems that I did not understand and I had no one to answer my questions at home because no one was able to even read the question. As a result, I would be punished at school the next day by my teacher because my homework was incomplete. She would make me sit in class during recess and finish all of the problems that I did not complete, only then would I have the opportunity to ask questions. It was difficult to explain to my teacher the circumstances that I faced at home because I felt as if she would not be able to understand me.

Years later, as a senior in High School I had a lot to figure out on my own. As the first person in my entire family including all of my cousins to attend college, there were a lot of questions I had that no one had the answer to. A lot of my family was unable to attend college because of the financial burden that came with attending a university. So this made my college application process quite difficult. After choosing to attend USF and starting my first semester in college I realized that a lot of what USF says it stands for isn’t necessarily followed through entirely. There were many instances during my first month at USF where I felt like an outsider because there weren’t many members of the hispanic community that I knew and interacted with. In my classrooms, there were topics that affected people of color that weren’t being discussed. One of these major issues was the Trump administration’s decision to repeal DACA. This was a topic that affected many members of the Latinx community but it was not discussed in any of my classes. As a politics major, I expected to have some sort of conversation during class, but that did not occur. This just shows that many of the problems and issues that people of color have to face are swept under the rug in hopes that another issue arises and it is forgotten. More people have to learn about the issues that people of color have to face every day because of the instituionalized racism within our country. Ignorance is no longer acceptable.

March 9, 2018

Gun Control: Wikipedia Search | Hector Bustos

Gun control is an extremely controversial topic within the United States today because there is a lot of disagreement on whether or not a 19 year old should have access to a semi automatic assault rifle otherwise known as a weapon of war. Wikipedia is not the most reliable source when doing research on such a controversial topic because the public has access to this informational site. The high volumes of anonymous sources change the way that I evaluate its contents. There are many right wing conservative groups that fear the liberals are trying to take away their guns, but in reality no one is trying to take away the guns you already own, if you bought them legally and went through an extensive background check. There may be some who have a super biased view that might contribute to this wikipedia source so that others will agree with them as well.

The pros of using wikipedia compared to a more traditional research source is that it is a lot faster and you can find the answer to a question fairly quick, but the con to that is the content may not always be fully accurate because the public has access and can edit any information within the site. Wikipedia is a great source but should be used responsibly and should not be your only source for information.

March 5, 2018

Reimagining Educational Practices | Hector Bustos

By analyzing the US News Ranking, 2018 Best National Universities website, I wasn’t surprised to find that the most prestigious and most expensive schools were ranked at the very top. These are schools that charge close to $50,000 on tuition alone, not including room, board, and other expenses. These highly prestigious and well known schools such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago are all the universities that everyone wants to get into when they are growing up.

As students starting off our educational careers in high school, we don’t really know what these colleges have to offer but we know that we want to go there because everyone talk about them. The discussions about these schools always involve their rigorous yet rewarding academia or their championship winning college football teams, but what is always left out in these conversations is the price that comes along with attending one of these highly ranked schools. For many students, the choice of even going to one of these schools is a long shot because they are extremely expensive. Unless you are given a generous amount of financial aid or your family has the money to afford one of these institutions, your chances of going to one of these schools is extremely slim, that is if you don’t want to fall into major student debt.

These rankings have placed a value on these schools and have placed a rank on the quality of education one gets by attending one school over another. Therefore, a stereotype is placed on certain groups of people. The majority of the time, and seen all over college campuses in America, the majority of the student population is white. That is because white people usually have more opportunities or a higher socioeconomic status than people of color. For this reason, the people that attend these top universities are classified as well educated, while people of color who were granted admission into these universities but could not attend because of the financial burden that comes with attending one of these universities.

Less advantaged communities do not always have the proper and necessary tools to even get to college, that is why the high school drop out rate in poor communities is so high. In most cases, these communities are also the homes to people of color. There is little motivation in most less advantaged communities because of the systematic oppression that has been placed on the lives of people of color. The few who do want to go to college and exceed the expectations placed on them will find a way to get to one of these top universities but they must face the burden of having to take out student loans in order to pay for the education that they desire.


2018 Best National Universities, US News Rankings, retrieved from

World University Rankings 2018, Times Higher Education, retrieved from


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