Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bright Oklahoma Education

"A Little Unified Wild-n-Bright"--Thursday, 10/27/16

We're going back a little with this one, folks.  It's an outfit I put together in the spring but didn't get a chance to wear before summer arrived.  So now with the cooler temps back on the regular, I dug this outfit out of the closet, spring-like colors be damned.

I think I'd get more use out of my white/navy star blouse if it had a collar (and could thus layer nicely under sweater vests and pullover sweaters) but I have not really begun to explore its possibilities with cardigans.  This outfit pairing a similar blouse with a teal cardigan, grey pants, and leopard print shoes looked like a good place to start.


I agree with Carrie that blouses are great for layering without being too bulky.  But when I tried on my blouse, I realized that it is very short--really bizarrely short.  I'm not sure how that happened because I don't think I would have bought it that way.  Perhaps there was a laundry snafu that I forgot about or didn't realize?  In any case, that blouse is now bound for Goodwill for a person with a lot less torso than I have (or who wants to rock a crop top style blouse, I guess.  I won't judge.)

So I substituted a navy polka dot top.  I am a bit disappointed that this one is kind of too short for wearing with pants, so I substituted a grey skirt and tights for the pants at the last minute (hence the photo below is from the waist up)--I almost always prefer wearing a skirt anyway, so that worked out.  I have a very similar teal cardigan to the one she's wearing, but went with this lighter and brighter one for better contrast to the navy top.

I played a wild card in my outfit with this crazy ball necklace that is great in a lot of the "this outfit needs a little something but I'm not sure what" situations I encounter.  (I know that most people would say, Um, two patterns and a bright teal cardigan is enough!  But I actually think that the extra dose of wildness from the necklace makes the bright color of the cardigan look like less of a stand-out/pop and more part of a cohesive outfit.)

Navy polka dot top (JCP), $2.58/wear
Bright teal cardigan (Macy's), $3.43/wear
Dark grey skirt (Walmart), $4.00/wear
Grey leopard wedges by Cole Haan, $7.92/wear
Grey tights
Wild ball necklace (Macy's), $2.61/wear [WtWC MVP #4 with 7 wears]

Outfit total: $20.54/wear

To go with all this blue, here is a photo of a mallard and its reflection from a birding outing last month.

In other news...Today I have two Oklahoma education articles for you.  And no, they aren't bad news!

First, an article about new research on PreK (that says it's not all that it's cracked up to be) mentions the favorable outcomes being seen in OK.  For more background on OK PreK, and why their program might be showing stronger results than other programs, check out this article.  High standards for teachers (they must have a college degree + a certificate in early education) and relatively good funding are two key components of the "high quality" OK program.  Here's an example of the kind of outcomes they are seeing:

In studies published in Science and the Policy Studies Journal, Gormley and his co-authors found that the pre-K programs in Tulsa significantly improved young children's ability to identify letters, spell and solve problems—leaping an average of five months ahead in pre-math and nine months ahead in pre-reading skills. "Those are really big gains," Gormley said. "Oklahoma decided that it was a waste of time and money to have a low quality program, so it decided to have high quality programs...which can produce really big improvement in school readiness for a wide range of children."

In essence, it seems that with PreK programs, you need to go big or go home.  This whole idea of making more PreK spots available (here, there's been a lot of talk of late re: universal PreK) but not really funding it is a joke.

Second, an article and a commentary about the controversy stirred up by a Norman, OK public school teacher who engaged his students in a discussion about racism.  So, a white teacher tells his class of white students that white people are racist, and some white students get offended.  Get a grip, kiddos.  Even worse is the parents who are all in a huff about it, as though the teacher is "demonizing" white people.

One thing I will say is that even when you have an audience of white people who aren't so quick to be all "well I NEVER" in response to a discussion about racism is that it is very difficult to navigate the various levels and aspects of racism/racial prejudice.  The idea that all white people are racist, and the idea that non-white people can't be racist, is based on institutional racism.  It's about power structures and privileges based on race--it's not a personal thing, about individual people's thoughts and actions, the way that most white people think of racism. 

From the movie Dear White People

So you've got this institutional vs. personal aspect, the implicit vs. explicit aspect (that of course I think about all the time, as it was a part of my grad school work), the thought vs. action aspect, all of these components that easily get smushed up and mangled. 

A white person hears "You are racist" as a personal accusation of outright bigotry, not as a statement about race-based privilege in our country or about implicit bias (that a person might be very motivated to control and correct for).  I mean, when I say that Trump is racist, I'm not merely observing that he is white in a country where whiteness is privileged.  I am making a personal accusation of bigotry.  Unfortunately, the terminology used for these various meanings is the same.

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