Thursday, March 24, 2011

Teach For Ohio

By Brianna Savoca

The Ohio House passed legislation today to bring Teach For America (TFA) to Ohio. This news makes a lot of sense- I asked upon my initial interview with TFA why there was not a TFA program in Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati. These urban school districts are in great need of educational equity.

However, blogs and forums lit up bashing TFA Ohio. According to many bloggers, TFA in Ohio would cause educational turmoil, current teachers will lose their jobs, and TFA is going to cost the Ohio taxpayers a TON of money. I have to laugh. TFA, a program working toward educational opportunity for all, is going to cause the education system in Ohio to self-destruct? It is extremely unlikely any current teachers will lose their jobs, as urban districts are often seeking out new teachers annually due to a high-turnover rate. Finally, new teacher salaries are LESS than veteran teachers, so I don't see how any taxpayer would be paying more to have TFA teachers working for their school system. Clearly all three arguments are lacking substance or research.

As a TFA corp member, an Ohio native, and an Ohio University graduate, this issue strikes a serious nerve. Critics of TFA Ohio also argue the program will take away teaching jobs from Ohio graduates. Again this is untrue, as I would have loved to stay in Ohio and work for educational equity in my home state, but unfortunately this legislation was not passed when I was entering the program. While many suburban and wealthy school districts in Ohio have established a tradition for excellence (one of the schools of which I was lucky enough to attend), many urban Ohio schools are not.

Ohio is extremely racist. We keep minorities ghettoed in the major cities, low-income white families in the "buffer-zone" suburbs which border the cities, and the middle class and upper class thrive in the nice, safe suburbs and ignore the plight of the non-whites. Believe me, the difference between the all-white school I went to and the 99% black school I teach in are literally night and day, which is not at fault to the students AT ALL. It is a result of the ongoing racism and non-white poverty that our culture perpetuates due to a LACK OF QUALITY EDUCATION. All students deserve an excellent education, not just the wealthy white ones.

Haters, please take off your blinders and realize, the excellent veteran teachers accumulate in the wealthy suburbs of Ohio. They rarely stick around in an urban school setting. While TFA isn't perfect, it is bringing in extremely hardworking, dedicated young teachers to urban students who are not getting the same education as all the whites in the suburbs. Until the whites are ready to send their students to an urban school for a taste of how "equal" our educations really are, I applaud anyone who has the moral fiber and guts to step up to the plate and apply for TFA Ohio. I will be doing everything in my being to support the movement and bring educational equity to Ohio.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Quality Role Model

Why Josh Cribbs is My Favorite Browns Player

By Brianna Savoca

Joshua Cribbs won my heart yet again after I logged on to Twitter this evening, but it had nothing to do with his incredible athleticism on the football field.

I saw this tweet, from Cribbs, wide receiver and special teams player for the Cleveland Browns.

Cribbs may be on the special teams and kick returner for the 2010 Pro Bowl, but this pro is clearly a special person who puts others before himself.

Also from Cribbs:

Cribbs shines on the field as the Browns 2009 MVP, and AP All-Pro First Team member, plus holds the NFL record for two kickoff returns for two touchdowns in a game (against the Kansas City Chiefs). Now, Cribbs shines off the field as a philanthropist, humanitarian, and beacon of hope for the Haitian people.

Thank you Josh Cribbs for putting Cleveland and Browns players in a good light, despite our 5-11 record this season.

If you would like to help the Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort, become a follower of Josh Cribbs on Twitter-

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pretty vs. "Perfect"

By Brianna Savoca

Heidi Montag, 23, spent the past seven weeks in hiding, recovering from 10 plastic surgery procedures, according to People Magazine.

"The Hills" reality TV star reportedly got neck, waist, and hip liposuction, Botox, a mini-brow lift, a butt lift, a chin reduction, fat injections in her cheeks, a nose job fix, and upgraded her already fake boobs to a size DDD.

This begs the question: Hollywood, Spencer, media, and culture- what have you done to this poor Colorado girl?

Heidi came to Hollywood for "The Hills" after being raised in Crested Butte, Colorado. At the beginning of the series, the petite natural-looking blonde was naive and sweet, and played the role of Lauren Conrad's endearing best friend and roommate.

Now, Heidi has been turned into a plastic, living Barbie doll. Reportedly, Heidi is obsessed with plastic surgery and wants to be "perfect."

Heidi, you were perfect just the way you were when you first walked on to "The Hills."

