PEARL Weighs In

On “College to Careers;” check it out:

Emanuel minces no words in making it clear that he is talking about a two-tier higher education system. One for the children of the elite, plus a minority of working class students made up of those lucky enough to sneak in, who will be able to secure a bachelors degree or more. Then there is the rest of our children who will be led down a cattle chute into the lower rungs of the work universe…
During his ECC speech Emanuel conflated the role of community colleges after WWII with what he is proposing as his new scheme.
“Community colleges were the catapult for the World War II generation coming home from the battlefield, the generation of Americans who became the most productive and economically expansive in American history. They can serve that same function in the 21st century.
Tonight, we charge our community colleges with a new mission: to train the workforce of today for the jobs of tomorrow; to give our students the ability to achieve a middle class standard of living; to provide our companies with the skilled workers they need.”
This is misleading at the least, dishonest at its worst. After WWII, communities colleges, under a President Truman directive, became the democratizing bridges for working class students to secure bachelors degrees and join the ranks of the many teachers, engineers, etc. required to build the U.S. economy through the longest economic boom this country has ever had. Under Emanuel’s plan that bridge is destroyed, and a diverging road is being built into a vocational training cul-de-sac. In this highly racially segregated city, the neighborhoods where the Olive-Harvey and Daley Colleges reside are overwhelmingly African American and Latino, respectively. The turning of these two colleges into strictly vocational schools severs the path for these students to go on to obtain a bachelors degree or a profession. Even if not consciously intended, the outcome will be a racist tracking of Black and Latino young men and women away from a genuine higher education degree.

There’s more. Go HERE for the whole thing.

2 thoughts on “PEARL Weighs In

  1. I have a million thoughts racing through my mind. I’ll start with-Are we closing programs and career programs that do not meet each college’s new “vocational” focus? I’m worried about what this means for students and our communities.

    • Yeah…I would say it’s not clear yet. But that’s the question a few of us have, I think.

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