Category Archives: English and History

English and History

Equal Opportunity

May 13, 2013, by

In my English and History class we have been working on a unit called rights. We had to do 3 hours of service in the area of rights that we felt passionate about. I chose to work in equal opportunities. I worked with Faith in Action as well as Community Renewal Society, two organizations that help with employment rights among many other things. The experience was amazing. I learned first hand the social issues that you would assume effects a certain group or type of people, but I found out it effects many more. I enjoyed getting to actually apply what I was learning in class to a cause. Below is a poem I wrote about my experience as well as my reflection. Enjoy :)!

I helped with a few events that were all connected to human rights such as employment. I talked with many people who had experienced job lost. Quite a few had degrees and others years of experience. A few of these people were ex cons. It was interesting because even though it was a diverse group of people they had a lot in common. They all had families that they had to support. They all couldn’t get a job. Most of them couldn’t get pass the job application process. So they all came to them same conclusion….discrimination.

Ex Cons could never get pass the question about prison. They weren’t given a space to explain why, just a yes or no check box. None of them were “qualified” for a  job. Even though they had paid their debt to society they felt as though they were still being shunned by peoples assumptions about them. A few said that this only made them contemplate doing more crimes to survive because they had no job opportunities. It made them angry and desperate. So it was easy to fall back into old habits and patterns.

On the other hand you have racial discrimination. The box that natural separates us and categorizes us. A man in the meeting said ” you would think that a black person with the same degree as a white person would be just as equal”, and this had me thinking for a moment. If two people have the same education and experience and had great interviews how would you choose. I’m not sure what they answer to that is.

Lastly, something that came as a surprise to me was the discrimination of gender. I guess it was naive to think that in 2013 women and men would be equal. But a few women spoke up about the types of jobs they were “suppose” to apply for and the ones they were not “allowed to have.” They spoke about the big effect being a woman has on whether or not you can get certain types of job. I was surprised at the fact that it has a lot to do with the way we perceive people. No man wants to be saved by a woman and most women feel safer with a man than a woman.

The big question is should we just reduce the application policies down to basics such as experience, education, and job related questions? Of course everything depends on the perspective of people; our own bias and opinions. Would we want an ex con working at a bank, a male babysitter, etc. How much should this and does this affect the job opportunities and the way people are employed in society? Is it a problem that can be fixed? Is it a problem that needs fixing?

Who is the Champion?

April 29, 2013, by

My InfographicIn my elective class, 162, we are using statistics to find out who the greatest athlete of all time are. I was given two really amazing athletes in two different sports. Muhammad Ali who is a boxer also said to be “the greatest boxer of all time”. The other athlete is Walter Payton who was runner back for the bears whose in the top five NFL pick for best football players ever. Since both of my athletes play different sports and have very different statistics I choose categories to access their skill. I choose three achievements, comparisons with the best of their time, and comparison within their own statistics over time. I use that data to create a few graphs showing the stats and another showing the overall information.  I am proud of the way I was able to access the players in a unbiased way and looking only at the statistics. I really like the way the graphs turns out. Below you can find the graphs and statistics along with a short summary of what they mean and how I used them. Above is the summary of the entire project. At the very bottom you will find a poll where you can tell me who you think is the better athlete. Is your answer based on the stats or is it bias? Comment with your answers and ideas. 🙂


Education: Legal Monopoly?

April 29, 2013, by

Education Icons by Duck Files (April, 2013)

Education Icons by Duck Files (April, 2013)

In my Policy class we are studying monopoly. We have learned the different laws about monopoly and talked to companies that deal with policies about monopoly. For our project we had to find statistics and data to create a info graph that questions a companies “monopoly”. For my project I chose to focus on Education in Chicago. I looked at it from the angle of Charter schools that are controlled by Chicago Public School’s money as well as rules and regulations. I had fun creating the graph and inserting the numbers and quotes. I’m proud of the way I was able to display a lot of information in a concise way. Below is my info graph along with a brief summary of the information and what it means. Enjoy 🙂