As a young woman who regularly posts Bible verses on Twitter, take a lesson from Him.

Genesis 1:27 God created us in his own image.

You are beautiful Heidi and God made you beautiful on the day you were born, without the plastic surgery.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Love/Hate Relationship with Victoria's Secret

By Brianna Savoca

My DVR is set to record the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show tomorrow night.

A package from Victoria's Secret just arrived via UPS with presents for my sister, girlfriends, and a few things for myself.

I spend way too much money than I should at Victoria's Secret. When it comes to bras, panties, PJs, and lounge wear, Victoria's Secret does it best. My loyalty lies with the brand, who year after year produces trendy and extremely fashionable clothing and under garments.

However, the imagery produced by Victoria's Secret contributes to many women feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable with their self-image. Victoria's Secret Angels and models are beautiful, picturesque creatures, but real women do not look like them. But, with the amount of commercials and advertisements on TV and in malls around the country, it is hard to avoid seeing these images and denying their effects.

Men goggle over the beautiful Victoria's Secret models. It's hard not to stare at these models with gorgeous faces and voluptuous figures. Men see these models who encapsulate all the ideals of beauty, who spark an intense sexual attraction. Then, when it comes to real women who they date, average women are not as stimulating or cannot compare based on these standards of beauty.

Victoria's Secret is basically soft-core porn for men, and since many women love the brand, it is hard to deny its appeal. However, there is no denying the objectification of Victoria's Secret models. They are viewed as bodies, perfect bodies nonetheless, but when have you ever heard the models speak about anything past the clothes (or lack there of) they have on.

That's my beef. While I object to the objectification of women, I cannot stop shopping at Victoria's Secret. Believe it or not, the store was actually created by a man to make it easier for husbands to shop for lingerie for their wives, so women were never really expected to shop at the store originally.

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show premieres tomorrow night, December 1st at 10 PM on CBS.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beating the Holiday Bulge

A Constant Battle for Women in a Misogynist Society

By Brianna Savoca

With two Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday and Black Friday leftovers, like many women around the country, I found myself dreading to step on the scale following the weekend's food festivities.

It's no secret American's holiday traditions cause weight gain- the American Heart Association reports most people gain 5 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years. More than likely, I will certainly be a part of this statistic.

When it came to stuffing, I did not skimp. Mounds of mashed potatoes, tons of turkey, and green bean casserole galore covered my plate in the afternoon and evening on Turkey Day, as we celebrated at my boyfriend's and my family's homes. Thank goodness we did not have to go for a third meal at my Dad's side of the family, as that may require purchasing a new wardrobe on Black Friday to accommodate the influx in my dress size.

Even though I did not stop myself from eating the traditional holiday dishes, I had to wonder- do men feel the same frustrations following Thanksgiving weekend? Do men feel as self-conscious stepping on a scale after gorging on turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and mashed potatoes?

Based on a couple factors, I would conclude men do not feel the same pressures as women when it comes to weight.

First, typical gender roles create a strong difference in clothing styles for men versus women. Clothing styles for men fit looser, making it easier to disguise the belly bulge or thicker thighs after holiday meals. Women's clothing hugs the waist, fits tightly on the thighs, and makes it difficult to conceal extra flab from extra food.

Second, men brag about how much food they can consume, almost making an eating contest out of big meals. My male cousins competed to see who could stuff down more stuffing and eat more turkey than the others. The man who eats more holds bragging rights, and is essentially the Thanksgiving Champion of sorts. In comparison, most women try to conceal how much food they have even consumed during holiday meals, as stuffing your face is not quite "ladylike" behavior. Many women even turn down high caloric dishes, using excuses like, "It will go right to my hips," or "I won't fit into my clothes."

Third, based on "How to Beat the Holiday Bulge" articles found on many news websites, the advice seems mainly geared toward women, even in one American Heart Association article. One article says to wear a belt around the stomach or a tighter clothing in order to stop yourself from eating as much. Another article says to focus on making conversations rather than eating, or learning how to politely say no, advice geared toward women and feminine qualities.

Overall, women in our society seem to dread the holiday bulge more than men due to genderized pressures, cultural norms of weight, and society's beauty ideals. Men can hide weight gain under their clothing, whereas women are forced to conform to societies standards of beauty and weight.

While I did not succumb to the genderized pressures of starving myself to stay skinny over Thanksgiving weekend, I will give into the pressures of style, avoiding my tighter fitting clothes for the month of December. At least I have "Cyber Monday" to order a new wardrobe in the next size up.