This past week I have been working on the creation of a mixture of two animals mix together to solve the issue of educational inequality. I wanted to focus on education inequality because of my educational background. I attended a high school that receives low funding from the state and federal government. As a result, my school had to seek funding from outside investors such as professionals, non-profits, and alumni. Despite my school’s efforts to raise funds, we still lacked the access to a gym, a library, and new books. However, the board of directors made it their duty to provide us with the best quality education with the resources available. They made sure that every faculty and staff member was on board in providing us with quality education, helping us develop leadership skills and inspiring us to attend college. Since I was inspired to attend college and given the resources to do so, I know that my school provided me with a good quality education.
After witnessing the struggles that my school faced to receive funding from the state government, I wondered about the factors that influence school funding. In my research, I read in the Global Post, that the state gives funding based on how students perform on standardized test. I discovered that schools with low funding usually have students that lack the inspiration to pursue higher education or/and become a professional. Also, there tends to be a range of instructor approaches. Some instructors appear to have no passion for their service, therefore they bring no inspiration to their students. Many schools do not focus on preparing their students for a college education. As a result, students tend to score low on standardized test and most of them do not attend college.(In equality in The Teaching and Schooling: Supporting High-Quality Teaching and Leadership in Low-Income Schools by Linda Darling-Hammond and Laura Post)
Therefore, I decided to create a creature that helps solve educational inequality by combining a phoenix and a dog. I chose a dog because having pets in the class room such as dogs can enhance the skills development of kids learning (Talking About Animals: The Benefit for a Classroom and for the 21st Century Society). I chose the phoenix because that was my high school’s mascot. I named my animal Fields after my hero and high school principal, Ms. Denice Fields, who helped and encouraged me to pursue a higher education. My creature Fields has the power to smell what ever asset that a school or student lacks to obtain a good quality education. Fields analyzes the smell to generate the needed resources . Also, it has the ability to create a mentor to guide, to inspire, and to help students pursue a higher education. She is able to create the mentor by flapping her wings on water.
I created Fields by giving her the body and nose of a dog and the wings and neck of a phoenix. I used pencils to create her legs because I wanted her to stand on something that students use everyday. When many people think of this issue, they automatically think the problem is just the funding. However, there is so much more such as: the lack of resources, student empowerment, and administration issues. To show this idea within the body of Fields, I used a plastic bottle, in which I glued books made out of paper to the inside and pieces of a dollar bill to the outside. The books inside represent the resources that Fields generates once it knows what resources are needed. The pieces of the bill on the outside represent the belief that the only solution to a good education is having more money.
The creation of her wings took more time because of the details. Since she uses her wings to create a mentor for students to pursue a higher education, I decided to make her wings out of post-its and write an inspirational quote or word on each post-it. For her nose, I used a pencil sharpener to represent something that students use everyday. This is similar to how I used pencils to create her legs.
Fields makes a noise similar to that of a large bird which is woo,woo, woo. She tends to live in the city where education inequality is more visible. She has the determination and inspiration to help students pursue a higher education and a welcoming presents that attracts those in need of help to her. She is one of 100,000 of her kind and each of her species can help up to 1,000 students at a time. Fields is not like any other creature. She does not need food or water to live and like the phoenix, she does not die just because there is not reason for her too. She burst into flames every 500 years and then rises from her ashes to address new issues in education inequality.
In the end, I had lots of fun creating her even though at times I struggle to think of things to do or take away. This has been one of the most interesting and fun projects I have had for this class. I hope to take this idea of educational inequality for my future projects. Also, I hope that my creation can increase knowledge on this issue and for those who have receive a good education or had all the resources to receive one to appreciated it. Thanks