 I believe that Chicago Public Schools are monopolist when it comes to Education in Chicago and Charter Schools. Chicago Public Schools have held a tight leash around the neck of Charter Schools. Charter Schools are under the laws and restrictions of the CPS schools. Just to open up a Charter School under CPS is a hassle.  In recent years as the number of Charter Schools in Chicago slowly grows it gets more difficult because of CPS limits. There are a certain amount of students that have to attend in order for a charter school to open. It’s usually hard to do that when most parents send their children to CPS schools and the rest to Private school. Now things have changed drastically. After results showing that students in charter schools  were 7% more likely to graduate from high school and 11% more likely to enroll in college. Test scores were also used to show some of the positive effects of Charter Schools. As CPS begins to see Charter Schools as competitors they have become more resistant towards opening them. Their hopeful and cheerful expression to them has quickly turned into resentment and hate. This year many schools have closed and will be closed leaving empty school buildings that can’t be used for anything besides schools. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has made it clear that she will not let Charter Schools lease these buildings because that would be abusing the trust of the parents. 68% of Chicago disagrees with her. By doing this she is no longer hurting her competition but she’s leaving 40,000 students without a school next year and 11,000 more with poor education that are waiting for more Charter Schools to open to get the education they deserve. I noticed that CPS spends more money per student yet has less to show for it. While Charter Schools have better classrooms, smaller sizes, nice libraries, and more teachers CPS has more money. I realized that as Charter Schools started to grow and show more data of their positive affects people began to compare them to CPS. Then CPS turned a cold shoulder to Charter Schools holding a magnifying glass up to their system and trying to find ways to break it. Many of the claims against Charter Schools were that they were under performing more than CPS schools but no one ever took into account when those test scores were taken. Of course most of the time it was when the Charter School had just started up and most of their students were coming from schools where their education had been poor. It seems like people had attitude that once the student walks in the door of a Charter School they were just going to be smart. It might take a lot of time to undo the damage of a poor education in a under performing deterring public school in Chicago. I believe that Charters should be able to be free of CPS and compete as Education Providers without having to jump over hurdles and through hoops. I think that CPS should continue to access schools and fix them but they should do it equally accessing Public Schools the same way they do Charters.  Quality Education should not be a privilege that a few students have but a right that they all deserve no matter who provides it.


Chicago Tribune “The Thirst for Charter Schools” (April, 2013).

Chicago Tribune “A Promise Worth Breaking” (March, 2013).

Hood, Joel  Chicago Tribune “Chicago school board delays budget vote” (July 2012).

CPS Press Release “12 new Charter Campuses Proposed” (December 2011)

CPS at a glance “Stats and Facts” (February 2013).

Clean it up

April 15, 2013, by











In my policy course this unit we are studying policy on a local level. For this project we were asked to address a policy issue in our community. We had to find the responses made to the issue and either amend it or create a entirely new one. We created proposals using any medium we wanted to. I did a powerpoint presentation and a short email that I would send to after school matters and community organizers in my neighborhood. My favorite part of this project was creating the community garden that I thought should replace a vacant lot near my house. I learned that even if the response to an issue isn’t what you want it still has reason and value behind it. Below is my powerpoint as well as my email. Enjoy 🙂


Dear ASM,


I know that you guys do a lot with place making and fixing up the Chicago communities. I have created a proposal to fix up a vacant lot in my neighborhood. Below is my proposal.


Community Renewal Proposal

Chicago has around 50,000 vacant lots throughout the city. Most of which have been gated, fenced, or just abandoned. In my neighborhood there are about 7 within a 5 mile radius. I want to focus on one specifically that is directly across the street from my house. It has been an empty lot since I’ve lived in my community which is over 16 years. It is filled with broken glass, trash, bricks, and debris. In the 16 years nothing has been done by the city to improve this vacant lot or amend it but they have put up many signs and small fences.

     In other vacant lots and areas like these community organizations have worked on this project called placemaking. Place making is when a community gets together to improve their community by creating an amenity for the community. Some examples are community gardens, playgrounds and parks, basketball courts, or meeting area. Placemaking is a low cost way to fix something up and bring the community together.

        My suggestion is to turn this vacant lot into a community garden. It educates children about healthy foods and gives them a safe space to be in. It also can be used to send fresh locally grown vegetables to stores nearby. It will bring people together and give people a sense of ownership of their community. Overall it’s great for the space and the community.



Thanks for your consideration,




About two months ago I submitted the email and power point above to my alderman. Around a month later I have already seen changes to the vacant lot. It has not only been cleaned up by city officials but the property owners have also come out and added plants an little garden in the lot. I also have seen plans for benches. I am really happy to see that my voice and project made a positive change in my community.

