I was a little puzzled when the Chancellor said, in her speech yesterday, that some people are afraid that CCC will become a trade school or something like that. I had to go back to HWC at lunch to get something from my office, so I did and, while there, picked up a Reader for the train ride and stumbled on an article all about Reinvention and came across this paragraph in an article on CCC and Reinvention:
And that’s what’s making some people nervous. “Economic engine” seems to run counter to the long-time mission of the City Colleges of Chicago, which will celebrate its hundredth birthday this year and has been, since its founding, a gateway not just to a job but to broad educational and intellectual opportunity, regardless of social or economic status.
The question of whether the “People’s College” (its original name) should be a vocational school was chewed over at its birth by the likes of Jane Addams and William Rainey Harper—and discarded. In America, and in Chicago, city colleges would ensure a democracy of the mind. Vocational training was eventually added without changing that principle, at least in theory. But there’s a new, results-oriented trend in education that looks like it could turn community colleges into glorified job-training centers, providing a skilled workforce but “tracking” low-income students into dead-end jobs. These institutions would be run like businesses, with the decision-making power in the hands of executives rather than academics and an emphasis on efficiency. Serendipitous intellectual inquiry and academic autonomy would be luxuries and scarce.
And then it made sense. Read the rest HERE.