Friday, May 15, 2009

Reaching out on the South Side

This morning I was at Bally's at 87th and State when one of guys (who knows I teach at CSU) says to me in the locker room, "Well, I see someone at CSU has got the students doing things they would not otherwise be doing. Someone must have put them up to it." We discussed his idea, and I certainly defended the students.

But that is not the purpose of this post. The purpose is to point out the effect of the media blitz and of the political connections of the trustees and their allies. They have a base on the streets of the South Side that is a threat to our struggle to change the university in a positive way. They are getting out their message that the faculty are having a bad effect on the students and are otherwise not doing their jobs. We ignore the street opinion at our own risk, and I believe the risk is great.

In a comment to an earlier post, I suggested leafletting some of the churches on the South Side, particularly ones where the trustees have a base. I don't know if that is the best proposal or if there is another approach, but I feel we cannot win this struggle unless we reach out off campus to make our case. We don't control the media that folks on the South Side are tuned into (at least this seems to be true). We have to get our message out in some way. What do you think?


  1. The infantalizing of our students is insulting. That they should be treated like children who need to be told what to do is ridiculous. At a deeper level it seems that some believe that CSU is simply an upper level high school. I don't know if the conversation on the South Side is worth the time with people who don't participate in education, understand the academy and don't really know our students. And maybe I am just jaded.

  2. Thanks, Phillip, for your response. I agree that the comment is insulting to students; in fact, in the context of the portrayal of the faculty as "white," it can be understood to invoke the racist stereotype of black people needing white people to lead (or mislead) them.

    But I do think there is a danger to our struggle if we do not take this on. A group of public school teachers, when I told them of how we were being stereotyped by Finney and WVON, said, "Welcome to our world. This is what they have been doing to us" (blaming teachers for problems in the schools). I was just trying to think about what we could do to try to win as much public support and understanding of our situatiion as possible.

  3. Paul, I guess I'm pretty slow when it comes to education. Isn't the first teachers of students are the parents? Why does parents this day and age think that public school teachers from head start until college feel that the children should be taught by the teachers first? When the child is born into this world the first contact they feel is ffrom their parents, the first word(s) they're taught is either "mommy or daddy" not "teacher". The teaching shouldn't stop after their first word(s) is spoken. Sometimes, parents teach them their colors, how to count to 10 or higher, how to write their names, and if they are really good maybe read a book or two to them. But I remember this is the new generation where sometimes the parent put their kids in front of the tv and let the DVD or VHS babysit them while they sleep, talk on the phone or text their best friends. I ask, "How is it the teachers fault that these students are failing when some of their environment failed them first?" This only directed to the lazy parents who not sitting at home interacting with their children and feels that the teacher should teach their child how to be respectful, use the restroom, be mannerable, and how to count after the enter the public school system. I believe they're supposed to know these things before reaching the 12th grade.

  4. Paul, the last comment is directed to the incoming president who also feels that teacher should know how to teach students who are not motivated to learn and expects the teacher to give him that motivation when he didn't have it from a toddler. Now, as a teenager entering into adulthood that person will all of a sudden gain that motivation, become literate and gain that intellectual thirst for knowledge that student never received at home. But somehow, gained when he graduated from high school due to the school being over-populated.

    So, my comment is good luck in trying to talk to people who attend that same circle of Finney followers because it'll be like talking to a brick wall or watching paint dry on steel. LOL