Dialectics ~Don’t ask, Don’t tell~

March 7, 2013, by










In my Humanities class we are studying dialectics through the Russian revolution. Dialectics is a very hard way of arguing in my opinion because it’s not about whose right or wrong it’s about trying to come to an agreement that is fair to both sides. We do this through the process of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. For my action project I choose to apply diabetics to the political issue “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”. I did an artist exchange with a person who doesn’t share the same views as my. I created an art piece that represents my point of view and gave that to them and they responded with their piece. We discussed our different views and together created a piece about things we both agreed on. Th entire process was exciting and informative. In learned about a whole new level of argument with this project and I’m proud of my project. Below is a presentation on how that shows my work and the opposing persons point as well as our agreed upon points.


My thesis was that gay soldiers should be allowed to serve freely without any cultural or moral stigmas. The Anti-thesis was that people will discriminate no matter what and a law can’t just get rid of that. After much debate we were able to come to the synthesis that people shouldn’t be discriminated against because of who they are but change won’t happen over night. See for more details above.



KHANNA, Satyam (May, 2009). “Obama sends handwritten letter to gay soldier ousted from the military promising to repeat DADT” Think Progress


Media Matters Staff (January, 2010). “O’reilly on Don’t ask Don’t tell: It’s not about anti-gay. It’s about being comfortable in the barracks” Media Matters


MORTENSEN W, Ronald (Novemeber 2009). “Federal Employmenment Verification Requirements: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”


BELKIN, Aaron (2003). Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Is the Gay Ban Based on Military Necessity? eScholarship University of California


GCE Student Constitution

February 23, 2013, by



MORGAN, Stan (October, 2012). “The Presidential Candidates”  Creative Commons 





For this unit in my Argument class we studied Abduction. Abduction is reasoning that starts with a result or goal followed by a rule and then case. The country that we choose to study was Haiti because of their many different constitutions we were able to understand that they were trying to find a rule that help them get the result they wanted. Through deep dives into historical text, research, presentation, and a field trip to a Haitian restaurant we created our own constitution. After separately writing we brought our laws to the group to be ratified and voted upon and didn’t leave until we had an agreed upon constitution. He experience was by far my favorite project in the class so far and I learned a lot about how rules and bills are made and passed. Below is my rule that was approved as well as a PDF of the entire Student Constitution. Enjoy 🙂

1. Result – A Surprising Fact… (What is the Desired Outcome?)
2. Rule – An Ingenious Solution (What, if True, would make the Result a Matter of Course?)
3. Case – The Likely Outcome of the Solution
4. Materials and Experience from Students

1. Result – A Surprising Fact… (What is the desired outcome?)

Students and staff at our school are frustrated with the school dress code. Many students have found that it prohibits and or limits self expression and believes that there are too many restrictions on our personal choice of style. While staff members believe it maintains a safe space where learning can happen without inappropriate distractions from attire. Whatever the opinions are there is too much miscommunication as well as ambiguousness to certain current rules and the way their enforced.

This amendment offers a solution that is one we have never tried before where dress code and the accountability of it will be given to another party.

2. Rule – An Ingenious Solution (What, if true, makes Results a matter of course?)

For many years schools have struggled and battled with “dress code” creating a few solutions. One includes what I consider to be an extreme which is uniforms. The idea of having uniforms is a trend that started in Britain, Australia, South Africa, and Japan. Many public schools over the years have began to enforce uniforms for students in America. Other schools have tried to be a little more open to using a dress code stating rules about clothing. In most of those cases things have gone wrong because of misinterpretations of words within rules. A few schools have left it up to the parents to decide. Thus I suppose:

Our school shall implement a new dress code that will be decided upon by representatives from the teachers, students, and parents. Using feedback forms that will be given to everyone at orientation a poll will be created that will show the opinions of the community. A few members from each cohort will join a week before school starts to discuss, debate, and define what the dress code will be that year. Dress code shall be signed by students, parents, and dean of students before school starts.

3. Case – The Likely Outcome of the Solution

With the a dress code that everyone has an equal opinion on the process will be more democratic and all voices and ideas will be heard. There will be a better understanding of dress code that will be more effective because parents will also be able to enforce it. Students will be more accountable because they not only get to help create it but also get to see the reasons behind certain rules. If it signed by parents and students as well as the dean we can stop excuses and miscommunications.

4. Materials and Experience from GCE Students (Sorted alphabetically)

CRUZ, Barbara (May 2011). “Debate: School Unifrom” Debatepedia

DELL’ANTONIA, KJ (September 2012). ” Teenage Dress Codes: Easier said than done” The New York Times

GRAFF, Amy (August 2012). ” School dress codes in the news” SFGATE